Oct 31, 2014

Hocus Pocus Around Salem


Armed with a recent viewing of Hocus Pocus and some internet research, I went on a little tour of some of the exterior location used in filming the classic holiday movie Hocus Pocus. I'm certainly not the first person to do this (hence the ease of internet research) but it was a fun day finding the places for myself. Ok, it was really only Max's house I had to find, I knew where the other places were.

I wanted to grab some screenshots ahead of time so I could try and frame my photos as you see them in the film but I just didn't have the time. So while my shots may not match up exactly, they'll give you an idea of what the places look like now.

Grab some candy corn, there's other treats in store too!
(ie: long post ahead!)

Some of the filming of "Old Salem" took place at Salem Pioneer Village, which is a place where you can go to see people re-enacting daily life in 1630 Salem. It was closed on the day I went but you can see some of the buildings from the neighboring park if you squint through the trees. Off to the left of the Village's fence is a park with a basketball court!

Salem Pioneer Village

The building used as a school was actually a school in Salem until about a year before they started filming. It's not really featured during the day in the movie, but you can see the brick building in the background below.


And here it is today.

Hocus Pocus School builing

The area where Sam is talking to Allison is the Salem Common, which is across the street from the school.


Below is the Common directly across from the school. The walkway and iron fence run along the perimeter. The spot shown above would be ahead and to your left in this photo.

Salem Common

 The narrow streets that Sam rides his bike through on his way home are actually in the nearby town of Marblehead. That wasn't on the tour that day, but I had been through there before on my way to Old Burial Hill cemetery, which is where Sam meets the bullies.


I went to Old Burial Hill back in 2012 and at that time had only seen Hocus Pocus once. While watching it this year, I instantly recognized the cemetery from its unique rocky hill geography. The arrow in the above screencap is pointing to the pathway you see running along the left side of the below photo. Old Burial Hill is one of the oldest grave sites in New England and you can see more non-movie photos in this album.

Old Burial Hill 04

 And Max finally makes it home, albeit shoeless.

HocusPocus_Maxs House

The house is about a 10-15 minute walk from the Salem Pioneer Village. There was someone outside mowing the lawn so I didn't go in too close. I wonder if they get tired of people coming around to gawk at their house?

Hocus Pocus house

Trick or treating and another run in with the bullies lead Sam and Dani to Allison's house.

HocusPocus_Allisons House

This building is the Ropes Mansion in downtown Salem, which was built in sometime in the 1720s. It doesn't look nearly as impressive from this side shot (or without the decorations!).

Ropes Mansion

I'm going out of movie for a bit here. Behind the Mansion is a fantastic garden area which is really something to see in the spring. The fall? Not as much.
But there is a small pool in the garden.

Ropes Mansion garden

And what to my wondering eye should appear?

Ropes Mansion pool

An eye! Some jokester tossed an eyeball into the pool. I got a kick out of finding it there during my Hocus Pocus tour. Back to the movie...


Although not a "real" cop in the movie, the police patch is very much of Salem.
Where else would you find law enforcement with a witch as their emblem?

The final stop on the tour is Salem Old Town Hall where the big dance party is being held.


The trio actually enter the building from the back which is part of a pedestrian mall, so seeing a car parked there is a bit unusual for me.

Salem Town Hall

This is the front of the building. It might be a bit hard to see it as the same building but compare the windows. When the party-goers exit the building during the end credits, they are coming out of these front doors.

And that's it for my local Hollywood tour. There's plenty more pics from Salem in the 2014 Around Salem album. Hope you've still got some snacks left because I'm going to turn the Halloween interview spotlight on myself.

Thanks for coming by, Dex. Can you tell the readers about yourself?

Sure, Dex, thanks for having me. I've been running this blog for a little over 3 years. One of the main things that made me decide to start blogging was to join in fun of the Countdown to Halloween. Many of the people that were in the Halloween Web I met either because of a mutual love of the holiday or social media.

What was Halloween like as a kid?

I count myself very lucky to have grown up in southeastern Massachusetts. I can't imagine Halloween anywhere else! It just wouldn't be Halloween without the colorful trees and the faint whiff of decaying dead leaves.. My early years were in an apartment complex which is a step above being able to sit around and have candy delivered to you. But it was also pretty populated outside the complex, plenty of houses to visit! Yes, we had urban legends of razor blades in candy but there was so much more freedom to the night then.

Any favorite costumes from past Halloweens?

Oh man, too many to mention! A lot of Ben Cooper stuff: Batman, C-3P0 (yeah what nerd *wanted* to be C-3P0?), Boba Fett. I remember going as Groucho one year with the glasses and over-sized plastic cigar. But probably my past favorite was Freddy. When/if I retire the Salem Creep, that will become my past favorite.

Me as Batman
Do you have any favorite Halloween memories?

There's one very sharp, specific memory I have from Batman Halloween just of jumping down off a small cement wall and shuffling my feet through the leaves when my older cousins took me trick or treating. It's just a few seconds but for some reason it stands out. For that reason, there is no leave raking in my front yard until after Halloween. Kids should associate Halloween with leaves crunching underfoot.

1988 - The Halloween after high school my family relocated from MA to NC. I left all my friends, I knew no one. My parents got me a Freddy costume to help cheer me up. A couple of my buddies drove down to spend Halloween with me. We raised some unholy hell that night, none of the neighborhood kids knew who we were!

Handmade Freddy's glove
The metal glove!

Some time after we moved back to MA, I volunteered at a local haunted house as Freddy and had way too much fun scaring the pants off people. Then one year, another buddy who did metal work, crafted a Freddy glove for me (above). This was way, way before they started mass producing them and I touched it up with model paint to make it more screen accurate. The "tough guys" at the haunted house thought they were funny flicking my "plastic" blades until they did it and figured out they were real metal! I sometimes carried an apple or small chalkboard for added effect. There was also a metal drainpipe that ran down the front of the house which was good for scratching on. The glove also makes a very satisfying sound when you snap your fingers open.

More recently, as the Salem Creep, I was standing very still as a couple of teens were inspecting me trying to figure out if there as a person in there. Then one of them decides to punch me in the head. I grabbed him by the shoulders and delivered a swift kick with a very heavy military boot to his shin while yelling "What the f- is your problem?!?" I think I scared them both pretty good. They apologized and took off into the crowd.

Back around 1998 I started developing what would evolve into the Salem Creep and my stepdad took over the Freddy costume. He's still using that same mask I got in NC back in 1988. There's a lot of fear in that mask! 

How do you celebrate today?

Halloween night we stick around to see how many trick or treaters we get for a bit, seems to be more every year, which is great! As it gets dark, we head into the crazy that is Salem on Halloween night. Because of my costume (see below) I don't get to see as much as I'd like but I make up for it by scaring the socks off those I do see. Freddy and I are like rock stars in Salem. We sometimes have a hard time getting anywhere because we get stopped for so many photos (#humblebrag).

Inside the Spooksters' Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was pretty much anything that wasn't candy!

My favorite thing to get was Bottle Caps (the candy!), Nestle Crunch bars, Kit Kats.

Why do you think Halloween sticks with us as we get older?

Halloween lets us get in touch with darkness in a way most don't get to any other time of the year. It's a night when you can really be anything, leave your average existence behind for awhile and cut loose. Added bonus: scaring people is fun!

2012 Halloween Salem Creep Lit
The Salem Creep
Before you head off to your next house, swing by Halloween Mixes.
They're posting a themed mix album every day of the month!

And of course, check out all the other folks participating in the Countdown to Halloween!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post! Thanks for taking all these pics around Salem and sharing them with us. This post was a lot of fun for me since I just saw Hocus Pocus last night. All these places are really fresh in my mind. That red and black school is really something. A pretty cool and spooky looking school. So Max's house really looks like that! What a unique house. It looks like a made up house that should be on a movie set. I hadn't remembered the bullies from the first time I saw the movie. I was laughing so hard at Ernie "ICE" and his ice hair. :) That guy was so early 90s and hilarious. Neat touch with the eyeball in the pond! I like the witch on the police emblem. How cool is that!?

    It was also a fun surprise to read the interview you did with yourself. Nice Freddy glove! OK, now I'm wanting to see those C-3PO photos... So the pesky teen got a kick with a military boot to the shin! I have a feeling he won't go around hitting props or costumed people anymore. No matter what they thought you were, I don't get that their first thought was "Let's hit whatever this is". Come on kids!

    I can't wait to see this year's Salem Creep/Halloween night pics!