“Hocus Pocus” begins with a flashback to the year 1693, when the witches known as the Sanderson sisters brazenly kidnap a young girl, Emily Binx, to steal her youthful vitality. Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) have at some point made a deal with the devil for their book of occult spells. They live in a house in the woods filled to the brim with classic witch accessories like a giant cauldron, multiple candelabras, and a chimney constantly spewing purple smoke. It makes you wonder: How did they make it so far escaping the notice of the witch-wary Salem townsfolk?
Granted, their various powers might help them conceal themselves, and they’re not exactly living on Main Street. Plus, the dialogue suggests they haven’t been witches all that long at the time of the flashback; Emily seems to be the first child they’ve taken (“It’s a start,” Winifred says at one point, with a menacing promise to abduct many more). Still, as we learn throughout the rest of the film, the Sanderson sisters aren’t particularly stealthy, subtle, or even all that competent at witchcraft. How they made it far enough to successfully lure a child into the woods (in full view of her older brother), we’re not sure.