This article is part of a series where we take a suggested topic – generally something from the entertainment industry – and create a party plan around it. This can include thematic elements, food and beverages, decorations, etc. If you have a topic that you think would make a great party, please submit it to our editor and we’ll take a look! The only criteria is that it must be popular enough it can easily be researched online.
NOTE: These posts may contain spoilers for Hocus Pocus.
When you bring up popular Halloween movies in casual conversation, you may hear a lot of horror movies named. But what about the campy movies, the ones that make you groan and laugh at the same time? What about the cult favorites that remind you of when you were younger? Ahh, nostalgia…
Many 90’s kids have fond memories of just such a movie called Hocus Pocus, a Disney movie about three resurrected witches who try to steal all the town’s children’s souls and the young friends who are determined to stop them. This movie is delightfully cheesy, with over-the-top acting and wry quips from a very impressively witchy line-up: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. Some believe the movie is a cult favorite because it was played so much during the Halloween season following its release, while others attribute its lasting appeal to its star power. Either way, it is the perfect party to plan this season that will get your guests grinning and singing, “I put a spell on you!”
For this theme I used the original movie which can be found on Amazon Prime.
Hocus Pocus didn’t really have a particular color scheme that stood out, other than browns for the witches’ cottage and dark jewel tones for the witches’ costumes. Everything else was pretty ordinary, albeit on the darker side because a good portion of the movie takes place at night. That’s good news for you!
However, symbolism does play a big part, although not as obvious as you might think. For instance, I see a lot of sites suggest witch hat decorations or witch hat foods for a Hocus Pocus themed party. That would be great except the witches themselves never wear witch hats. The little sister Dani does, but that’s it. (Party bloggers, please STOP putting witch hats in this party theme, seriously.) So, all in all, not an even passable symbolic choice for this theme. Some much better choices would be brooms (they all ride them), black cats (one of the characters), zombies (another character), and cauldrons, cages, and spell books, all of which are tools that the witches do use in the movie.
Locations & Decorations
We love picking the setting of the party first, as it makes it so much easier to choose your decorations. Here are a few to get you started. And if you don’t like these, get creative and put your own spin on it!
- The Cemetery: Easiest. The great thing about parties with cemeteries is that they are so easy to decorate thanks to the availability of premade and / or DIY gravestones. The Hocus Pocus cemetery has the stereotypical big iron gate entrance, which would be fabulous as the entrance to your party, too. Short on huge iron gates? No problem: you can make your own to frame your front door with anything from cardboard to pvc pipe painted black. Once inside have your tombstones scattered around for effect, and don’t forget all of your surfaces. Put paper tombstones on the wall, three dimensional tombstones on shelves and counters, and even turn your table into a large tombstone that has fallen down! Cover it all spiderwebs and moss and hang three witches on brooms from the ceiling and you are GOLD. Oh, and don’t forget to have one life-sized zombie Billy.
- The Sanderson Cottage: Hardest. This is tricky and not for the faint-hearted. It helps if you already have witchy decorations, but you can also buy or make your own. The cottage is your typical early settler meets medieval witch (yes, I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s a movie setting, so go with it), with all the surfaces being various shades of brown and grey. Make sure you have a really large black cauldron with a green light and dry ice inside, a podium with a leathery book with an eye on top of the clasp, large cages hanging from the ceiling for wayward children, a stack of brooms in the corner, and many candles, especially a white candle with a black flame. If you want to get really crazy, turn on the sprinklers, ahem, “burning rain of death,” but make sure you cover the food first or it’ll get soggy.
- The Party: Most fun. This one leaves the most to your imagination because all you need is a dancefloor, a stage (with a black background and creepy red trees painted on it), and a band! In fact, this one could have also fallen under “Easiest” (I debated long and hard on that one). Because of the need for a stage and a band, this is better suited for a really large living room or outside. Just make sure you feel it with lots of people in costumes of all types and get the jams going. OH, and don’t forget to play “I Put a Spell on You” for true authenticity.
Food & Beverages
Typical creepy Halloween-style munchies and drinks are great here, but especially have some of the following:
- Green punch to steal your soul, muwahahaha!
- Dead man’s toe, part of the punch (any of the Halloween treats you can find online that are made to look like fingers would be just fine)
- Tongue bits, part of the punch (chopped tomatoes, like a salsa, or chopped pepperoni)
- Green punch to steal your soul, muwahahaha!
- Halloween candy, especially a Clark Bar
- For some online fun, get in on some of that mad lib action by using this Mad Lib Generator to write up a couple of spells (how to curse an enemy, how to make someone fall in love with you, how to get a promotion at work, etc.) and replace the words with blanks. Bonus points if they rhyme and / or relate to current events! Then hand them out to your party guests for some hilarious read-offs.
- For the adults out there, we have a game for you involving your favorite party beverages! Try Delish’s Hocus Pocus drinking game for some fun movie-watching challenges. If you want to keep the game alcohol-free, print the game board for each guest and have them mark a tick next to each item when it’s played out on the screen. The people with the most accurate scores get prizes.
- For you artsy types, you can have people create their own witch brooms by using more than just twigs. Start with a wooden dowel or stick that is anywhere between six inches to a couple of feet, depending on how big you want them. Throw in smaller twigs and some ribbon, crepe streamers, tinsel, garland, and even chenille stems (that’s pipe cleaners to us old folk), and you have some glittery fantastic creations. Just tie it all on with twine or ribbon and you’re done. The really enthusiastic can also use hot glue to make the pieces stick if they want to hang theirs as a wall decoration later. TIP: You can include beads for winding on the broom bits and fun Halloween treats like those cheap plastic spider rings or cobwebs for extra bling and atmosphere.
Now get out there and weave your own spell over your guests. Happy partying!
Featured image credit: Walt Disney Pictures