We are all here because a virgin lit a candle…
Since the 90’s the cult family classic Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, has become a Halloween staple in living rooms across America.
Hocus Pocus tells the story of the Sanderson sisters. After 300 years, on Halloween night, three witches are resurrected by Max, a skeptical teenage boy who just moved to Salem. It is up to Max, his younger sister Dani, crush Alison, and an immortal black cat named Binx, to get rid of the Sanderson sisters before sunrise.
Although the movie takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, much of the interior filming took place in California. Nonetheless, some of the most iconic scenes are filmed in Salem and nearby Marblehead.
Fun Fact: The famous fountain seen in the opening credits of Friends is the same in Hocus Pocus filmed one year prior.
The history of the 1692 Salem witch trials is what makes Salem so undeniably alluring. So when my sister insisted on driving to Salem just before Halloween, I was more than willing to go, and I knew exactly what I was going to do and see.
For all those Hocus Pocus fans, here is a list of some iconic scene locations you can not miss!. From the infamous ‘I put a spell on you’ scene to trick-or-treating at Alison’s house, this short self-guided tour is perfect even if you have a baby in tow. Several locations are historic and open to the public, but each is sure to give you that spooky worthy photo.
Pioneer Village / Thackery’s Village
310 West Avenue
The opening village scenes set in Salem 1600s were recreated at Pioneer Village. Built-in 1930 Pioneer Village is Amerca’s first living history museum. A ten-minute drive from downtown Salem, Pioneer Village is nestled between the ocean and the woods. Tours of the village are available seasonal from June to September.
Old Town Hall
32 Derby Square, Salem
Famous in the film for Bette Midler’s rendition of “Put a Spell on You,” this is the adult Halloween party location. Old Town Hall is the earliest surviving municipal structure in Salem, dating from 1816. Presently it is used as a public art space.
Ropes Mansion, 318 Essex St., Salem
The Ropes Mansion, also known as Alison’s house, is where Max and Dani arrive to trick or trick, but instead find Max’s crush – Allison. The Peabody Essex Museum currently operates this gorgeous historical home built in the late 1720s. There is a public garden behind the house. From there, you can see a 12 pane window on the second floor. Legend has it a previous resident who died from third-degree burns hunts the house from time to time. A man was pushed down the stairs, and several fires have been started in the same room.
Max and Dani’s House
Private Residence, 4 Ocean Ave., Salem
Finally, the last stop is Max and Dani’s house. This house is currently a private residence, located in a quintessential neighborhood. Although you cannot tour inside, you can take a photo. The neighbors and owners are friendly and used to tourists driving by and stopping for photos. They will even direct you to where to park along the sea wall. It’s a bit of a walk from downtown Salem, but a short ten-minute drive. A few scenes take place here, including the witches’ kidnapping Dani.
Fun Fact: Leonardo DiCaprio auditioned and turned down the role of Max Dennison for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.”