Halloween Countdown – 31 Scary Moments – Oct. 10

The witches from “Hocus Pocus” are inspired by something truly horrific


“Hocus Pocus” (1993) uses the real history of the Salem Witch Trials as inspiration for its zany comical horror tale of three witches who are brought back from the dead and try to achieve immortality by stealing the souls of children.

October officially marks the beginning of Scary Season. With this in mind, the Pepper Bough is celebrating with a daily dose of creepy moments sure to make your hairs stand on end. Come celebrate with us . . . if you dare.

“Hocus Pocus” is easily one of the most delightful Halloween movies. Starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, it is about three witches who were executed during the 17th century, but reawakened in the modern era (of 1993) by a kid named Max. The sisters get one night to achieve immortal life and exact their revenge, leaving it up to Max and his band of friends—including an immortal black cat—to stop them.

All the goofy horror plot aside, the story of the Sanderson sisters is based on a true story. While they are fictional creations for a Disney movie, in Salem, Massachusetts, 1693, a number of innocent women were executed for allegedly practicing witchcraft. The Salem Witch Trials, as they are now known, began in 1692 when a small group of troubled girls began accusing local women of possessing them through the use of witchcraft. Salem was a deeply fundamentalist religious community, and the fear of Satanic practice drove the township to hysterical overreaction.

Even comical horror often has its origins in the truly terrifying.