The Halloween season is finally upon us! It’s the magical season of candy corn binges, gross-out scares, and girls dressed like slutty animals. Sandwiched somewhere between the late-night slasher flicks and the junk food benders, most of us try to dust off at least one of the spooky classics and give in to a bit of childhood nostalgia. This year marks the 20th Anniversary of one of the greatest Halloween movies ever, so we’ll do one better. Gas up your broom, find a virgin to light the black flame candle, and scare up some fun on this Bewitching Hocus Pocus Filming Locations road trip.
In the 1993 film this home served as the fictional abode of sinbling duo Max and Dani Dennison, newly transplanted residents to the infamous town of Salem, Massachusetts. Throughout the course of their first Halloween night in town, the Dennison duo manage to wake three witches out of a three century slumber, a trio that proceed to wreak havoc on the small town and its residents.
The private homee that doubled as the exterior filming location sits at the corner of Ocean Avenue in Salem. It’s a particularly recognizable Hocus Pocus filming location, likely because of the hours spent daydreaming about having a personalized tower in your bedroom.
…or gift shop, rather. In the film this country cottage has been converted into a Sanderson themed gift-shop, complete with witchy trinkets and spooky Zippo lighters. But before it was converted into a fictional tourist trap, it was home to Winnie, Mary, and Sarah Sanderson, the soul-stealing, evil witches on a mission to rid Salem of all children in order to recapture their immortality.
The real location behind the Sanderson Cottage was actually the Salem Pioneer Village, the first living history museum in America. This 1930′s town recreation performed plays based on what it might have been like to witness the days of the Salem Witch Trials. The village is open to the general public and you can even rent the Sanderson cottage for special occasions… just leave the black candles at home.
In Hocus Pocus, Allison’s mansion-sized house served as the starting point for the evening’s trouble. Ropes Mansion is on Essex Street in the Chestnut Street District in Salem.
The house has been around since the early 18th century, and is now operated by the Peabody Essex Museum. If you’re interested in taking a peek inside, the mansion is open to the general public.
Old Town Hall is located in the historic district of Salem and is the oldest surviving municipal structure in the entire city. This historical hotspot doubled as party central in the film, as the spot where the Sanderson Sisters bewitched the townsfolk into shaking their groove thangs well into the night, thus letting the sisters attempt to steal the souls of local children without being disturbed.
In real life this building is now home to The Salem Museum, a historic destination used to teach visitors about the rich history of Salem, and its fascinating past. The museum hosts exhibits throughout the year, some including Salem History, the Great Salem Fire, and of course the Salem Witch Hysteria.
Old Burial Hill Cemetery is the final resting spot for Billy “the butcher” Butcherson, ex-love interest of Winifred Sanderson, full-time zombie and would-be accomplice to Max and his gang.
Though most of the nighttime scenes were filmed on a soundstage in California, the day shots were taken at this historic burial hill, founded in 1638. Old Burial Hill is also one of the oldest cemeteries in the country, and is home to some of the most unique and interesting gravestone art, including the famous Susanna Jayne headstone.
It’s also worth noting that the Hill Cemetery is the resting place of Wilmont Redd, one of the actual nineteen victims of the Witch Trials.
Twenty Years Later
This Halloween season, if you’re looking to chase down some fun and celebrate the 20th anniversary of arguably the greatest Halloween film ever, why not invade the Sanderson Sisters’ stomping ground and explore these Hocus Pocus filming locations, all while getting the chance to see one of America’s most infamously spooky destination. Heck, we even made you a map!
Huge props to the wonderful J.W. Ocker and the creeptastic Odd Things I’ve Seen blog for the inspiration!