The 10 best movies like ‘Hocus Pocus’

A still from 1993 classic Hocus Pocus
via Walt Disney Pictures


Halloween is only a matter of weeks away, and with the trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, and skeleton decorations, many indulge in the rewatching of their favorite spooky films, one of which is the holiday classic, Hocus Pocus. The fantasy film starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy has been watched in households across the globe, and with a sequel scheduled for a Sept. 30 release, fans are more excited than ever for a return to Salem, Massachusetts.

If you loved the campy fun and shenanigans of Hocus Pocus, here are 10 similar Halloween classics to get you right in the feels for the holiday.

Halloweentown

A Disney cult classic, Halloweentown was released in 1998 and  follows a young girl named Marnie Piper who finds out she is a witch on her 13th birthday. When Marnie’s grandma Aggie shows up, she tells Marnie and her siblings a story about the magical land of Halloweentown, much to their mother’s dismay, and they soon find out that the town is, in fact, real when they stowaway on a magical bus. While Marnie’s mother, Gwen, wants her children to lead mortal lives, the kids are swept up in a thrilling adventure, and must work together to save Halloweentown from ghouls, warlocks, and terrible spells causing the inhabitants to disappear.  

The Haunted Mansion

Spooky yet hilarious, this Disney movie starring Eddie Murphy is based on the Disneyland theme park attraction of the same name. It follows Jim Evers, a realtor who has little time for his family, but he tries to make amends by scheduling a family vacation. When his wife, Sara, is called to check out a house by the waters, Jim takes the whole family along, and a nearby flooding causes them to spend the night. Unbeknownst to them is that the mansion houses many dark secrets, and is inhabited by a family of ghosts and otherworldly creatures. 

Casper

Based on the lovable cartoon of the same name, Casper follows the iconic friendly ghost in his big screen debut. The 1995 classic follows the titular character who is smitten by 13-year-old Kat Harvey, the daughter of a renown exorcist charged with removing Casper and his uncles from a haunted mansion. While his relatives are more interested in scaring the Harvey family away, Casper has other plans and quickly befriends Kat.

The Addams Family

No family does weird and scary quite like the Addams Family. The first of many movies in the beloved franchise is a must-watch for fans of Hocus Pocus. It takes place 25 years after Gomez and his brother Fester have a falling out, and the latter returns to the family, much to everyone’s joy. However, when Fester has trouble remembering important family moments, he arouses suspicion and questions on whether he is an impostor. The Addams Family is regarded as a classic and is frequently watched in many households during Halloween. An upcoming series, Wednesday, is currently in production at Netflix, and focuses on the life of sarcastic teenager, Wednesday Addams. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tim Burton’s name is almost exclusively associated with the Halloween season, mostly in part because of this classic offering. This stop-motion animation is set in Halloween Town, ruled by the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington. When Jack gets bored with his realm and discovers Christmas Town, he becomes obsessed with their traditions and kidnaps Santa Claus. The musical has a cult following and is an integral part of many people’s spooky holiday traditions.

The Craft

The Craft leans more towards horror than some of the campier movies on this list, and follows four teenage girls who are outcasts in their school for different reasons. The girls find out that they each have magical abilities and form a witch coven to practice their craft together. Things begin to take a strange turn when their spells start having negative consequences, not only on the people around them, but on themselves. As their powers continue to grow, and their desires granted, tensions arise and cause the girls to turn on one another. 

Maleficent

This live-action retelling of the famous Sleeping Beauty fairy tale is from the perspective of the complex antagonist, Maleficent. The classic story has the powerful witch painted in a very negative light, with jealousy and pride the reasons for her evil, but this version sympathizes with the misunderstood character. In this epic fantasy, Maleficent, hurt and betrayed by the man she loved, seeks revenge against him, but comes to fall in love with Aurora, forming a strong mother-daughter bond with her. Angelina Jolie shines in the role of the titular witch, and Elle Fanning brings the tender-hearted Aurora to life. 

A Witches’ Ball

For those in search of a family-friendly Halloween movie with enough supernatural elements to keep things spooky, A Witches’ Ball is the perfect holiday accompaniment. This 2017 film follows a young witch named Beatrix who is at the cusp of becoming an official witch when trouble arises. She has to pass tests, solve riddles, and prove herself before the night of the ball to ensure that she gets her title. 

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Just like Hocus Pocus, The Spiderwick Chronicles tells the story of kids discovering magical worlds and creatures beyond their comprehension. When their mother inherits the Spiderwick estate and decides to move there, Jared, Simon, and Mallory aren’t too happy about it. However, when they find a hidden guidebook to mystical creatures and start interacting with these fantasy beings, they discover a hidden world of magic and danger.

Twitches

With acting veterans Tia and Tamera Mowry heading this Disney classic, Twitches became a hit at the time of its release, and had fans all over chanting, “Go Twitches! Go Twitches!” Twins Alex and Cam are separated at birth and are hunted by a foe, simply referred to as “The Darkness.” On their 21st birthday, they bump into each other and discover they are witches. While initially overjoyed, the duo are quickly thrust into a terrifying ordeal when their original homeland, Coventry, is under the threat of destruction. Together, they must master their powers in a short time and return to Coventry to protect it.