If you’re a fan of Disney’s 1993 movie Hocus Pocus, Salem’s got some treats for you! Many of the places in the movie were actually filmed here.
Pioneer Village, at Forest River Park, 310 West Avenue, is where the opening scenes were filmed featuring Binx in his human form before he was cursed and changed into a cat. Pioneer Village was built in 1930 on three acres of land as part of Massachusetts’ tercentenary celebration and is America’s first living history museum. Guided tours meander by replicas of different colonial architecture: tepees, thatched roof cottages, and the Governor’s Mansion (a simple four-room house), as well as people tending the herb garden and blacksmithing. You will need a car to get here from downtown or be prepared for an enjoyable thirty-minute walk. Check Pioneer Village’s website to get their seemingly ever-changing hours. If you do come here, leave some time to walk around Forest River Park. Its beautiful seaside hills overlook Salem Harbor with its multitudes of yachts and fishing boats, gulls and herons. https://www.pioneervillagesalem.org/
4 Ocean Avenue, pretty much right around the corner from Forest River Park, is Max and Dani’s house in the film. We suggest you walk from the park to here as it is residential permit parking only and you will be ticketed. (Plus the neighbors get mad). This is a private home—please be respectful.
The Ropes Mansion, 318 Essex Street. The exterior scenes of Allison’s house were filmed here. This Georgian Colonial mansion was built in the 1720s and is considered to be one of the most haunted in Salem. Nathaniel Ropes was an unpopular Loyalist judge and died of smallpox whilst his house was being stoned by a rabble outside in 1774. His wife Abigail burnt to death after her dress caught fire from the fireplace in 1839. Both are said to haunt the house. It also has a spectacular formal garden that is tended full-time. One can always find seasonal flowers in bloom, and there are benches for just relaxing on or reading. The house and grounds are owned by the Peabody Essex Museum and open to the public. The house can be toured on weekends; the grounds are open year-round. It is right across the street from the Salem Inn’s Curwen House.
Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square adjacent to the walking mall. The exterior of the adults’ Halloween party was filmed here. Built in 1817, the Hall houses the Salem Museum and performances of the play Cry Innocent. Salem’s Farmers’ Market runs all around the exterior perimeter on Thursday afternoons, from mid-June to mid-October. Until June 30th, 2022, it will be home to a pop-up incubator called CultureHouse Salem, where the public can interact with local artists and other creatives. There are music and dance performances as well as gallery displays. See their schedule here: https://culturehouse.cc/projects/salem/
Phillips Elementary School, Washington Square South. This is the exterior of Max and Dani’s school, and while it is no longer open to the public, it can be seen from the Salem Common. The school closed in 1992, a year before Hocus Pocus filming began.
Salem Common, Washington Square, is where many of the outdoor scenes were shot. The Common has been public land since the 1600s when animals would graze here. Rumors have it that haunted tunnels run underneath, connecting various homes and the harborfront in order to smuggle both goods and human contraband. Hocus Pocus is shown here in the common amidst all the other activites every October—check your Haunted Happenings guide for dates.
Jill Pabich, Innkeeper
May 16, 2022