Bette Midler on Upcoming Hocus Pocus Reunion: 'We Just Fell Into the Characters Immediately'
It isn't Halloween without some Hocus Pocus magic!
With the pandemic changing everyone's plans for the holiday, Bette Midler has orchestrated a reunion with her Sanderson sisters, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, to bring some spooky cheer to fans of the Disney cult classic. The Oct. 30 virtual event, titled In Search of the Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover, will benefit the New York Restoration Project and will raise funds for their work in environmental and social justice. Midler founded the group in 1995.
"This is our 25th anniversary, and one of the main things we wanted to do was bring awareness to the organization and to inspire others across the country to do something similar to the model that we've established," Midler tells PEOPLE. "And Hocus Pocus, it's 27 years since we did Hocus Pocus, and that picture just gets more and more fans every single year, so we thought the marrying of the 25th anniversary and Hocus Pocus was a good idea because we have so many Hocus Pocus fans and they are not aware of this environmental work that we're so caught up in."
Ahead of the fundraiser, fans can shop online for a selection of merchandise and treats inspired by Hocus Pocus, including tote bags, T-shirts and a "dead man's toe" scented candle.
Virtual tickets for the 2020 Hulaween event cost $10 and are available now, with proceeds going to benefit the NYRP's "dedication to creating more green space for underserved communities to grow their own food, connect, and access safe spaces directly in their neighborhood."
"People always feel like, 'Oh, those galas are not for me because I can't afford the entrance fee.' Well, this is one that you absolutely can afford, and we have been really working very, very hard to make it a piece of entertainment, not just a Hollywood Squares Zoom call," says Midler, 74. "It's almost like a little film that we've created and we've put a lot of work into it."
On Sunday, Midler shared a first look photo from the upcoming reunion with Parker and Najimy. In the photo, the trio is all smiles while standing side-by-side on a blue screen set, dressed in their iconic witches costumes from the 1993 family classic.
"Your 3 fav witches - @sarahjessicaparker @kathynajimy & ME - are returning for 1 night only on 10/30 at 8p ET! 'In Search of the Sanderson Sisters' is the best thing to happen to #Halloween since Hocus Pocus + Reeses Pieces. Get your tix now (link in bio) and support @NYRP #nyrphulaween," Midler captioned the post.
"The thing that was so funny was that once we were all in costume, in our hair and makeup, we sort of fell into our same roles, even from 27 years ago," Midler says. "I think that the experience of playing those characters was so indelible to each one of us that it was as if no time had passed at all. We just fell into the characters immediately. Sarah was her usual bouncy self and Kathy was going around with her funny mouth and the horn on her head. And of course, I've been doing the voice of that character in and out of my life for many, many years. She's almost like a second ... an alter ego to me. So, it was just so strange and wonderful to be there again, as if no time had passed at all."
Last year, Disney announced that a sequel to Hocus Pocus was in the works. In the original film, Midler, Parker and Najimy play sister witches who, after being accidentally resurrected on Halloween, set out to suck the life out of a town of children to undo the curse that sent them away 300 years earlier.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight back in September, Midler said that she would "absolutely" be up for reprising her iconic role as Winifred Sanderson in the follow-up film, adding, "I can't wait to fly!"
Midler then added that "we're just talking logistics," as the studio hasn't officially confirmed the original stars' involvement in the movie.
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