Thursday, August 29, 2013

Harry Potter Celebration

This past week has been all about the bit Harry Potter Celebration! I was part of a winning team for a contest Scholastic held to commemorate 15 years since Harry Potter was first published. (Read about my excitement here!)

Erin and I have been working really hard to put this thing together. Tuesday was the big day and to our amazement everything came together perfectly. It was so much work and I was exhausted by the end of the day, however we both agreed that it was worth it and it made us love our jobs!

Now for your enjoyment, here is what we did throughout the entire celebration.

In an effort to hype it up I made a bulletin board display. I used some white oak tag and made a giant ticket to the Hogwarts Express. I drew the designs on the ticket with a brown sharpie and used my trusty silhouette machine to cut out the letters. To announce the program I made a proclamation board listing the program information. Above these items it says "Get Your Ticket to Hogwarts"

The display also features some of the contests we have going on, Book cover design contest and the Horcrux Hunt.

I came across the Horcrux Hunt on pinterest. It reminded me of our Where's Waldo contest that was quite a hit. I also thought it was a genius idea and tied into the series quite well. If you are in the midst of reading Harry Potter and not familiar with Horcruxes this may help. (Warning potential spoilers) So I printed out pictures of each of the notorious artifacts that became horcruxes and I hid them around the room. I made some entry forms and sent the kids on a scavenger hunt. Its a lot of fun to watch kids walk around the room trying to find them while I tease them with hints.

As a part of the 15 year anniversary Scholastic has re-issued the books with new cover art. I thought kids would also want to put their own spin on cover art. We made up a blank template and let kids make their own covers. Each submission is going into a raffle to win a copy of the book.

They had to enter via Platform 9 3/4
So we had the promotional stuff done, we needed to figure out the specifics of the program. Luckily our winning essay had it all mapped out but we just needed to iron out the details. Since we wanted to keep a maximum amount of kids entertained at the same time, we decided that we would 'sort' them into houses upon check in. Margaret was really awesome doing this job because she made lots of funny little jokes just like the real sorting hat! Then the kids stayed with their houses and then were sent to a station and they were able to mingle throughout the program. The stations we came up with were:

Honeydukes (food fun time)
Hogwarts a History
Movie Magic

Honeydukes was all about the food. A program with this much activity, needed sugar! The kids were given butterbeer, cupcakes, gummy frogs and Erin worked really hard making some fizzing whizbees. To add some fun to it we also divided up some of the Bertie Bots Every Flavor beans and kids did a blind taste test and had to figure out what flavor they were eating. I was told soap was very popular.

In the background, you can see some of the book covers the kids designed!

Olivander's is the place where every Hogwarts student gets their wand. I thought it appropriate to name our own wand craft station after the shop. This wants were really simple to make. Kids were given a chop stick and covered it in duct tape. Air dry clay was also available so kids could add some embellishments to their wands. We also used a tiny bit of glitter to make it more magical.

For the divination station the kids made fortune tellers to predict the future! These are the same fortune teller you probably made in middle school to try to figure out which classmates had crushes on each other.

Hogwarts a History was the station that I was in charge of. It was all about Harry Potter trivia. Most of the questions were from my ol' noggin, but when I wasn't sure what to ask I used the book of Harry Potter Trifles, Trivia and Particularities. I stumped the kids a few times, but most of them were experts!

I have tons of PVC pipe in my garage so I put it to good use. I made a hoop and the kids got to play a little quidditch, the favorite sport of wizards everywhere. I brought in my broom and kids had to 'ride' it while hurling a ball at the hoop. It took quite a beating.

Over the summer a motion picture museum did a few programs. When they noticed our advertisements for the celebration, they offered their services. They brought a green screen, and kids got to pretend they were flying around in a quidditch match. I had a lot of fun with this myself.

While kids were mingling from station to station, the room was decorated to the max! We hung starry gossamer and hung stars from the ceiling. We also found some pretty cool posters hung those around to (thanks internet!) To add more ambiance, we decorated each table with some potion bottles. (here's a tutorial)

There also some great photo opps, I made a frame modeled after Sirius Black's notorious wanted poster. Kids were able to make to stick there own faces in it! That was a fun hit, because a lot of staff members made use of it. We were also lucky to borrow some other items for great photo opportunities. A few years back, the local high school had a Potter themed prom (I was so jealous!) so we were able to borrow some of the pieces to decorate the building.

Towards the end of the program, all of the kids took their name tags and put them into a cauldron and we drew some prizes. On their way out, each kid was given a copy of the book.

It was so amazingly fun and I'm still excited that we were one of the 15 libraries chosen. I couldn't have done it with out Erin and all of the other staff there to help. Seeing all of those happy faces and the kids just as excited as me makes me so happy that this is my job. Harry Potter has a very special place in my heart, not just because its awesome fantasy nerdness. When the books came out, I wasn't the greatest student and I hated to read. After goofing on someone for reading it, they replied, don't knock it until you try it. I did and I have been reading every since. Those books made reading magical.

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