The 'Hocus Pocus 2' Costume Designer Shares How to Get the Looks for Halloween — the Lazy Way

Salvador Perez Jr. created iconic ensembles for this hit Disney sequel. Now, he's sharing his process with InStyle, along with tips for cosplaying this Oct. 31.

Hocus Pocus 2

Matt Kennedy/Disney

When costume designer Salvador Perez Jr. learned he'd been hired to work on Hocus Pocus 2, he understandably went through a "rollercoaster of emotions."

“First, it was like, 'Oh my God, I would love to design this!'" he tells InStyle over Zoom. "Then, when they hired me I was like, 'Oh my God, I got the job!' And then I was like, 'Oh my God, I got the job.'"

The pressure was on to create looks that were just as magical as those from the original film. However, the pro — who has created looks for Never Have I Ever, Pitch Perfect, and The Mindy Project, among others — knew just where to begin. Before making any movies, Perez Jr. spoke with Mary Vogt, the woman who created the iconic costumes for the first Hocus Pocus.

“We talked about her design process and where her thoughts came from, and she sort of gave me her blessing," Perez Jr. says, noting that Vogt was ready for someone else to bring fresh ideas to the table. "Once I had that from Mary, I just sort of went into it."

Hocus Pocus 2

Matt Kennedy/Disney

Of course, when dressing the Sanderson Sisters, it was more about tweaking the details, rather than fully revamping their outfits.

"The studio edict was like, 'Look, the costumes are iconic, you can't change the essence of them, but modernize them. Give them a refreshing,'" Perez tells us. "We couldn't change the color, because the colors are so iconic, and then when we tried to change the silhouettes, it didn't feel authentic to me."

Instead, he focused on the symbols that were featured in the original designs.

“The pattern was sort of printed on the velvet for Winnie, and I thought, ‘Well, in the 1650s, they would've had it embroidered. So, how about let's embroider the pattern?’ And the symbols were sort of made-up symbols that didn't have any real meaning to them, and I thought, ‘Well, they should all have a Wiccan symbolism about the three moons, the three goddesses, a coven.’ I made up a sort of Wiccan symbolism that I put on Winnie's coat, which I actually also put on The Witch Mother's costume, as if like these are the Wiccan symbols on all witches.”

Hocus Pocus
EXCLUSIVE: A photo of the illustration for Sarah's costume.


There were also a few modern updates given to the dress worn by Sarah, played by Sarah Jessica Parker.

“Her sleeves got a refresh because the mesh sleeves were very '90s. Which made sense — if I was designing something in the 1990s, I would've totally done that. But what would be something that could have been in the 1650s? Even with Mary — the little rings on her corset were just these little filigree florals and I wanted them to have more of a Wiccan symbolism. So in a Wiccan language, sigils, we did fire, water, earth, and air — the four elements of witch alchemy. So I just wanted the costumes to have a bit of a backstory.”

Perez says that historical accuracy is one of the main differences when designing for a film like this, versus all the modern-day projects he works on. He even considered which colors would be available during the Sanderson Sisters' youth.

"You could've gotten purple, but you probably would've used berries," he explains. "I was like, ‘The colors had to have been brought from nature, so they weren't very vibrant.'"

Hocus Pocus 2

Matt Kennedy/Disney

One costume Perez did get to truly play around with was The Witch Mother.

"We wanted her to sort of be this gossamer, elegant beauty. The note from the director was like, ‘She's not creepy and scary, she's gorgeous. She's beautiful, glamorous.’ So, we had a little fun with that," he says. The result ended up being a callback to the first Hocus Pocus, although Perez swears it was a happy accident. "It was supposed to be inspired by the red-winged raven, and it's funny because everybody equates the costume to little Dani. That was not intentional. That was literally a cosmic design choice after we put all the elements together."

Hocus Pocus 2

Matt Kennedy/Disney

On the flip side, Perez did aim to channel the Sanderson Sisters when dressing the three teens from the movie, Becca, Izzy, and Cassie. However, since there were scenes where everyone would be seen together together, he had to do it in a way that wouldn't be too obvious.

"We tried to do a very, very subtle version of their color combinations," says Perez. "Then, I took it a step further when I was doing that final outfit for Cassie, because it was supposed to be pajamas. We found that tie-dye shirt. I'm like, ‘Oh my God, it's so Max — ooh, let's play with that.’ And then I thought, ‘Well, she needs a layer because [the scene] is going to be stunted and it's going to be cold.’ So, we found that cardigan, and I'm like, ‘It's literally an Allison and Max combo to make Cassie.’ That was fun."

Hocus Pocus 2

Matt Kennedy/Disney

That's essentially the same approach you can take if you're hoping to channel the movie for Halloween. Perez tells us that while elaborate costumes are nice, you can also just use whatever you have lying around in your house — including a Swiffer WetJet, which is the perfect addition to any Hocus Pocus 2 look.

“In doing the research, we saw all the cosplayers do versions of [the costumes], and yes, there are those that do try to be very authentic. But then there are those who are just inspired by," he explains. "What do you have at home that's in the colors? Do you have a plaid shirt that you can wrap around your waist for Mary? Do you have a pink cardigan for Sarah? Do you have a green jacket? Just use the colors. And the ultimate accessory is a Swiffer WetJet. You probably already have it at home — it's Sarah's modern flying apparatus, and it also coordinates with the costume so beautifully. But I just love using what you have at home.”

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