Hocus Pocus has cried out for a sequel ever since ABC Family’s 13 Days of Halloween found the magical number of viewings that would turn it into a cult classic. But despite the interest of all millennials and the Divine Miss M herself, Disney has rejected the idea of a sequel in favor of a Disney Channel Original Movie “reimagining." (I'm guessing that translates to “firmly below Bette Midler’s pay grade.”)
It's a shame. While I think a new spin on the original story—maybe, I don’t know, giving the protagonist a personality beyond “teen”?—could be worthwhile, the whole appeal of Hocus Pocus is rooted in the Sanderson sisters. That’s why they have their own stage show at Walt Disney World. But growing up in fandom has made me shameless in the art of extrapolation, so I’m well-used to figuring this stuff out on my own. If Disney’s not going to give us a sequel, then I will.
Here’s where I think they are now.
Obviously, the Sanderson sisters were resurrected. Three years later, in fact. After seeing The Craft every weekend during its original theatrical run, a local Salem teenager frustrated with her own virginity, the patriarchy, and the whole damn system, man, breaks into the Sanderson cottage and stumbles across Winnie’s spellbook. Faced with the ultimate goth bragging right of her very own Necronomicon, our erstwhile heroine nicks it and uses it to rule the goth scene…
Up until the point she accidentally resurrects the Sanderson sisters at a party and they devour her life force. And all her Zima.
After that, the record goes… thin. The reigning theory among Sanderson conspiracy theorists—or Sanderites, if you will (and they aggressively do)—is that, after learning their lesson from their first resurrection, they decided to lay low. Play the long game in their quest for immortality. Maybe you’ve seen one. Maybe you’ve opened the liner notes of Lana Del Rey’s latest album only to see a photo of a woman who looks stunningly like Sarah Sanderson, thanked specifically but not by name by Del Rey herself. Didn’t the woman who laughed way too much when you called her croquettes “sinfully delicious” at your latest neighborhood potluck rock a red lip and a flannel like Mary Sanderson? And last time you went to a drag show, didn’t that redheaded queen who clearly thought eyebrows were a sin have a little extra oomph to her performance that your fourth martini couldn’t account for?
There have been plenty of sightings, but nobody knows what they’re up to. Sanderites have theories, of course, but the only thing they agree is that it can’t be anything good…
Max Dennison, now forty (because time is a cruel tide against which we all must beat against unceasingly), coasted on the brief fame accorded to him by the events of Halloween 1993. Unfortunately, the major characteristics of a Gen X teenage boy—sarcasm, floppy hair, and a tubular disregard for authority—aren’t a sufficient replacement for things like “interests” and “character motivation.” After moving back to Los Angeles, he spent much of his adult life trying and abandoning new careers and hobbies, always wondering if he peaked in high school and terrified to admit to himself that he knows he did. He remains an occasional figure of interest to occultists of all varieties, although the interviews are inevitably disappointing.
He also remains a virgin.
Dani Dennison, now thirty-two, has wholeheartedly embraced a witchy aesthetic as part of her lifestyle #brand. Very few people in her new life know about what she went through as a small child, but she occasionally drops hints about a terrible incident in her past at parties when she feels people aren’t focusing on her enough. Infamous on Instagram for her ugly-cute chunky patterned knits, little black John Lennon sunglasses, and perfect burns, Dani was also originally a founding partner of Witchsy before falling out with the other founders for unknown reasons. Sanderites believe it’s due to a Winifred sighting putting the fear of God into her, but Dani just never returned someone’s necklace.
Her Etsy shop is currently running a 20% off promotion to celebrate Halloween. Just enter the code YABBOS at checkout.
Allison “I Guess Love Interests Didn’t Get Last Names in the ’90s, What the Hell, Disney”, now forty, pursued her love of history all the way to a graduate degree in museum studies, focusing specifically on American witchcraft. When she’s not teaching or practicing white witchcraft, she’s the host of Hurlyburly, a podcast about, to quote the introduction, “witches, women who were called bitches, and other sisters in the supernatural arts.” Each episode is about a different woman in history whose life include unexplained phenomena. Its sound design is excellent; its audience is small but devoted.
While her past with them is no secret, she has never done an episode on the Sanderson sisters, despite the intense demand. She’s often interviewed due to her specific expertise, and it’s the rare host who can resist asking her about them towards the end of the interview. Whenever she’s asked, though, she just laughs in a way that makes podcast listeners instantly imagine her tucking her long brown hair behind her ear and adjusting her Ira glasses. “All I’ll say is that it changed me,” she’ll say. “It really changed me.”
Thackery Binx and Billy Butcherson remain dead. That’s how being dead works. Please redirect your nostalgic crushes on wan, pale old-timey virgins and handsome monster men to, respectively, Outlander's Jamie Fraser and the Creature in The Shape of Water. (He’s even played by Doug Jones too!)