The Year of “Harry Potter” Celebration
Harry walked more quickly. He was going to smash right into that barrier and then he’d be in trouble – leaning forward on his cart, he broke into a heavy run – the barrier was coming nearer and nearer – he wouldn’t be able to stop – the cart was out of control – he was a foot away – he closed his eyes ready for the crash” (Sorcerer’s Stone 93).
No, but really. Anianne and Caitlyn had strung up curtains, stamped with bricks, in front of Anianne’s front door so that all the guests could recreate Harry’s anxiety-ridden run toward the very real, very firm Platform 9¾ entrance before stepping into the fully immersive Year of Harry Potter Celebration.
The decorations were crazy on-point. Candles floated from the ceiling, as did the winged keys from Sorcerer’s Stone, leading toward the “Great Hall,” a.k.a the kitchen nook, its every square inch covered in goodies like Cauldron Cakes, Hagrid’s rock cakes, and the whole assorted lot of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. The girls had been planning the menu for months ahead of time, and my word, it lived up to all expectations. (I actually spat out the two-sided Fever Fudge, it was so startlingly spicy. Caitlyn evilly laughed and explained that she had dumped an indiscriminate amount of cayenne pepper for the “fever” side.)
In the living room was the Honeydukes table, right next to a table full of Chocolate Frogs, House and (astoundingly detailed) Sorting Hat cupcakes, House rings, and cut-outs of the Quibbler. Quidditch goal hoops were staggered at the end of that table, separating the noms area from the movie marathon watching area. Anianne’s fireplace was transformed into Sirius’s firecall from Goblet of Fire, as well as the anchor for all of Harry’s acceptance letters streaming up to the ceiling.
Anianne’s foyer was photoshoot central. One entire wall was taken up by a hand-painted Hogwarts Castle and Black Lake (painstakingly rendered by her older brother Greg), bookended on one side by a Whomping Willow made out of butcher paper and a lifesize cut-out of Snape and the trio, circa Deathly Hallows, on the other side. Thick, cardboard photo props sat pretty under a mirror that was plastered with ominous Daily Prophet headlines and a group photo of the first generation of the Order of the Phoenix.
The Year of Harry Potter Celebration was split up into four events: 1) an ongoing marathon of all eight movies, extended versions and all, from 10 a.m. on Saturday morning until early evening the next day. 2) incredibly difficult Potter Jeopardy, comprised of book and Pottermore trivia, of which the winner would be prized with a homemade Hogwarts House plaque. 3) a tour of Anianne’s completely Potterfied bedroom. 4) T-shirt making, with spray paint and decals.
All the guests came dressed to the Potter-nines. Of honorary mention were Anianne’s accurate-to-the-tiniest-detail Gryffindor robes and uniform, Caitlyn’s Slytherin Quidditch uniform and homemade broomstick, Alex’s Barty Crouch, Jr. costume, and Dani’s tailored-to-exact-measurements vampy Bellatrix dress, complete with cornstarch in her hair. Those costumes quickly gave way to themed sweats and pajamas after obligatory photos were taken of everyone in their Potter regalia.
Once everyone got comfortably settled down in front of the television, amidst Hogwarts-House and trio-themed pillows, and Chad’s burritos were inhaled, the movie marathon portion of the Celebration hit its stride. They knocked out the first five movies, sticking to the anticipated time schedule, even when we took a detour to find the scandalous footprints on the Marauder’s Map during the end credits of Prisoner of Azkaban. Camaraderie was quickly established as yours truly forgot about my filter and loudly proclaimed my opinions about each scene of the movies. With perfect timing, everyone slid into the expected sugar coma by the end scene of Order of the Phoenix, and we all called it a night. The next morning, everyone woke up bright and early for pancakes, T-shirt making (in which everyone quickly discovered that those with graphic designing skills and naturally crafty inclinations were much better at the T-shirt making than the others), and the last four movies.
As the Celebration came to a close, Anianne and Caitlyn could excitedly be overheard already planning for next year’s festivities.
For the full album of pictures from the event, click here. Photo credits to Justine Lee, Anianne Rivera, Greg Rivera, and Caitlyn Sandquist.
What were some of the highlights from the other Potter celebrations or parties you’ve been to, readers?