Planning a trip to Salem, Massachusetts, in the near future? Add a few detours to your itinerary and check out some of the filming locations of the Halloween classic, “Hocus Pocus”.
Here are the Hocus Pocus filming locations we visited:
- Salem village in the 1600s – Pioneer Village, 98 West Ave.
- Max and Dani’s house – 4 Ocean Ave.
- Town Hall – 32 Derby Square
- Allison’s house – 318 Essex St.
- Salem Common – North Washington Square
- Cemetery scenes – Old Burial Hill, Marblehead, MA
We’ve listed the filming locations above in the order in which we recommend visiting them (based on their proximity to one another).
We stopped in Salem on our 3,700-mile East Coast road trip in October 2021 and arrived just in time for Haunted Happenings – the city’s annual Halloween festivities.
The leaves hadn’t turned yet when we arrived on Oct. 5, so I recommend pushing your visit back a week or two if you want to see the fall foliage.
A word of caution: If you’re visiting Salem in October, book everything well in advance, because the city gets busy (and expensive) during peak tourist season. If you’re curious where we stayed, we booked the perfect Airbnb, which was only about a 15-minute walk to downtown.
The whole city is quite walkable, so as long as you book convenient accommodations, you’ll be in good shape to get around.
Salem Village in the 1600s
It’s a bit of a trek to walk here from downtown, so you may consider driving or taking an Uber if you’re on a time crunch or don’t want to make the 1-hour round-trip walk.
Pioneer Village, America’s “first living history museum”, is where the scenes from the beginning of the movie were filmed. We see a flyover of an old Salem town as the opening credits roll. In one of the small houses is Thackery Binx, who wakes up to find his sister, Emily, missing.
Max and Dani’s House
Less than a 10-minute walk from Pioneer Village is the iconic Hocus Pocus house, located at 4 Ocean Ave. It’s currently private property, so be respectful as you visit and take pictures. If you drove to Pioneer Village, you might consider just walking to the Hocus Pocus house to avoid creating a bottleneck with your vehicle.
The adult Halloween party in Hocus Pocus was filmed on the second floor of the Old Town Hall in Salem.
Perhaps one of the most quotable lines from the movie (“I put a spell on you”) comes from the song which Bette Midler recorded and lip syncs with fellow Sanderson Sisters, Sarah and Mary, at the Halloween party.
Allison’s house, known in real life as The Ropes Mansion, is considered the most haunted house in Salem. When we went on a ghost tour of Salem at night, our tour guide shared with us the below picture that was previously captured by someone on his tour.
The photo is of Abigail Ropes, the most common ghost who “haunts” the home. She was the granddaughter of Judge Nathaniel Ropes, and was known for her long, blond, wavy hair.
She met her fate in the 1800s when her dress caught fire and she went up in flames after standing too close to the fireplace in her second-floor bedroom — hence why she appears to be glowing when her apparition is seen.
Many scenes from Hocus Pocus were filmed at Salem Common, just outside Jacob Bailey High School (Philips Elementary School IRL) on Washington Square.
The Common lights up at night for Halloween, creating the perfect spooky and sparkly setting for a photo shoot.
The city also frequently does showings of Hocus Pocus on the Common throughout the month of October! Stop by for a show at night or take an afternoon stroll on the Common and visit the nearby Salem Witch Museum (well worth the time and money).
The daytime graveyard scenes were filmed at Old Burial Hill in Marblehead, a 15-minute drive from Salem. The cemetery was established in 1638 and is one of the oldest graveyards in New England.
In the movie, Max rides his bike through the cemetery and is met by bullies Jay and Ernie (aka Ice) who steal Max’s new cross trainers.
The name “Old Burial Hill” may sound familiar, as we see a shot in the movie of a big iron gate with Old Burial Hill written on it, but internet speculation suggests that those nighttime shots were filmed on a set. (Plus, we didn’t see any evidence of the gate.)
Besides getting a photo of the headstones featured in the movie, it’s worth wandering around the cemetery for a little while. You’ll find many notable graves, including Wilmot Redd’s, one of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials, and John Glover’s, a Revolutionary War general.
Don’t forget to browse the shops downtown, where you can find plenty of Hocus Pocus merchandise. Grab a coffee at Odd Meter, or an apple cider float at Melt, and enjoy!