I think this picture speaks for itself.
Hocus Pocus is my first memory of scary witch characters (I only discovered Witch Hazel from Looney Tunes later, but we'll get to her at a later date). We had three sisters whose sole purpose was to kill little children and be young forever. And of the three sisters, Winnie is the one that has made the biggest impression on me. She was the most ruthless and menacing, always thinking on her feet and staying ahead of the heroes. She was cunning, maniacal, and she had a great singing voice. But did you ever pay any attention to her? What do you really know about her? Yes, she's evil, but besides that. I think she deserves a closer look.
Now, unlike Gossamer, this character actually has a back story and explanations given to her. It's been a while since I last saw this movie, but let me see if I remember the details. Winnie and her sisters were three witches during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. The trio was involved in the kidnappings of multiple children throughout the town, and the townsfolk were getting increasingly angry at them. They had good reason to be angry, too, as the witches were sucking the lives out of the children and using their life forces to power themselves and keep them young. The townsfolk retaliated, grabbing the sisters and hanging them. But not before they cast a spell that ensured their return the day a virgin lights a black candle. ...Huh, I just realized. This is sorta like a semi-kid friendly version of Freddy Krueger's backstory.
These witches are pretty mean already. You don't get much lower on the evil chain than killing young children. But let's look at the resume of evil things the head of this trio has done according to the movie: multiple counts of kidnapping, multiple counts of murder, child to animal transmogrification, necromancy, selling of souls to a (never explained, but possibly demonic or satanic) being, multiple attempted murder by excess dancing, vehicular animal slaughter, mass hypnosis with attempts to kidnap, and finally, harassment of three minors plus a minor turned feline. That is quite the list of evil accomplishments. But who is really to blame? The trio together? I don't believe so. Why? Simple. Let's look at the two sidekicks.
Sarah Sanderson (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) is a ditz. She's constantly getting distracted by random objects or handsome men. The only time she does anything useful is when she sings.
Mary Sanderson (played by the woman from Sister Act) is mostly clueless. Yes, she's observant, and she is able to get Winnie to calm down in times of high stress. But without a guide, she's lost in the wind.
Winnie is the only one with the brains and drive to get anything done. She gets angry easily, which only fuels her drive to get what she wants. She has the cunning to get through problems quickly and the eagerness to see it gets done right. She has the ruthlessness to pursue her goals at whatever the cost. She is one scary witch. Not to mention that book bound by human flesh with a living eye was just... disgusting.
That's why I think Winnie deserves the Moonlight Spotlight of the night. She's mean enough to get what she wants. And what she wants is to eat your life force. So, protect the children and don't let them listen to semi-bland, cheesy, almost provocative songs sung by Sarah Jessica Parker. And lock the doors. The witching hour is almost upon us...