Introduction: Hocus Pocus Resource Guide!

About: Indie game developer, illustrator, comicker, costumer, sword/spoon fighter, Viking enthusiast & wears many hats

There's just under TWO more months until Halloween - and this year it's the 30th Anniversary Year of the film Hocus Pocus (which was released in July...?🤔) So why not get a group of folks together and go as The Sanderson Sisters and company???

...That's what we did last year, and this year I compiled together my notes and resources on the construction of those costumes. This Instructables is a little less of a 'this is how you do this' and really more of a glorified checklist and for-your-use-'pattern'-files source, because not all of us have time to pause the VHS our media subscription channels and, say, try to draw out little flower details on a changing bodice!

(whoops and sadly Dani's/my Mom's scarf is missing in the main photo; we didn't notice until we started trick'r'treating! Don't worry, I ran back and got it for the rest of the night.)


My mom, my sister, her kids, my husband and I all dressed up as characters from (the first) Hocus Pocus movie, and, thus those are the costumes that I'll break down. Mom was Dani, Sis was Winifred, Hubby was Mary, I was Sarah (and Billy) and the nibblings were Billy and Binx. (However he was just a purchased-cat-onsie-costume so I won't be discussing Binx). (almost) Every costume has pdfs in their sections; some are stencils, some are graphics I designed for fabrics.

The costumes we made were based on the first/original movie, not the second; there are definitely design differences between the two movies, so if you're looking to specifically stencil Winifred's HP2 overcoat-dress, sorry, no can help. Although it might as well have been Hocus Pocus 2 because I redid or sewed a good chunk of everything twice!

Making five costumes can take a lot of time and money, so I recommend having everyone dress up also help create, and go through your fabric stash, old costumes, or shop thrifted items (ie for fabric, bedsheets-for-fabric!, costume jewelry, and previously-loved-then-discarded-Hocus-Pocus-costumes!). If you DO have any specific questions about how a certain item was crafted, please don't hesitate to ask! I'm here all (pre) Halloween!

(I was very nervous about losing my luggage traveling for Halloween, so I did a test-run to see if I could wear all the costumes I made at home - yep! I ended up wearing half of it for the flight)

Step 1: Winifred

 Oh, look. Another glorious morning. Makes me sick!

My sister and I had talked about doing 'Hocus Pocus' for years, and last-past August (2021) we finally decided to do it for '22; she went as Winifred Sanderson. It's the one my Mom and I spent the most time on, but everyone was so happy with how it came out. This and Billy (last page/scroll all the way to the bottom) take the longest to do, so start now!

Outer dresscoat: This dress originally started as the velvet green MOH dress from my (medieval-fantasy) wedding; we trimmed it, my mom partially lined it, she added the collar, and I lightly sponged some purple fabric paint over sections. I drew the designs for the edges of the dress while Mom sewed on the bead trim. I traced all the designs onto freezer paper, cut them out and ironed on the freezer paper stencils and we both painted on the designs and glued rhinestones on top of the was deceptively a ton of work that didn't look like a ton of work.

(...and then later I learned the designs were created with bleach, not paint. Aha! ... Ah!....ARH!)

If you go the route of using a stencil with fabric paint (as we did) be sure to dab the paint on with your sponge/paintbrush straight up and down; don't 'brush' the paint on from side to side.

I managed to decipher the majority of the symbols on the dress, but there were some around the bottom that I could not make out at all...I also ran out of time, so there are two snakes missing from the back, along with the rest of the (unknown) bottom edge symbols. In my pattern files I have included the two snakes and some 'extra' symbols but they are 'untested'.

Snake brooches: I had an issue with the snake brooches Wini wore; I had sculpted them out of plasticine and made a latex mold out of them, but my mold didn't cure properly so I had raw latex, make it unusable. So, sigh, I ended up sculpting two more brooches out of pieces of Worbla! They are not mirrored in the film so I made two of the same snake bodies; in the center went some glass conchos with gold backings that I painted green.

Green underdress: I made a (light) green dress made from curtains and leftover-purple-fabric. I think Wini might have worn several under dresses/layers, but we just had the one that I ended up attaching additional 'fake sleeve cuffs' to; the light green dress had long medievalesque sleeves like the outer coat, to which I partially attached, at the top sleeve opening, some wide purple lace. I also added pockets to this dress!

Pettiskirt: I made ared pettiskirt from a thrifted bedsheet. It was very simple and how a log of the other (petti)skirts were made - just two large rectangles together along each side (or, just one extra large rectangle sewn into a tube). I either made the skirts with an elastic waistband (you sew a casing, gather and sew skirt fabric to this, add elastic) or with 2 waistbands-with-long-straps.

Necklace: I used some black agate, flat purple 'disk' beads along with purple seed beads, a bigger red-black bead and a small green scarab bead from an old necklace. I used gold (coloured) wire (loose wire, jump rings, eyepins) and some small jewelry pliers and after a bit of cursing (I am no jeweler) I had a necklace. If you don't have time or resources to make the necklace, I highly recommend checking out Blooming Magnoila's shop, who makes fantastic reproductions.

Teeth: My sister made the teeth by gluing some fake fingernails to a pair of vampire teeth she molded to fit her front teeth; she pre-painted the fingernails to match her teeth shade, and could 'easily' slip her Wini teeth off and on.

Extras: Wini wears an assortment of five rings - two on the right (index and middle finger) and three on the left (index-middle-ring finger). Sis made Wini's diamond-shaped gold earrings out of Sculpty. She also shaped and painted Winifred's fingernails. I already had a warm woolen green cloak from a prior costume, so I saw no need to make a (thinner) new one, especially for a Canadian Halloween. And finally she wore an "official" wig she bought and some black and green striped socks.

Step 2: Dani!

It's a full moon outside. The weirdos are out!

Dani is the 8 year old sister of protagonist Max and her outfit just doesn't get enough love - she wears a comfy 90s homemade witch costume and it pairs ohsowell with anyone going as a black cat!

Shirt: Dani's shirt can be made with an an oversized t-shirt/t-tunic pattern. My mom made her shirt, based on a PPE gown pattern, and zig-zagged the hems for the sleeves and bottom of the shirt. The front neckline got a small vertical cut and she added some grommets and black lacing. I drew the sun/moon designs, printed them out and traced them onto freezer paper, cut them out, sponged on (leftover-and-mixed) yellow and green fabric paint to the appropriate sun/moon sections, and outlined everything with a black acrylic-paint-marker. My sister drew on the faces and extra sunrays.

Skirt: My Mom bought a thrifted skirt and stitched onto it ribbon/trim she had on hand. Go nuts and use whatever fun colours you have, but do make sure to have red fringe; if you don't have it, make it! (That's what Mom did - she had red felt and sliced it to get that oh-so-important Dani fringe)

Scarf: The scarf is KEY! If you can crochet or knit, I say try making one that way. Otherwise, do as my Mom did; cut a narrow piece of black felt, then add some knotted yarn pieces all along the edges. She used a LARGE needle and threaded the yearn through the eye, punctured through the felt, and then knotted all the yarn sections.

Witch Hat: The dollar store is your friend for this one; my mom bought her black witch hat, orange paint, some black tulle, and colourful pompoms. She painted the edge of the hat with orange acrylic paint and wrapped a piece of black tulle around the base, leaving two long tulle-tails in the back. Mom then glued the pompoms amongst the tulle.

Long sleeved-shirt and pants: Dani wears a long-sleeve black shirt and red (sweat)pants (and tights). Mom had a suitable top and we decided just to shrug and go with black bottoms as well; one less thing to worry about with the group costume!

Pumpkin Light: I actually always thought Dani carried a little pumpkin (candy) bucket but it's a (safety) light! And for the life of us we couldn't find anything locally, so we used an old decorative hollow light-up pumpkin and added a strap to it.

Extras: I had several wigs in my stash to choose from, and my Mom selected the manageable-length wavy reddy-strawberry-blonde to wear. Red lips and black shoes complete the look.

Step 3: Mary

Sisters! I have an idea. Since this promises to be a most dire and stressful evening, I suggest we form a calming circle.

I offered to make Max or one of the bullies for Hubby to wear, but heck no he wanted to be part of the main show - Mary all the way!

Main Skirt: Mary has three skirts, the top-most one being a plaid. It was simply made as an elastic waistband skirt. I tried to find a plaid fabric I was happy with, used or new, but nothing sat with my brain right so I ended up creating a design and having it printed. (This is one of the few items that was actually 'new'). If you're going this route, please make sure to give yourself lots of time to have the fabric printed and shipped in case your fabric arrives with streaks running throughout it and you need to reprint 🙃

Pettiskirts: Mary's long under-most maroony-red skirt was made of bedsheets and tied around the waist. For the houndstooth skirt I was inspired by Raevenfea who used a small section of houndstooth fabric and tulle for the rest of the skirt - a great way of saving money and adding poof! I bought a thrifted houndstooth wool(ish) coat, deconstructed it, and stitched it to tulle I had. Underneath he wore a 'bum roll' I had for made for a 17th century costume, to help give him a bit of shape/carry the skirts better.

Apron: The apron was made out of a thrifted purple sweater that my mom and I spent turns stitching coloured thread through (it REALLY helps to have a movie marathon running in the background). A purple bedsheet was the source for the apron ties and the (functioning, velcro-closing, phone-holding) pockets.

Red Bodice: I used a leftover red wool blend fabric from a previous costume. The main base I used for the pattern was Simplicity 5582 (but any 'general bodice' pattern with a few modifications will work) - but instead of having to do lacing up the back as well as the front I added an open-ended zipper; Mary seemed to wear a little caplet most of the time so I took a rectangle of fabric and attached it to the shoulders. Hubby would slip the bodice-and-caplet over his head and we'd zip him up. The rings around the base of the bodice were old shower curtain rings that were spray painted gold and attached with fabric loops.

Orange Shirt: I cut out a peasant-shirt pattern onto leftover orange fabric leftover. Before sewing it all together, I sewed a grid onto the pieces - yes, I sewed many, many many lines back and forth. I wasn't happy with the final colour so I tea-dyed it after it was assembled.

Looking back I would have cut out a scalloped/curved edge so it would better intersect with Mary's necklace and lay flat.

Necklace: I made Mary's necklace out of red-orange-white oval beads, with silver (coloured) eyepins running through them, along with silver beads and jump rings. Make sure the necklace is long enough to 'drape' around the orange shirt; I later stitched the necklace to the neckline. If you don't have time or resources to make the necklace, I highly recommend checking out Blooming Magnoila's shop, who makes fantastic reproductions.

Wig: I travelled across Canada for Halloween, and Mary's wig was looking pretty sad from the suitcase (and frankly was just too small for Hubby's head) so I redid it at my sister's. I used two black wigs I already had and cut up a purple thrift wig. Got2b glued freeze spray is your friend (the yellow canned airhorn stuff - buy it and use it for every wig ever). I also used an aluminum foil armature inside. These were the two best videos I followed for making them and re-looking through vids this one is pretty awesome too!

Extras: We already had a warm woolen red cloak from a prior costume, so I saw no need to make a (thinner) new one. Mary wears rings, but the numbers and where they're being worn shift around depending on the scene. Overall she commonly wears two silver rings on her right middle finger and one on the right pinky, and on her left hand her middle and ring finger each have a ring ... we forwent all those minus Hubby's wedding band. At one point she has mesh fingerless-glove-like-things (sort of like Sarah's sleeves) but we also decided not to do that. I insisted Hubby wear the comfiest/warmest boots and not worry about matching the movie; he did wear Mary's black and white knee-high socks. Lipstick and a beauty mark were added, but as there were also a bunch of kids getting ready at the house we didn't spend much time beyond that for makeup! He did do a grand job of getting into character, always suggesting we form a calming circle... 

And yes, we had to make yabbos; they were plushies my mom made, based on a pattern for fabric masks.

Step 4: Sarah

Amuck! Amuck-amuck-amuck-amuck-amuck-

This costume I rushed through the most and is the least accurate of the bunch. However (just like the others!) it's also impossible to get the most screen "accurate" because of the continuity issues throughout the movie. Sarah's hair isn't the only thing that changes - it's straight, it's curly, there's braids sometimes - but her bodice also changes. If you look at pictures online of the official dress that toured in museum, the one worn in the movie, and the one worn during the musical number scene, they all have different flower patterns...which just means you shouldn't stress over getting it perfect! The same goes for the skirt (which should have one greeny-yellow and one pink panel, but sometimes it's two yellow or two pink! Different costume, different lighting, or conspiracy theory, your choice!)

Pinky-Beige Bodice: I ran out of time and could not finish my initial idea for a bodice - to create and print a patterned fabric and/or embroider it! So I went with a thrifted slightly-embroidered pink tablecloth that I cut up. I used Butterick B4669 as a base for the pattern, but any 'strappy bodice/corset pattern will work.

(And now, one year later, I've created an (untested!) flower-fabric-pattern that hopefully can be of aid to someone. It isn't perfect but hopefully works well enough for you or is a good starting point. I've included both a coloured version and a black and white one. In a future remake, I would be taking the black and white version and copying onto some taffeta - from there I would embroider the pattern)

Maroon Sleeves: I bought a cheap pair of maroon fishnet leggings, snipped the toes off, and cut down the crotch almost all the way to the waistband (keeping the waistband intact). Then I just...pulled it over my head and put my arms through the legs. A little strange way to get a shrug, but *shrug* it worked! It was tempting to rough-up and sandpaper/cheese grate the sleeves, but the rest of the outfit was squeaky-clean; version 2.0 shall have more grunge and tears!

Main Skirt: I'm really not a fan of this, but it was close enough! I had leftover shiny purple and pink fabric, and bought a purple bedsheet, found a sliver of greeny-yellow fabric, and (bah) redid the stupid central red panel three times because I was never happy with the final result. First I made an elastic waistband casing out of some of the purple bedsheet. Then I lined the shiniest side of the purple (to 'dull' down the overall skirt - and to add some warmth!) with the bedsheet, and gathered and stitched this fabric to the waistband. Next I stitched on the red central panel of fabric, and then added the pink panel (left side) and greeny-yellow (right side).

(I guess future-me needs to learn how to WEAVE to get an accurate red fabric panel???)

Bloomers: I bought thrifted light purple fabric and made some poofy elastic-band bloomers, which I then added (leftover Wini's) purple lace to. I made them a bit longer than called for because I have long legs and um have I mentioned we're in Canada?? Where it tends to rain and/or snow in a good chunk of the country during Halloween??

Bag: I made Sarah's bag as a simple drawstring pouch, out of the leftovers from Mary's apron sweater-fabric and purple bedsheets. I didn't have the right coloured fringe but it was a bit of a last minute make so black had to do - I also made it a bit bigger to accommodate my phone, wallet, etc. I drew the bag design on my computer, printed it out, and traced it onto freezer paper; I used this as a stencil.

Necklace: I made Sarah's necklace with all gold and bronze coloured beads, rings and eyepins. If you don't have time or resources to make the necklace, I highly recommend checking out Blooming Magnoila's shop, who makes fantastic reproductions.

Extras: I did have to make a new cloak; I made it match the style of the other preexisting two, so while it wasn't screen accurate, it was very suitable for a cold wet night. I wore a wavy blonde wig pulled from my inventory and modified a pair of old black boots. I wore three preowned rings on my right index-middle-and-ring finger. I did have to buy thigh-high red fishnets (which I was shocked to not find in-store during Halloween!)

also...In a lot of my Sarah photos you might notice some lines of black or weird-fleshy-bits: it's because it was COLD so I also wore some thermal layers underneath her sparse garments and sometimes they peaked through.

Step 5: Billy

Wench! ... Trollop! You buck toothed, mop-riding firefly from hell!

This is the first of hopefully many of Doug-Jones-inspired costumes. Billy was the original costume I was going to wear alongside my sister's Wini, but as Halloween grew closer, more members of the family wanted to join the group, so I pivoted to Sarah so my niece could (also!) be Billy...however, due to the severe lack of children's Billy's costumes and time crunch, my Billy costume was made so it could be worn by myself, or my niece (needing just a few safety pins to make it work for either of us). I first made the entire costume "properly" - nice and neat, with French seams. I then (nervously) started ripping and distressing it, but it turned out to be great fun (with a good payoff). Pattern Simplicity 4923 has a great coat, vest, shirt and pant pattern all as part of it, so it's a good all-for-one pattern collection for this costume.

Coat: I loveee this coat. Love love love. For the pattern I used Simplicity 4923 as the base (but any 'piratey' coat pattern will do) with main modifications to the collar (making a close-fitted-neck standing-style collar). I fully lined the coat, made usable pockets, and used twill tape for all the embellished/'braiding' details. And after making it nice and neat with solid construction didn't have to buy a single button (just had to search my inventory!). Before distressing, there are 8 'braided' lines on each side of the coat opening (with the top line not looping back on itself) that all have a button. Each sleeve cuff has two rows of decorative twill tape along the edges, with three short 'braided' lines running vertically up the sleeve that each end in a button. The collar piece also has a twill tape 'outline'. Now, after distressing, those numbers change a bit. On the left side of the coat (from the top) the second braid is barely attached, and the 7th braid is loose too. There are only four buttons (on the end of the 3rd, 4th, 6th and 8th braid). The sleeve is ripped fully open, and there is only one button left on the sleeve cuff. On the right side of the coat there are also only 4 buttons (on the 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th braid).The sleeve cuff has two buttons. Both of the sleeves have tears in the shoulders. The back seam of the coat tails is torn open. I used a cheese grater, sandpaper, fabric and acrylic paint to age and distressed, plus sewed some black 'cobweb' material to sections.

Vest: You rarely see it, but it's there: Billy has a vest! If you take off the coat it really heightens the costume to have this "nice" matching vest underneath. The pattern set I used for the coat also had a vest, so I used that as the base and made it out of some leftover brown wool. It took me a couple of attempts, but I painted the vest's stripes onto the vest using painters tape as a guide and roughing dabbing down a mix of old fabric paints (if you seriously mess you, you can wash the paint out before you set it with heat. I did this several times because I was first unhappy with the colour then the size of the stripes). Before distressing, there are 12 buttons - after the distressing process I ripped off a few buttons (only 5 left) and did the same aging process (though I should have gone a bit further with it)

Pants: The pants were made from deconstructed fabric from an old monk costume. I made a mock-up first and played with doing a bigger 'front flap' and different button flops. I sewed the pants with French seams before ripping and grunging them up. (His knees show through ripped pant holes - something they didn't do for Hocus Pocus 2!).

Shirt: The shirt was made from old linen, old lace and cheesecloth that I tea-dyed. I also sewed the shirt with French seams before distressing it, including slashing the left arm to show the skin underneath.

Mask: My niece didn't wear a mask/prosthetics, but woo boy was I eager to sculpt (and wear) one! I also finally first hand discovered that Plaster of Paris is not a perfect substitute for UltraCal 30. In a nutshell, I sculpted a plasticine Billy face (and neck) on a copy of my head. After spraying the sculpt with a release agent, I made a mold of the sculpt (I highly recommend using UltraCal 30 for the mold!). I then poured slush liquid latex into the mold. Once dried and pulled I painted the face using a variety of latex and alcohol based paints. I

Rest of "Skin": Instead of making sculpts and molds for the rest of the 'skin' pieces (hands, arms, knees) I instead painted liquid latex onto gloves and tights. I built up wrinkles and veins with hot glue and tissue paper before covering with the latex. The glove I had pre-stretched onto copies of my hands; for my arms I stuffed cut-off tights before latexing them, and the legs I wore while switching between latex and a hairdryer. I think I did 15 thin layers on every pieces. Afterwards I painted everything and added fake fingernails to the gloves.

Extras: Billy's shoes were thrift finds that I added some cheap belt buckles to. The socks were old ones I tea-dyed, and the wig was an old one that I backcombed to death. I was assumed to be a pirate by some folks but that's not much different than what happens in my everyday life. I ended up cutting the neck piece away from the mask as my mold had warped how it lay; in most of these photos the neck is coming off me as the fit isn't right, plus I did the photoshoot on a very oddly hot September day.