I’m going to give you one guess as to what the most-watched Halloween movie is. Did you guess Hocus Pocus? I hope so. That’s right – the most-watched Halloween movie isn’t even a horror film. Although, if you started watching Hocus Pocus when it first came out as I did, in 1993, then maybe it scared you a tiny bit? The Sanderson Sisters were no joke, okay? If you were anything like me, Hocus Pocus just started your obsession with Halloween, witches, and possibly Salem, Massachusetts? Salem was the setting of Hocus Pocus and the filming location and when I finally – finally – got to visit recently, I made sure to seek out all those Hocus Pocus Salem filming locations.
What is Hocus Pocus?
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past almost 30 years, Hocus Pocus is the cult classic starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy which came out in July of 1993. The movie focuses on the Sanderson Sisters who were executed as witches after casting a spell on Thackery Binx which turned him into an immortal black cat. Three hundred years after their execution, Max who is new to town along with his little sister Dani and new friend/crush Allison, check out the old home of the Sanderson Sisters where naturally they light the infamous black candle which brings the sisters back to life. The Sanderson Sisters get right back into the groove of things by putting a spell on the whole town to lure all the children to them. Max, Dani, Allison, and Binx the cat, work together to stop the Sanderson Sisters.
Where was Hocus Pocus filmed?
While a lot of the movie was filmed on a set, about seven or so main scenes were filmed in Salem, Massachusetts.
Hocus Pocus Salem Map
Use the below map to easily find the Hocus Pocus Salem filming locations.
Thackery Binx’s House
Address: 98 West Ave
The opening scenes of Hocus Pocus which feature Binx as a human Thackery Binx prior to being cursed as a cat was filmed in Salem’s Pioneer Village. Pioneer Village is a living history museum located at Salem’s Forest River Park.
The scene is set in the 1600s and the Pioneer Village was built in 1930 as America’s first living history museum and was made to reflect what life would have been like all that time ago.
The village has very limited seasonal hours. Tours are offered seasonally from June to September and seems to only be open on weekends. I was unable to go inside but saw the village from the outside and it looked really amazing.
It’s a unique place to visit, though it has limited hours. In fact, it seems to be only open on weekends in October. We were unable to go inside the village on our recent visit, so check times before you go.
Cemetery Scenes – Old Burial Hill Cemetery
There are several cemetery scenes in Hocus Pocus. Starting on early on in the film, Max is seen riding his bike through a cemetery and is then confronted by bullies who steal his shoes. See the scene below.
This scene was actually filmed in a nearby cemetery – not in Salem. It’s not too far though – located in nearby Marblehead. The cemetery is called Old Burial Hill Cemetery and has quite an impressive view as it sits on top of a hill.
Halloween Town Party – Old Town Hall
Address: 93 Washington Street
The first clip in this post took place in the Town Hall during the Halloween party. I think this Halloween party ruined all of my adult expectations of Halloween parties because I’ve never been to one as cool as this one.
The filming location for this is right in the center of town at the Old Town Hall.
Max & Allison Scenes – Salem Common
Salem Common is like many city common areas – a large green space great for picnics, taking a quiet walk, sitting on a bench and people watching, and so on.
It also happens to be the site of several Hocus Pocus Salem filming locations.
The initial scene between Allison and Max was shot somewhere in Salem Common. Max gives Allison his phone number during this scene if you’ll remember.
Max & Allison’s School
Sitting on the edge of Salem Common is the school used in the film. In the movie, it is a high school, but this was actually an elementary school that had just closed down the year before filming occurred.
The Sanderson Sisters are lured here by Max, Dani, Binx, and Allison in the hopes of locking them in the incinerator.
Max & Dani’s House
Address: 4 Ocean Ave
I always loved Max & Dani’s home when I watched the film. I didn’t realize it but is such a typical New England home – a type of architecture I’ve really come to love. As you’ll remember, several scenes were shot here and gave all of us jealous thoughts about Max’s attic bedroom equipped with his very own tower.
This is one of the sites I didn’t get to see as I was running short on time and I’m so bummed. You’ll need to drive to this location and it is someone’s home, so please don’t be disrespectful.
Allison’s House – The Ropes Mansion
Address: 318 Essex Street
The Ropes Mansion is the setting for Allison’s house in Hocus Pocus. The Ropes Mansion is a beautiful historic home that is open to the public.
In the film, Max & Dani arrive at Allison’s house while they’re trick-or-treating where they find out it is where Allison lives.
Overview of Hocus Pocus Salem
I have to say, after almost 30 years, Salem, Massachusetts and the Hocus Pocus filming locations absolutely did not disappoint in the slightest. I was only here for about half a day because I was only traveling through from Maine to Boston, but I instantly fell in love with Salem. It’s always so wonderful when your expectations live up to reality.
I would recommend visiting Salem for anyone who loves Hocus Pocus, Halloween, history, and more. While Salem is one of the best places to visit for Halloween and there are tons of things to do in Salem in October, Salem isn’t just for people who love everything spooky and horror related.
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