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Why Hocus Pocus 2 Had To Craft All-New Costumes For The Sanderson Sisters

The "Hocus Pocus" series is visually dazzling. From the Sanderson Sister's outrageous hairstyles to their dramatic make-up, and the way the film's sets authentically capture the feeling of the life in a bustling but spooky autumnal Salem, Massachusetts, it has a certain panache that can't be beat. Throw some wonderful visual effects onto the pile and you have something that arrests without overwhelming. 

"Hocus Pocus" also made particularly good use of its costumes. From the patchwork and yet somehow elegant frocks of Winifred Sanderson (Bette Midler) and her sisters to the simpler, modern outfits worn by Dani Dennison (Thora Birch) and her friends, the costumes are all eye-catching and help tell each character's story without a single line of dialogue being spoken. With a sequel film which is already stirring up nostalgic emotions for its fanbase with its trailers ready to hit Disney + on September 30, we're learning more about the sequel's visual style, including why all-new items of clothing had to be crafted for the iconic and evil trio to wear during their new outing. 

The original film's costumes are on display in museums

During a press conference for "Hocus Pocus 2" attended by Looper, the film's director, Anne Fletcher, was asked how she worked with different departments within Disney, such as the film's hair and makeup units to upgrade the Sanderson Sister's look for the new movie. "There was a lot to pull from the first movie. Obviously the magic shop is their old cottage from the first movie," she said. 

While speaking about the film's new costume designer, Salvador Pérez Jr., Fletcher explained that she believed that the film's original costumes had been destroyed by the ravages of time, necessitating new dresses for all three sisters. "None of the original costumes exist anymore. Well, we were told that. [...] Some of them deteriorated," she said. Bette Midler spoke up correct her, explaining that the Sanderson Sisters' costumes do still exist, and they appeared (along with a certain vaccum) as part of a museum's collection in Seattle, Washington. "But they're in terrible shape," she added. Fletcher explained that they had to start over with fresh dresses and new material. 

If you'd like to see the Sanderson Sister's original, Mary Vogt-designed costumes up close and personal, they're currently part of a touring exhibition entitled "Heroes and Villains: The Art of the Disney Costume." The display of props and clothing, which encompasses six decades of sartorial-based Disney history, debuted at the D23 Exhibition in 2021, subsequently stopped in Seattle, and will next be at the The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Detroit until January 1, 2023.