Visit Sites from “Hocus Pocus” During Salem Haunted Happenings
Please note, availability and hours at museums and attractions may have changed due to COVID-19; check with individual businesses to confirm hours before visiting, and Max and Dani’s house is not accessible.
It might be difficult to believe that Hocus Pocus, the famed cult classic starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy debuted on July 16, 1993. You are probably familiar with the film’s story, which focuses on the Sanderson Sisters, who are executed as witches after casting a spell on young Thackery Binx, dooming him to roam the streets of Salem as an immortal black cat. 300 years later, a teenager named Max finds himself in the home of the Sanderson Sisters, where his lighting of the infamous black flame candle brings the trio back to life on Halloween night. Max, along with his sister Dani, and crush Allison, and Binx the cat, of course, must then work together to put an end to the Sanderson Sisters once and for all.
Get your Hocus Pocus fix in Salem by planning stops at the following film locations:
Pioneer Village / Salem Village
310 West Ave | PioneerVillageSalem.org
The opening scenes of the film, featuring Binx as a human prior to his cursing as a cat, were filmed in Pioneer Village, a living history museum located at Salem’s Forest River Park. Pioneer Village was built in 1930, and is America’s first living history museum. Tours of the village are offered seasonally June through September, with special events offered each October. Check the events calendar to see what events may be planned during your visit to Salem.
Phillips Elementary School on Salem Common / Max & Allison’s School
The Phillips Elementary School building ended its run as a functioning school in 1992, making it the perfect location for a movie filming in Salem that required some exterior high school footage. While the building is not open to the public today the exterior can still be viewed from the Salem Common.
The Ropes Mansion / Allison’s House
318 Essex Street | PEM.org
One of the most memorable scenes in the film was when Max attends the Halloween party at Allison’s house, the exterior of which was filmed at the Ropes Mansion, one of the most prominent 18th-century homes in Salem. The Mansion is owned by the Peabody Essex Museum, and the gardens located in the rear of the property are free to visit and open to the public.
Old Town Hall / Halloween Party
161 Essex Street | Salem.com
The other classic party scene took place just a few blocks away at Old Town Hall in Derby Square. This site is famous in the film for the site of Bette Midler’s rendition of “Put a Spell on You,” however only exterior shots were filmed in Salem. Old Town Hall is open to the public seasonally, and hosts the Salem Museum and performances of Cry Innocent.
Many of the outdoor scenes in the movie were filmed at Salem Common. Located near other Salem landmarks like the Salem Witch Museum and the Hawthorne Hotel, Salem Common is the site of numerous events from the Salem Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival in September to the Salem Witches’ Magic Circle on Halloween.
Old Burial Hill / Cemetery
Orne Street, Marblehead, MA | OldBurialHill.org
The daytime cemetery scenes showing Max interacting with his new, not-so-welcoming classmates were not filmed in Salem at all. This footage was shot on Old Burial Hill in the nearby town of Marblehead, not to be confused with Salem’s Old Burying Point/Charter Street Cemetery, which is located right downtown adjacent to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial.
217 Essex Street | NightmareGallery.com
While this museum was not featured in the filming for Hocus Pocus, it is home to an impressive figure of Winifred Sanderson, portrayed in the film by Bette Midler. Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery is a cinematic monster museum featuring life-size figures and sets created by Hollywood SPFX artists. Find the museum in its new location on the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall this October!
Do have a good time visiting some of the locations from this classic film, but please don’t “run amok!”