Sabrina the Teenage Witch: A Guide To Life

For those of us who grew up living vicariously through the trials and tribulations of the Spellman family, Sabrina wasn’t a sitcom but a way of life.
Illustration by Kagan McLeod

Halloween is mere weeks away, and the premiere of Netflix's Sabrina the Teenage Witch reboot is even closer. But both of these facts are irrelevant because the TGIF incarnation of the ultimate teen witch transcends time and holidays. For those of us who grew up living vicariously through the trials and tribulations of the Spellman family, Sabrina wasn't a sitcom but a way of life. Here's how:

1. Trust no one who wears a cheerleading uniform during the day

For those of us who went to high school without cheerleaders, the idea of cheerleader-as-social-currency was strange. Why would anyone wear their sports uniforms outside the confines of sports? Why would anyone be so into sports that they wore spirit wear when they didn't have to? Who genuinely cared about the outcome of high school sports? (Apologies to those currently seething with rage over my athletic apathy.)

The answer: people we shouldn't trust. People whose identities are so tied to a setting I would pay money to forget forever that friendship with them is impossible. If, as an adult, you see another adult dressed as a cheerleader at the office, the gas station, or any other public space (on a day that isn't October 31), this person is a serial killer.

2. Assume all cats can speak

They can speak English, they can speak French, they can speak whichever language is most common in your home. The reason they haven't in front of you? You haven't earned their respect. Or, maybe more accurately, you've yet to address them as equals. Salem Saberhagen spoke only after Sabrina realized she was a teen witch. He didn't waste his voice on a mortal, and nor should he have. Instead, he waited to ask for his family to please remove his party hat.

Which is also why we must never dress our pet cats as human beings. They are above human beings. This is another reason they don't speak freely around us: we don't deserve it.

3. Drape yourself in '90s fashion or GTFO

There's a reason the '90s are back: they were a gift to our hearts, minds, and wardrobes. They borrowed freely from the '60s and '70s and shoved almost all '80s pieces away where they could be forgotten (thank heavens). They are bootcut jeans and loud prints, sweaters and combat boots. They were chokers and banana clips, opaque tights and button-ups. There was no right way to dress or wrong way to look — which explains why, despite their brazen choices of blouses, slacks, shoes, and dresses, Sabrina and friends always looked flawless.

4. Pretend you don't recognize any '90s-era celebrities during social events

Sabrina delivered episodes to us that featured Brian Austin Green, the Backstreet Boys, Andrew Keegan (now a cult leader), Eddie Cibrian, and Randy Travis. There were more, but it's not my job to be your personal IMDB. So I leave you with this: if, under any circumstances, you find yourself in the same space as the celebrities that defined the greatest decade, pretend you don't know who they are. Instead, smile knowingly and offer a nod. They're in your world now, and they play by your rules. Which is why they're ignoring you right back.

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Anne T. Donahue is a writer and person from Cambridge, Ontario. You can buy her first book, Nobody Cares, right now and wherever you typically buy them. She just asks that you read this piece first.