Performers dressed as the villainous Sanderson Sisters pose for a selfie.

D23 Members Put a Spell on Salem at the D23 Black Flame Ball

By Peyton Liebler

When Max Denison lit the fabled Black Flame Candle 30 years ago, no one could have ever imagined the impact this “terror-ific” tale would make on Halloween for generations of fans around the world. Hocus Pocusintroduced us to the most colorful cast of characters, including a talkative black cat, a zanily zoetic zombie, and the most hilarious coven of witches the city of Salem has ever known.

After inadvertently bringing the villainous Sanderson Sisters back from the grave, Max, his new friend Allison, and his younger sister Dani thwarted the witches—saving the city of Salem from their albeit fabulous wrath. Marking a momentous milestone, D23 Members mounted brooms, mops, and vacuums to “spell-ebrate” 30 years of Hocus Pocus at the D23 Black Flame Ball in Salem, Massachusetts on October 7!

Hosted at Salem’s historic Hawthorne Hotel, D23 Members started their day with a wondrous check-in experience where they received their event credentials and a gift bag full of treasured curiosities to mark this special occasion. Included was a reusable tote bag, a D23 Black Flame Ball thermal drink tumbler, Hocus Pocus: The Official Cookbook, D23 Halloween magnets and buttons, and an event exclusive variant D23 pin modeled after Billy Butcherson’s tombstone. D23 Gold Members who did not get a chance to spell-ebrate at the Black Flame Ball should keep their eyes peeled for the D23 Gold Member shopDisney exclusive edition of this same Hocus Pocus 30th Anniversary pin, featured in a different color—on sale soon!

After check-in, D23 Members were offered a complimentary walking tour of Salem, hosted by the incredible Black Cat Tours! This comprehensive journey through Salem showcases the long and remarkable history of this incredible city—including filming locations from Hocus Pocus!

After our guests enjoyed “running amuck,” the main attraction of the evening was at hand—the D23 Black Flame Ball! Reminiscent of the iconic Halloween party from Hocus Pocus, D23 Members delighted in lighting the Black Flame Candle (and a few even dressed as the iconic item) for an evening unlike any other. With live music from band, Atlantic Shake, all in attendance danced into the night while enjoying refreshments and snacks inspired by the film. Fans could also take a break from the dance floor and enjoy the film upstairs, along with a bewitching photo opportunity to showcase their marvelous costumes.

(Photography by: Lucas Sena and Nathaniel H. Lopez)

Of course, as any expert in magic knows, when you light the Black Flame Candle, you’ll have to be prepared to deal with the most chaotic of consequences. And who better to crash this candlelit costumed confab than the Sanderson Sisters themselves! Just as dazzling as they are dastardly, performers magically appeared as the iconic trio of witches from Hocus Pocus. They serenaded (and potentially hexed) D23 Members with enchanted musical numbers from the film such as “I Put a Spell on You” and Sarah Sanderson’s alluring song, while also interpreting some fan-favorite Disney Villain anthems with a spellbindingly-Sanderson spin! 

(Photography by: Lucas Sena and Nathaniel H. Lopez)

After D23’s visit to Salem in 2022 to mark the release of Hocus Pocus 2, this was the most incredible return one could ever hope for. Hocus Pocus has become a cultural touchstone and a treasured Halloween classic that brings the magic of this bewitched season to life in ways uniquely its own. To bring such an iconic part of this story back to life—in the very town the film is set in— was an absolute pleasure and an incredible way to commemorate 30 years of spells, songs, and Sandersons! It would not be possible, were it not for the incredible fans and members of D23, who welcomed this beloved film into their hearts and have spent the past three decades sharing it with their own families and friends. And a special thanks to the city of Salem, for again hosting our spellbinding celebration!

You too can spell-ebrate the season with us by watching Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2 on Disney+, along with even more Halloween Classics available to stream now! Now it’s time for us to say bye-byeeeee!