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9 Surprising Facts About 'Hocus Pocus' that You Probably Never Knew

hocus pocus

Is it even Halloween season without a Hocus Pocus viewing (or ten)? It’s why we’re celebrating this most wonderful, spooky film with fun facts and mind-blowing trivia you may not know about the making of the original Hocus Pocus—and its sequel, Hocus Pocus 2, now streaming on Disney+.

In the original (and cult classic) Hocus Pocus, unknowing kids light the Black Flame Candle under the full moon of Halloween and resurrect the Sanderson Sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy). With the help of a magical cat, the kids must steal the witches' book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal. The plan worked—but nearly 30 years later, a new Black Flame Candle is lit, and the Sanderson sisters arrive back in Salem to make lots more mayhem.

Ready to wow your friends this Halloween? Come, as we fly into these amazing Hocus Pocus fun facts!

When Was the Original Hocus Pocus Released?

Today, it’s tough to imagine the Halloween season without the Sanderson Sisters and many, many Hocus Pocus themed movie nights and parties. But Hocus Pocus actually first hit theaters as a summer release—on July 16th, 1993! 

Why is the Black Cat in Hocus Pocus Named Binx?

Binx was named after Inks, an actual black cat David Kirschner, producer and co-writer of Hocus Pocus, had as a kid. The plot of the movie was born out of a bedtime story that Kirschner told his two young daughters in the 1980s.

Was Leonardo DiCaprio Supposed to Play the Role of Max in Hocus Pocus?

Leonardo DiCaprio was offered the role of Max, but turned it down for a role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Omri Katz played Max instead—and Leo went on to nab an Oscar nomination for Gilbert Grape!

What was the Inspiration for the Sanderson Sisters’ Costumes in Hocus Pocus?

Mary Vogt, Hocus Pocus’ costume designer, revealed that each witch's outfit was tailored to match the character's personality. Sarah’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) dress was inspired by Sleeping Beauty, and Mary (Kathy Najimy) was to resemble a baker's uniform. And Winnie (Bette Midler)? Bette Midler herself was the inspiration for the look. Winnie channeled Bette’s flair for color, and of course a little sparkle!

In Hocus Pocus, Do Real Moths Fly Out of Billy the Zombie’s Mouth?

Doug Jones, AKA the zombie Billy Butcherson had real moths in his mouth in his infamous Hocus Pocus scene! In a 2018 interview with Bloody Disgusting, makeup and special-effects designer Tony Gardner said Billy wore a "mouth rig" — a latex pocket attached to dentures that blocked off Jones' throat — and made the moths come out. Doug reprises the role of Billy in Hocus Pocus 2—you need to watch to see if the moths return too!

What was the Original Title of Hocus Pocus?

Hocus Pocus was almost called "Halloween House"—and that’s not all. An early draft of the original movie script was much darker and focused on older kids.

What is Hocus Pocus 2 About?

Hocus Pocus 2 serves as both a prequel and a sequel, opening in 1653 Salem to explain the origin story of the Sanderson sisters. Turns out, they were ostracized by their village and taken under the wing of the powerful Mother Witch (Hannah Waddingham). Flash forward 330 years and we meet a new group of friends—Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo), and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham)—dealing with some normal teenage drama within their group. On Bher 16th birthday, Becca accidentally summons the Sanderson sisters again by lighting yet another cursed Black Flame Candle.

Do the Original Max, Dani and Allison appear in Hocus Pocus 2?

Unfortunately, siblings Dani (Thora Birch) and Max (Omri Katz) Dennison and their friend Allison (Vinessa Shaw) do not appear in Hocus Pocus 2. But according to Thora, it wasn’t for a lack of trying on her part—her schedule just didn’t align with filming. Thora revealed that if it had worked out, there were three options on the table for how Dani would return.

Will There Be a Hocus Pocus 3?

Well, while nothing has been confirmed—you must watch Hocus Pocus 2 all the way through. A post-credit scene leaves the door wide open for the Sanderson Sisters to be resurrected for a third time. We learn that Gilbert (Sam Richardson)—who tricked Becca, Izzy, and Cassie  into lighting the Black Flame Candle he made from scratch—has a DUPLICATE candle in his Olde Salem Magic Shoppe, ready to go. What do you think—is third time a charm?

For more spooktacular fun, just say "Halloween" into your voice remote!

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