“Oh, come on. It’s just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!”

Maybe your idea of Hocus Pocus is a night of scary movies or asking for a little magic to help something go your way? Whatever the case, WomanScape sends a big shout out to the writers of scary stories and spellbinding Hocus Pocus-type films. These wonderful cult-worthy classics are the best Halloween movies.

Dozens of retrospectives will be popping up all month long but we love the one and only movie 1993 movie, Hocus Pocus. Remember Disney’s Halloween-dissing teenager Max Dennison who lives – where else – in Salem, Massachusetts?

Halloween, Hocus Pocus, witches, movies, magical women

It’s the perfect family film about the accidental resurrection of three witches. Max risks his life to protect his little sister Dani, who is in danger of having the life-force sucked out of her. Thankfully, Max forces the witches – horribly funny Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy and Thora Burch – back to the dark side.  The witches are cursed and never to roam the earth again until the next unsuspecting victim lights the eternal flame.

Or how about the sexually charged, The Witches of Eastwick. This fast-paced film is funny and packed with super-charged dialogue that will have you wishing you had your own broomstick to ride on. The movie is based on American writer, John Updike’s celebrated novel and stars Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Definitely a fun Friday night feature flick! The movie is set in the fictional New England town of Eastwick in the late 1960s.

Three witches – Alexandra Spofford, Jane Smart, and Sukie Rougemont – are dissatisfied women who meet weekly to quaff martinis, and gossip about their dull sex lives. Having acquired witchy powers after their husbands die, they meet devilish Darryl who takes each of them as his lover. The witches lives are turned upside down and mayhem breaks out in the village.

Maybe you have a penchant for telling scary stories? If you do, we hope you’ll find some inspiration in these stories and books like Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers. Taisia Kitaiskaia and Katy Horan examine the witchy qualities of writers and compare them to imaginary stories about witches and visionaries.  Here’s hoping this book will fire up your imagination, creativity and empowerment.

Now that you’re all set with some movie options or a good book for jumpstarting your imagination, why don’t we throw in some yummy movie snacks. Genius Kitchen has some pretty amazing ideas that are worth seeing so you may want to head to their site.

The “jelly skull shots” and the chocolate Halloween mice with the red licorice tails are a personal favorite but if you’re keeping it simple, some of these ideas might be frightfully good.

Halloween, Hocus Pocus, witches, movies, magical women
  • Dead Man’s Toe = mini hotdogs, Lucky Rat’s Tails = Mozzarella Sticks! “Thine Own Tongue” = Swedish fish gummies
  • And, don’t forget the “Newt’s Saliva”, aka the drinks. Cover your wine, liquor and soda bottles with Halloween labels to create a spooky vibe.

These lighter tricks and treats certainly take you away from this week’s focus – the healing powers of women – and into the rich legends of sorcery. Sadly, wise women who healed the sick during the Middle Ages risked being accused of witchery. They suffered for their good deeds and “supernatural powers” because it kept strong women powerless and subservient.

Halloween, Hocus Pocus, witches, movies, magical women

Unbelievably, there are still as many as fifty countries in the world where women are called witches. Some of these countries and customs include:

  • Cameroon – witches are called marabouts and they use Talisman or lucky charms to ward off evil people:
  • Rural parts of India – dayuns are witches that are beaten horribly, raped, and repeatedly burned to repent, and release the souls they have taken;
  • Saudi Arabia – there is a special “Magical Unit” that arrests and tries witches using laughable evidence. An unlucky witch risks beheading;
  • Nepal – the widows here are called witches and thought to be forsaken by God;
  • Uganda – witch doctors are revered and feared, and children are regularly sacrificed for money;
  • Kenya – witches there help you in matters of money, love and health. Wagangas might give you juju – a strong magic
  • Tanzania – these witches are easy to spot – they are albino and if you catch one, you stand to make a lot of money by dismembering them and selling their body parts to become wealthy.
Halloween, Hocus Pocus, witches, movies, magical women

If you’re up for a frightful night to get you into the scary season of All Hallows Eve, consider watching this documentary film about the witches in Ghana. Warning: you won’t be able to sleep afterwards. Hopefully, some of the beliefs about witches will eventually change but till then, over 1,000 women will live condemned in camps.

They have been ostracized and forced to confess to being witches, taking the blame for unfortunate sicknesses or tragedies in the village. Something as random as the way a chicken dies when its throat is cut – with its legs up or down – determines whether or not a woman is forced into exile as a witch.

Rose McInerney

Author Rose McInerney

Rose combines her love of all things artfully-designed to connect women to a shared community of learning and a richer, more fulfilled self. As a passionate storyteller, published writer, and international traveler, Rose believes women can build a better world through powerful storytelling.

More posts by Rose McInerney

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