Written by Linda Rosenkrantz for Nameberry
For Halloween, what could be more bewitching than the names of witches? And the good thing is that they’re not all -- the baby names or the witches -- hideously ugly with warts and moles and hair on their chinny-chin-chins. And they’re not all totally evil either. In addition to the traditionally witchy witches, pop culture has brought us some who are nice and funny and even beautiful -- think Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kim Novak. Here’s a mix of witch-inspired names for your Halloween baby.
In the sixties sitcom "Bewitched," <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Tabitha">Tabitha</a> is the young half-witch daughter of Samantha (whose own name shot to popularity as a result of the show). Tabitha, which has its own quirky charm, reached its peak a decade later, but just might make a comeback after being chosen for one of their twin daughters by Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.
In the 1958 movie "Bell, Book and Candle," <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/gillian">Gillian</a> Holyroyd, played by Kim Novak, is a Greenwich Village witch who runs a primitive art gallery and uses her supernatural powers for her own romantic ends. Curiously, Nicole Kidman’s witch character in "Practical Magic" has the same name. Gillian, a common name in medieval England and still well used in the UK, is often spelled with a J. Either way, it’s an attractive option, retaining some of its British accent.
In the late nineties sitcom "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Sabrina">Sabrina</a> Spellman discovers on her sixteenth birthday that she happens to be a witch, and predictable mayhem ensues, much of it involving her 500-year-old aunts Hilda and Zelda. The name Sabrina reached its height of popularity at the time of the TV show but still remains an enchanting choice, with a history in Celtic mythology.
Sukie Ridgemont, aka Michelle Pfeiffer, is one of the three gorgeous but unwitting Witches of Eastwick, demonized by the satanic Jack Nicholson. Sukie -- not to be confused with "True Blood’s" Sookie -- is an old nickname for Sukie that now sounds more modern somehow than Susie.
In the 1993 "Hocus Pocus," a trio of Salem sister witches are resurrected on Halloween night after three hundred years, the eldest being melodramatic, hot-tempered Winifred "Winnie" Sanderson, played by Bette Midler. Winifred is just the old kind of prim vintage name in line to be unbuttoned, especially with its choice of friendlier nicknames -- the winning Winnie, the boyish Freddie.
In the TV series "Charmed," three well-named sisters, <a href="http://nameberry.com/babyname/Piper">Piper</a>, Phoebe and Prudence/Prue Halliwell, are magically transformed into The Charmed Ones, the most powerful witches ever, whose destiny is to vanquish evil and protect innocent lives against demons and warlocks and such, while continuing their normal, everyday existence. Piper is by far the liveliest of the three names, and has really taken off since the late-nineties debut of Charmed; it’s now at Number 110.
Miss Eglantine Price, aka Angela Lansbury, is the protagonist of the half-animated, half-live- action Disney 1971 film "Bedknobs and Broomsticks." The movie is set in World War II England, where Eglantine is studying to become a First Class Witch in order to better perform her part in the War effort. Even though it’s a French name meaning ‘wild rose,’ we’re afraid most parents would find Eglantine a little too eggy.
Although her name might not be the most usable one in the appellation world, we can’t leave out Glinda, the witch who gave witches a good name -- the pink and sparkly Glinda, the Good Witch of the South (it was the North in the book) in "The Wizard of Oz." In next year’s "Oz: The Great and Powerful", Glinda will be played by Michelle Williams.
There is so much wizardry and witchcraft in the Harry Potter franchise and so many wonderful names that it’s hard to pick just one -- but let’s go for that of Gryffindor student Lavender Brown, a name that’s so sweet, so fragrant, so mutedly colorful it seems bound to catch on.
In both the musical "Wicked" and the book on which it’s based, Nessarose Thropp is the name of the beautiful, handicapped woman who becomes the Wicked Witch of the East, original owner of the magical silver (not ruby) slippers, and ruler of Munchkinland. A smoosh of the short form of Vanessa and the all-purpose Rose, Nessarose, with all those s’s, is not the most pleasing of combos.
The wicked stepmother/evil queen in Snow White finally is no longer nameless. In "Snow White and the Huntsman" she is known as Ravenna. And yes, she is still vain and malevolent, but she also bears a strong resemblance to Charlize Theron. Ravenna is a lovely Italian place name which could be a successor to Sienna.
The recent retelling of the Snow White tale, "Mirror, Mirror," retains the evil, vengeful, jealous character of the stepmother/witch—this time giving her the name Clementianna- and casting a zealous Julia Roberts in the part. No doubt, when choosing a name, most parents would prefer the more traditional Clementine, without the elaboration of two more syllables.
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