In 1993, Disney released a little Halloween movie that was initially a box office bomb. But Hocus Pocus has gone on to become a major cult classic film over the years thanks to reruns every season and has somehow become the Halloween film at the top of everyone's list each year. It doesn't hurt that it's appropriate for the whole family to watch together.
The film follows teenage Max Dennison and his younger sister Dani who move out to Salem, Massachusetts with their parents from California. The town is buzzing around their favorite season (Halloween of course) but Max has never heard of the notorious Sanderson sisters he keeps hearing so much about. Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Winifred Sanderson (Bette Midler) were witches who were executed years before during the historic Salem Witch Trials. But as they stood waiting for their death, they cast a spell that could one day bring them back to haunt their old town. All it would take is a virgin lighting the black flame candle on Halloween night.
Poor Max. With the help of Dani, his crush Allison, and a black cat named Thackery Binx, they must stop the evil sisters before it's too late. In honor of the season and the exciting news that a sequel is in the works at Disney Plus, we've rounded up some of the real-life Hocus Pocus filming locations around the historic city of Salem, Massachusetts.
1. Salem's Pioneer Village
In the opening scenes of the film, you see a little village where Thackery Binx lives with his family that really looks like you took a trip back in time to the 1600s. Well, this old village in Salem's Forest River Park is actually real, not a movie set. It is America's first living history museum, built back in the 1930s.
2. Phillips Elementary School
This former elementary school was the perfect place to film Max and Allison's school. Located in the lovely Salem Common, establishing shots of the high school were made with the beautiful red brick buildings surrounded by the stunning changing leaves that are so bright you'll only find them in New England.
3. The Ropes Mansion
Allison's house was filmed at the Ropes Mansion which is owned by the Peabody Essex Museum. The historic house dates all the way back to the 18th century making it the ideal spot for Max and Dani to stop by to see the fancy Halloween party thrown by Allison's parents.
4. Old Town Hall
One of the best parts in the movie is when Winifred and her sisters hit the stage at the adult Halloween party and sing "Put A Spell On You," which bewitches all of the adults so that the sisters can go kidnap all of the children in Salem. The Old Town Hall in Derby Square served as this filming location. It is also the location of the Salem Museum and the Cry Innocent Salem Witch Trial reenactments.
5. Old Burial Hill
The cemetery scenes took place in nearby Marblehead. It's actually one of the oldest burial plots in the entire area of New England. You'll recognize the setting as the place where Max gets bullied by his new classmates, Jay and Ice.
6. Salem Common
If you could capture the beauty of fall in New England in one area, it would be the Salem Common. Many of the outdoor establishing shots took place here. On a typical non-COVID year, Hocus Pocus is actually displayed on this lawn during the annual "Haunted Happenings" in Salem.