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7 Ways The Witches Taught Us How To Spot A Witch

the witches

Contrary to popular belief, evil witches are extremely difficult to ID in the wild—which is a problem, since it means that you never know when one might sneak up on you and, say, imprison you in a kitschy oil painting for all eternity.

But if you were lucky enough to go to the movies in the year 1990, you unwittingly received a bang-up education in the wily ways of witches, thanks to one particular movie which was (appropriately) called The Witches.

Based on the book by Roald Dahl, The Witches told us everything we needed to know to stay safe from these spell-slinging harridans, who loved to prey on pre-pubescent children just for funzies. And in honor of its 25th anniversary, for those who missed it the first time around, we’re busting out the movie’s seven most vital witch facts.

Memorize them, and spread them. It’s for your own safety!

1. The first secret of witch-spotting: It’s basically impossible

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As Grandma says, “You can never be sure if it’s a witch you’re looking at, or a kind lady.” Thanks for the lifetime of trust issues, Grams.

2. An itchy scalp is a giveaway

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Real witches? Bald. Completely, totally bald! Not that you’ll know, because they wear wigs — but if you watch closely, you might see one slipping a finger underneath the edge to scratch her scalp rash.

3. Gloves are a must

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That lady with the elegant gloves might just be exceptionally well-dressed, or she might be hiding her hideous, witchy claw-hands. COULD BE EITHER.

4. They’ve got purple eyes

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But so did classic Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor, so… oh, my God. You don’t think?!

5. Close-toed shoes only

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Remember: You’ll never catch a witch in a pair of strappy sandals or a sultry peep-toe pump, because she has square feet.

6. The nose knows

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To a real witch, children smell exactly like doggie dookie — which means that the woman making an “Ewww, that smell” face at your little sister should be watched very, very carefully… unless your little sister smells objectively awful, which she probably does.

7. And if you do spot a witch? Good luck with that, friend, because witches never get caught

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However, they can be killed if you turn them into mice first, so there’s that, anyway.

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