Hocus Pocus

Movie review by
Maria Llull, Common Sense Media
Hocus Pocus Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Rollicking Halloween fun for tweens and up.
  • PG
  • 1993
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 38 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 53 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Teens/kids outwit three naughty witches on Halloween. Along the way they learn about friendship and teamwork.

Positive Role Models

Max, Dani, and Allison support each other and tackle the witches with intelligence. There are bullies and bad witches, but these characters are very clearly in the wrong.


The violence is all magical, but there are a couple of gross-out scenes, such as a cat getting run over by a bus and a zombie cutting his mouth open. Some bullying; a child dies onscreen but not violently -- the witches take her life-force while she's in a trance-like state, and she quietly slumps over in a chair.


References to virginity and an unfaithful lover; some flirting. Boy hugs a pillow and says "Oh, Allison, you're so soft."


Infrequent use of words including "damn," "wench," "moron," and "go to hell."


Lots of offline promotion.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

References to "hash" and "smokes," but none are smoked by the kids or adults.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hocus Pocus has lasting Halloween appeal for kids (and adults). It involves a plot to suck the life force out of children; one little girl dies that way. A couple of high school bullies harass a male classmate in a graveyard, asking him for "smokes" and "hash" and finally stealing his shoes. There are a few mild sexual references, such as a high school boy hugging his pillow and murmuring, "Oh, Allison, you're so soft," as well as some frisky flirting from one of the witches. The main character is teased about being a virgin. The body of an "unfaithful lover" rises from the grave. Items that play key roles in the story are a book bound in human skin and a candle made from the fat of a hanged man. Words including "damn" are used infrequently. A tale is told about the devil, and there are various gross-out moments. But it's important to note that all of the above is done in the playful, spooky spirit of Halloween.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byCyndi M. March 25, 2019

Nine year old daughter called it a waste of her time

The movie was just disappointing - it starts off with a little girl having the life literally sucked out of her. Her brother is turned into a cat who cannot di... Continue reading
Adult Written byScratchDad November 3, 2014

cute and silly, "virgin" every 5 minutes

I had originally held off watching this with my kids after reading the Common Sense review. Luckily after to talk to MY peers I felt more secure in showing it... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMadelineMini November 8, 2014

A Great Halloween Classic!

This movie is hilarious and not too scary for younger kids! There is some inappropriate humor including the Madonna costume and the devil, but it just slips thr... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 21, 2019

A movie for all ages

This holiday movie is a classic, and can be enjoyed by all ages.

What's the story?

Three hundred years ago in Salem, Mass., three witches murdered a little girl and cursed her older brother, Thackery, turning him into an immortal cat. The witches, better known as the Sanderson Sisters, are hanged for the crime, but just before their sentence is carried out, Winnie Sanderson (Bette Midler), casts a spell to bring them back to life on a future Halloween night. When present-day high schooler Max lights a bewitched candle, he unwittingly performs the exact act that will bring the sisters back to life. With the help of Thackery, Max and his friends do their best to outwit, outrun, and outlast the witches in HOCUS POCUS.

Is it any good?

This perennial Halloween favorite is full of silly moments. Some of the best scenes in Hocus Pocus involve the Sanderson Sisters -- Winnie, Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) -- walking through Salem on Halloween night, encountering costumed children. They perform "I Put a Spell on You" at a dance and mistake a man dressed as the devil for the real thing and call him their "master." There are plot holes, and a lot of the film is predictable, but it's good Halloween fun nonetheless.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about scary stories, and parents can share their memories of Halloween. What's your all-time favorite costume? How do you want to dress up this year?

  • If kids are at all spooked by Hocus Pocus, families can talk about why. What scared you? Do you think it was meant to be scary? How much scary stuff can young kids handle?

  • How do the characters demonstrate teamwork? Why is that an important character strength?

  • Depending on kids' age, they may be interested in learning about the Salem witch trials.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Halloween laughs and costumes

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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