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Children on Toast and Other Musings: 30 Years of Hocus Pocus

Erica Ezeifedi

Associate Editor

Erica Ezeifedi, Associate Editor, is a transplant from Nashville, TN that has settled in the North East. In addition to being a writer, she has worked as a victim advocate and in public libraries, where she has focused on creating safe spaces for queer teens, mentorship, and providing test prep instruction free to students. Outside of work, much of her free time is spent looking for her next great read and planning her next snack. Find her on Twitter at @Erica_Eze_.

For a while, the original Hocus Pocus movie existed in my mind in a pleasant little pocket of nostalgia alongside other campy ‘90s and early aughts movies like Halloweentown, The Witches, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. I could remember their plots vaguely, but that was about it. It was a college friend who would quote the iconic, the immortal Winnifred Sanderson in our everyday conversations that got me back thinking about the movie. Eventually, I had to do a rewatch, and I have been rewatching it every October or so since.

I feel my experience with Hocus Pocus has some parallels with the general public’s. The movie started as a flop, losing Disney a cool few million. But then something interesting happened: yearly showings of the movie on TV eventually turned into a renewed interest. Sales for the movie spiked each year around Halloween, and this new interest shifted to different iterations of the main characters, the Sanderson Sisters — there’s a theme park attraction, an adorable short film, and even a lego set. It also resulted in, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, books. There’s an official cookbook (Hocus Pocus: The Official Cookbook), a spell book (The Hocus Pocus Spell Book), and on the franchise’s 25th anniversary in 2018, Hocus Pocus: The Sequel was released.

book cover of Hocus Pocus: The All-New Sequel

The 2018 book has two parts: a retelling of the original story and a second part that happens 25 years after the events of the first. In 1993, teenager Max takes his little sister Dani out trick-or-treating, runs into his crush Allison, and accidentally awakens the Sanderson Sisters 300 years after they’d been hanged for sucking the life force of a young girl to make them young again. Now that they’re back, they’re also back to their old ways, and Max’s little sister Dani is at risk of becoming their latest skin care treatment.

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