Fall 2013 OYAN Review: Harry Potter Party

by K’Lyn Hann, Newberg Public Library

HP1I was challenged by the 500 words or less entry for Scholastic’s Harry Potter Celebration contest.  So, armed with too many ideas I hadn’t yet tried and the liberal use of incomplete sentences, hyphens, and abbreviations, I managed to trim my entry to 497 words.  It worked.  I was one of 15 national winners!  We didn’t get to pair this with our Children’s Room remodel celebration because I was not allowed more than 5 days wiggle room on the date of the event, but here’s the gist of what we did, give or take a bit: In a tandem celebration of our Children’s Room remodel and the 15th Anniversary of Harry Potter in the U.S., we are planning to have a grand celebration where anyone can earn their O.W.L.s. Our staff and Harry Potter youth-now grown-up will host en costumes as a variety of characters.


Astronomy: Make pin-point hole constellations in paper cup bottoms for projection with flashlights.
Care of Magical Creatures: De-Gnome the Weasley’s garden by tossing as many sock-gnomes out as you can in a given time. And/or decorate and name your own paper finger-puppet dragon.
Potions: Kool-Aid powders & various sugars in small bowls with measuring spoons, small cups, and dissolving solution (water) which will double as beverages. A color key will designate certain successful potions.
Muggle Studies: Reach inside the box and guess what the muggle tools are without peeking.
Charms: Create and chant some cheering charms for the Quidditch matches.
Defense Against the Dark Arts: Red Light/Green Light in Latin (Sistěre/Vaděre).
Herbology: In 2 teams while blind-folded, instead of ear-muffed, students will transplant silent 
mandrakes from small pots to larger ones.
History of Magic: 
Students must sit without moving or making a sound while listening to our Prof. Binns (local drama teen) monotone on and on for 5 min.
Divination: Tea readings, Magic 8-ball answers, etc. from our own Madame Trelawney.
Transfiguration: Turn ordinary red paper into Howlers via origami.


Whomping Willow: Tree made of 3-6 kids standing with their backs towards one another, blind-folded, and holding large, round pounding balloons. Others must rescue the toy cars from the “trunk” (between legs) without getting hit. Or while enduring the pummeling.
Library Quidditch: Between 2 rows of animal balloon beaters, 2 players must maneuver on 
broomsticks from one end to the other balancing a snitch on their wands (black-painted wooden spoons).
Trips to Honeydukes: Chocolate frogs (gummy frogs dipped in chocolate), Butter Beer, etc. Guessing how many Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans to win the jar. Cauldron Cake Walk for cupcakes.
Mirror of Erised: Use a mirror to read backwards fortunes.
Portkey Rides: Elevator with a rather displaced and unhappy Moaning Myrtle.
Horcrux Hunt: Find the horcruxes. Timed efforts in teams who then get to hide them for the next team.

Extreme trivia, anagrams, House Sorting, S.P.E.W. buttons, dark mark & lightning bolt temporary tattoos, Potter House homage wall for writing, etc. Maybe a nargle maker-space. Maybe some teen death-eater masks. Decorations/costumes will include a mobile screaming painting of Sirius Black’s mother, a mobile Howler (red foam envelope on glasses that opens for hollering), an upcycled packing paper sculpture of a Basilisk done by a local artist, and more! We’ll have a Colin Creevey taking photos, and a Rita Skeeter to write one version of the event.

Promotions will go out via all the normal channels:  flyers in-house, at schools, and at local businesses; press release and coverage; social media; email lists; webpage. And the word-of-mouth anticipation from our prior huge H.P. programs!

The Harry Potter Party’s outcome-based evaluations:

  • One of our volunteers brought her son and his young friend to the Harry Potter event. Her son was given a “reading” by Prof. Trelawney; to wit, that the “Olympics” may be in his future, which ju st happened to coincide with his deepest dream (unknown to the Professor). He didn’t stop talking about this all evening, according to his mom. His friend, who is autistic, said HP was the best night of his life!
  • When invited, a librarian from another community was thrilled to join us as a volunteer professor.  And from the other side of the globe, her 20-something Australian host “daughter” who had yet to arrive in the US began planning her costume.  After arriving at our event, Lauren said all her friends in Australia were incredibly jealous!
  • More than one person approached me at our event because they wanted their picture taken with Narcissa Malfoy to post!  Too fun!
  • Another family commented to a staff member that they were new to the community.  This event was their first trip to the library, and they were thrilled to have made so many friends while they enjoyed all the fun!