Childhood Magic Spells, Ranked -The Toast

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10. “Please”

Source: Your mom

Properties: If this is truly a “magic word” as claimed, it is not a good one. It facilitates the passing of the mashed potatoes at dinner, but not much else.


9. “For the honor of Grayskull, I am She-Ra!”

Source: “She-Ra”

Properties: Requiring a woman to invoke “honor” as the sine qua non for obtaining relevancy and a modicum of authority within Eternia is highly suspect. Her twin brother He-Man, of course, has already harnessed the “power” of Grayskull. Typical.


8. “À la peanut butter sandwiches!”

Source: The Amazing Mumford, “Sesame Street”

Properties: Makes amazing things happen, but rarely quite as planned. Has been known to incite the ire of Cookie Monster by making cookies disappear. (Cookie Monster would prefer to make them disappear via his own methods.)


7. “Hocus pocus alimagocus!”

Source: “Today’s Special”

Properties: Pro — Can make a mannequin come to life to sing and dance for you. Con — Mannequin must eternally wear unfashionably checked Eighties newsboy cap.


6. “We must, we must, we must increase our bust!”

Source: Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret

Properties: This one has some potential, but only when concurrent with the onset of puberty.


5. “Mecca lecca hi, mecca hiney ho!”

Source: Jambi, “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse”

Properties: An ambiguously Orientalist, incorporeal blue genie can grant you one wish per show. What would happen if Pee-Wee wished to free him, like in Aladdin? Would Jambi also sprout a torso and legs?


4. “Light as a feather, stiff as a board”

Source: Preteen girls’ slumber parties

Properties: This is the spell to use when you are tired of convincing your friends that you saw Bloody Mary in the bathroom mirror and your mother won’t let you play with a Ouija board because of that special she saw on 60 Minutes. Anyway, it totally works, you guys; Ashley’s practically floating, and not…heavy…at all.


3. [Nose Twitch]

Source: “Bewitched”

Properties: Samantha Stevens was able to apparate, levitate, and combat her mother’s spell that turned Darrin into a toad all with the same quick twitch of her nose. Clearly it’s a winner. Endora and Dr. Bombay never used this method of magic, but perhaps that’s because only Elizabeth Montgomery could make that face I make when my dog farts look sexy.


2.Treguna mekoides trecorum satis dee”

Source: Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Properties: If you are lucky enough to retrieve the Star of Astoroth from the Island of Naboombu, you will be rewarded with this spell for substitutiary locomotion. It’s mystic power that’s beyond the wildest notion / It’s so weird, so feared, yet wonderful to see / and will kick those Nazis’ arses right back across the sea. (NB: In the event that spell proves ineffective, at least insist that others refer to you as “Eglantine,” because if that’s not a lovely, criminally underused name, I don’t know what is.)


1. “I wish the goblins would come and take you away, right now.”

Source: Labyrinth

Properties: Ostensibly, this spell will rid you of the responsibility of babysitting your pesky younger sibling forever. More practically and to the point, however, it will summon 1980s glam-rock jodhpur-clad David Bowie into your bedroom. Clearly there is no greater magic.

Elizabeth Lee writes from a 120-year-old farmhouse bordered by a creek with frolicking otters in rural Appalachia. She pronounces it "apple-atcha."

Marissa Maciel is a writer and illustrator.

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