Bette Midler conjures up her Hocus Pocus character for her Hulaween ball

2016 Hulaween - Arrivals

National freaking treasure Bette Midler, who is the queen of Halloween in my book (sorry, Heidi Klum, but you are a close second), once again did not disappoint with her costume for her annual Hulaween ball at New York’s Waldorf Astoria on Friday. Bette dressed as her character, Winnie Sanderson, from the only movie you need to see at Halloween, 1993’s Hocus Pocus. Do I even need to say that Bette looks amazing? Can you believe she’s 70? I suspect a little witchcraft.

This year was Bette’s 21st year celebrating All Halows Eve with her famous friends. The annual event benefits The New York Restoration Project, which is committed to keeping New York green by planting trees, restoring parks and renovating gardens throughout the city. Bette slayed, so everyone else probably shouldn’t have bothered, here are some of the other costumed celebs who hit the event’s red carpet.

Kathy Griffin went for topical, dressing as a Snapchat avatar, complete with animal face filter. Seems a little last-minute to me. I do kind of dig the pantsuit though – and you kind of have to give props to anyone who has to lug around what amounts to a huge sandwich board for an entire party.

I expected more from Sandra Bernhard, who dressed as a witch (witches were a theme for this party, apparently. Debbie Harry also showed up in witchy attire.) Her witch hat fascinator is adorable, but that purple and black striped satin dress isn’t giving me any kind of witch realness. It’s kind of “wild west saloon girl gone bad.”

If your mother was dressed as one of her most iconic characters, would you even attempt to out-do her? If your answer is “no,” you’re probably on the same boat as Bette’s daughter. The Honolulu native posed alongside her 29-year-old daughter, Sophie Von Haselberg. The 29-year-old went for a kind of gothic undead look, although it kind of looks like she just dropped by Hot Topic and slapped on some makeup on the way to the party. But, like I said, who’s paying attention to you standing next to Winnie Sanderson?

The runner-up on the event’s red carpet had to be designer Marc Jacobs. The designer dressed as a female bodybuilder in a padded bodysuit and light blue bikini. He beat that mug and committed fully to his inner WWE diva with a pair of black patent leather Christian Louboutin stilettos.

Bette posted a photo to her Twitter account, with the caption, “Winifred Sanderson flies in to Hulaween! Says thanks to everyone who made it such an electrifying evening!!”

Bette’s choice of costume may have generated some demand for a Hocus Pocus sequel, could it happen? Bette has been willing for quite some time and Sarah Jessica Parker recently said she’d be game as well – as is third Sanderson sister Kathy Najimy. Back in 2014, Bette appealed to her fans to contact Disney and let them know they want a sequel, asserting, “They are wiling to do it, but we have no say in it, so if you want a Hocus Pocus 2, ask the Walt Disney company.” I guess the pleas fell on deaf ears at the Mouse, as Bette, answering a fan’s question about the possibility of a sequel during a 2015 Facebook Q&A, said, “After all these years and all the fan demand, I do believe I can stand and firmly say an unequivocal no.

I’m not a big fan of reboots and sequels, but if anyone can make lightning strike twice, it’s definitely the Divine Miss M. I mean, she’s coming back for more of The First Wives Club, and fans are excited. As one of these fans, I’m highly optimistic. I’m hoping Bette’s costume choice this year might make Disney reconsider their decision. Work your magic, Bette!

2016 Hulaween - Arrivals

2016 Hulaween - Arrivals

2016 Hulaween - Arrivals

Photo credit:, Getty Images

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

18 Responses to “Bette Midler conjures up her Hocus Pocus character for her Hulaween ball”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Seraphina says:

    Everyone here looks much better then the attendees at the Gucci event. And a lot happier too!

    Bette rocks!

  2. Hannah says:

    The only way Disney is doing a sequel is if they fight the Avengers, cause Disney is banking on superheroes.

    • Megan says:

      We watched Hocus Pocus last night. It’s our favorite Halloween film, but I am not counting on a sequel. Disney is all superheroes and Star Wars these days.

    • swak says:

      Not sure how they would do a sequel as at the end of Hocus Pocus all three sisters are blown in to dust. It would be great though. My grandchildren love Hocus Pocus. We watch it all year long.

  3. mbh12 says:

    Bette looks amazing. I love it.

    I just noticed that She has great skin.

  4. Alix says:

    Witchcraft (Wicca) is a legally recognized religion in this country. Surely it’s offensive to dress up as a caricature of someone else’s faith? I just marvel at the elasticity of the line between offensive/non-offensive…

    • Jen says:

      Please tell me you’re joking and it’s just too early for me to pick this up.

      • Alix says:

        Not a bit. People get all up in arms when someone dresses up in, say, a sexy nun costume, but people can interpret “witch” any way they want? Real-life witches don’t wear black pointy hats, y’know.

        I’m just curious how the “offensive” tag gets slapped on some costumes and not others. Why not just ban all costumes as potentially being offensive to someone, somewhere?

      • Megan says:

        @Alix – the Wiccan religion was introduced to the public in the 1950s, centuries after the evil witch archetype because part of the popular psyche. The archetype in no way relates to or parodies Wicca, so I am not sure what you find offensive.

      • Alix says:

        @Megan: I don’t find it offensive at all, but I’m sure there are real-life Wiccans who are tired of being represented by the evil-witch archetype.

        Most Halloween costumes aren’t intended to *parody* people, beliefs, or cultures (again, with the exception of politicians), but that doesn’t stop nearly everybody from getting mortally affronted by them.

        Hell, ballet dancers are freaking out about a *fashion editorial*! How dare Kendall Jenner dress in a tutu and imply that dancing isn’t a discipline requiring training and practice? Because yeah, I’m sure that’s the message most people walked away with.

        I’m just saying, if we’re going to be ultra-sensitive to the hurt feelings of every other group on the planet, why shouldn’t Wiccans get the same courtesy? Because we’ve decided there’s nothing for them to be offended about? Seems rather arbitrary to me.

      • Megan says:

        @Alix – Appropriating Native American dress or painting your face black for Halloween is offensive because they are directly correlated to racism in American culture. The witch archetype existed for centuries before Wicca. It is not an appropriation of their beliefs.

        As for groups being sensitive, society is filled with subtle and not so subtle discrimination. Calling that out and demanding equal treatment seems reasonable to me.

    • L84Tea says:

      Are you serious?

    • Marg says:


      • Alix says:

        My goodness, how ruffled everyone’s feathers get when someone questions the line between what’s offensive and what’s not. It’s like being on a freakin’ Jezebel thread.

    • Ange says:

      I don’t see how when this imagery of witches was around long before Wicca became what it is today. You can’t be offended if you came second, y’know?

  5. lizzie says:

    Sandra Bernhard looks pretty amazing too. she has to be pushing 60 – if not older. she looks better than ever.

  6. notasugarhere says:

    She founded the New York Restoration Project, and it is amazing. When you add up all of their parcels, I think they are one of the largest land owners in NYC.

  7. Jessie8 says:

    I love Halloween it’s one of my fav holidays. I must admit infants, toddlers, kids, and teens look adorable as angels, fairies, and little animals (innocent ones). But whatever happened to the real spirit of Halloween? Where is the dead, the killer, the blood and guts (fake ones of course). Halloween is suppose to make us go AHHHHHHHH! 😱