All Halloween-obsessed parents are going to introduce their kids to the Sanderson sisters eventually. But is Hocus Pocus appropriate for kids under 10? It's one of the best Halloween movies of all time so, of course you'll be watching. The only question is whether some of the more ~adult~ themes in the classic flick are still kid-friendly.
Hocus Pocus is rated PG, which means that kids under 17 should be able to watch it with their parents. According to FilmRatings.com, the movie earned the PG rating because of "some scary sequences, and for language." Of course, all children are different and no one can decide what is appropriate for your children to watch other than you, but I'm fairly certain it's safe to assume it's too scary for kids under the age of five — Winnie Sanderson is not for the faint of heart. In case you've forgotten some of the more mature moments in Hocus Pocus, let me refresh your memory.
The movie takes viewers to Salem, MA where a trio of witch sisters — Winifred (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy) — were executed in the 17th century. Three hundred years later, a group of kids accidentally resurrects the evil sisters and hijinks ensue. The witches' primary aim to is to eat the souls of children and thus become immortal, but with the help of a talking cat the three youngsters manage to stop the Sandersons from fulfilling their goal and save the world (or at least the town of Salem).
Hocus Pocus definitely gets a little bit morbid, but overall it's about a group of kids that get into trouble and find a way out of it. All's well that ends well, right? There are some intense scenes in which the witches appear to be on the point of murdering the children, an actual hanging, jump scares, as well as a surprisingly affable zombie constantly in search of his missing head. Additionally, some of the language in the movie might be a little mature for little ones, including repeated references to main character Max's virginity as well as Parker's highly suggestive flirtations throughout. These references are likely to go completely over little kids' heads, but the scary moments could get a little intense.
On its list of "Scary But Not Too Scary" Halloween movies, Common Sense Media says the film is appropriate for kids ages 10+. The Hollywood Reporter calls the movie "rather dark for a Disney-produced children's flick," but it's on their list of 18 kid-friendly Halloween movies that are good for families.
The sweet spot (pun-intended) seems to be somewhere in the pre-teen ages. But like I said, no one can decide if your kids can handle the film other than you and your family. Online comments and reviews of the film from strangers are not going to give you the right answer for your kids.
Even if your kids aren't ready for Hocus Pocus this year, the good news is it's a classic. It will be there for your kids to watch next year, or the year after that. So, if you want to curl up with Hocus Pocus and some Halloween candy after putting them to bed, have no shame. That sounds like a happy Halloween to me.