Winifred "Winnie" Sanderson is the main antagonist of Hocus Pocus. She is the eldest and most intelligent witch among her sisters Mary and Sarah.
She was portrayed by Bette Midler who did the voice of Georgette from Disney's Oliver and Company and Kitty Galore from Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.
Back when Winifred was alive, her lover was William "Billy" Butcherson, but she found out that he had an affair with her sister, Sarah. Enraged, Winifred poisoned Billy and sewed his mouth shut with a dull needle so that he could not reveal her secrets even in death. That also proved that Winifred was always the most jealous type among her own sisters.
Winifred sold her soul, and possibly the souls of her sisters, to The Devil for a spellbook of evil magic, which contained a recipe for a potion that would enable them to suck the youth from children and maintain their own.
In the 17th century, Sarah lures Emily Binx into the forest to the house where she and her sisters live. However what she does not know is that Emily's older brother, Thackery Binx, saw them enter the forest and followed them. Inside the house she helps her two sisters, Winifred and Mary, concoct a potion which will allow them to take the life force of children in order to remain young. Thackery interrupts this however before they can give it to Emily but he is soon overcome by Winifred and they proceed to inhale Emily's life force, killing Emily. They then proceed to turn Thackery into a black cat with immortality so he can 'live forever with his guilt'. But once they perform this spell the villagers arrive at their house and as Winifred and Mary barricade the door Sarah stupidly says what the witches were doing.
The villagers capture the witches and but Winifred prophesies their return via the Black Flame Candle lit on All Hallows Eve by a virgin. Sarah and her sisters are subsequently hanged and left within the forest.
300 years later, a Californian boy named Max takes his sister trick-or-treating and gets together with Allison whose mother used to run the museum that was the Sanderson house. They break into the house and Max foolishly lights the candle thinking that it's just a bunch of hocus pocus and ends up resurrecting the Sandersons. Max steals Winifred's Spellbook at the behest of Thackery so that Sarah and her sisters cannot create the potion needed to steal the life force of children and they run.
The children all ran to the cemetery as Thackery led them however the witches all followed them on their broomsticks and nearly got the book back. However, before they can escape Winifred raises Billy Butcherson, her former lover, back from the dead and instructs him to get the book back before flying away to the outside of the cemetery as they cannot set foot on hollowed ground. There they employ the help of a bus driver and ask him to find them children and eventually come across a house owned by a man dressed as the devil who they mistake for their master. They subsequently get into a fight with the man's wife as Sarah was dancing with him but are scared away by the dog. Outside they find that their broomsticks have been stolen.
The witches then follow the children to the party where Max's parents are and after being exposed to the room by Max Winifred takes charge and ridicules him before singing 'I Put A Spell On You' therefore enchanting all the adults causing them to dance forever. After this the children lead the witches to the school after Allison gets an idea from a restaurant and after unwittingly walking into the furnace they are locked in and the children burn them alive.
However, they did not die due to the curse protecting them from death until sunrise and they end up capturing and locking up the two bullies that make fun of Max after they call them ugly. Winifred, desperate for her eternal youth decides to try and make the potion from memory. Sarah, surprisingly, shouts out the correct ingredient but is hushed by Mary who thinks Winifred has all the right answers. At Max's house though Max and Allison open the book therefore allowing it to send out a signal to the witches who fly to the house, using a modern cleaning broom, mop and vacuum cleaner as improvisations for their stolen broomsticks and take the book and kidnap Dani and Thackery. Sarah is instructed to sing her siren song to all the children of Salem so they will go to the Sanderson house.
After brewing the potion again they try to get Dani to drink it but are stop by Max who tricks them into thinking the sun has risen by using the headlights of a car. However they realize they have been tricked and follow the children back to the cemetery and attempt to get Dani to drink the potion again though Winifred drops the potion whilst Sarah tries to help Mary escape the children. Max catches the potion and threatens to smash it though instead drinks it after Winifred says she'll kill Dani if he smashes it. After a struggle with Max Winifred and the boy both fall to the ground and Winifred starts to take his life force but the sun comes up. Winifred turns to stone and explodes in green light whilst Sarah and Mary implode in purple and red light.
At the end of the movie, however, the book is seen and it blinks, therefore hinting the witches may return once again.