I discovered the magical world of Harry Potter soon after the fourth book was released. I jumped on the fan wagon a bit later than the rest of the world. As a mom of three little kids I couldn’t understand the hype among my friends when they raved about this children’s book series about witches and wizards. It certainly wasn’t my “typical” reading material so it took me a while to give it a chance, but once I did I was hooked. I proceeded to binge read my way through the first four books in the series and then suffered withdrawal with the rest of the world as I waited for the release of book # 5.
When the release date was announced I found myself counting down the days until I could get my hands on the next book and find out what was happening to my Hogwarts friends. When our local Barnes and Noble announced a midnight release of the newest book you can bet I was planning on being there to get my copy. Grace went with me and it was a fun adventure for the two of us. We felt as though we were getting away with some sort of mischief as we snuck away to the bookstore late at night. When we arrived the atmosphere was celebratory as fans arrived dressed as their favorite characters, discussing the possibilities of what twists and turns the next book could hold.
It was the literary equivalent of Super bowl tailgating and the energy was intoxicating. The store was decorated and offered Harry Potter crafts and activities to occupy the masses as we counted down the minutes to midnight. The experience was so much fun that it became a yearly tradition to attend the midnight release of the newest Harry Potter book. In the years that followed Molly and Rusty joined us too and then we would arrive home at 1:00 am, I would tuck in my tired little ones, and then sit up most of the night reading, unable to wait a minute longer to satiate my literary addiction.
It was a sad day when the final Harry Potter book was released. I brought it home with a mix of emotions…eager to find out how the story ends but not wanting the journey to be over. The summer tradition of midnight release parties and reading Harry poolside had come to a close,
or so we thought.
Then I found out about this:
We put the release date on the calendar with plans to attend its midnight release at Barnes and Noble. Grace was eager to share this special experience with Tyler and Ozzie who were not part of our lives when this was a summer tradition. We made plans to attend the midnight release at the Boardman Barnes and Noble and meet up with the Hudaks.
After a busy Saturday (more on that in my next post) we came home and laid down for naps before our midnight adventure. We left the house at 9:30 pm and even having taken naps Tyler ended up falling asleep on the drive there. It was a struggle to wake him up when we arrived but we convinced him to climb out of the car, and boy is he glad he did.
This Barnes and Noble went above and beyond any experience we had previously had at a Harry Potter midnight release party.
The attention to detail was amazing. Kudos to the workers that created the magic!
The store was packed with Harry Potter fans.
The first stop was the registration desk where we reserved our copy of the book and were given a colored/numbered wristband that determined the order we would be called up to the check-out at midnight.
We found our friends right away and the kids got in line to be sorted by the sorting hat.
The hat was placed on their head and then an employee asked them a series of scenario questions. Their answers determined what house they were sorted into. Grace and Ozzie were both Ravenclaw.
Ozzie feeling the pressure:
Around the store there were activities to enjoy. They had wand making, face painting, and coloring pages for the kids.
On one of the worksheets the kids could draw what they think their patronus would look like. This is Tyler’s patronus. His patronus is a dog. 🙂
The decorations around the store were incredible. It was fun to just walk around and look.
Even the bathroom had magical touches!
There were many photo opportunities as well:
Here Ozzie is modeling one of the free invisibility cloaks they were giving away. Doesn’t he look excited?
We splurged and got in line at the Leaky Caldron for a Butterbeer to share.
Then it was midnight.
It sounded like the New Year’s Eve countdown in Time Square as the crowds shouted:
We waited for our colored wristband to be called up while we relaxed in the children’s section and colored Harry Potter coloring pages.
It wasn’t too long before they had efficiently worked their way through the crowds of people and the last few fans, us included, left the store with the newest Harry adventure in hand.
I did not go home and binge read it this time. I am exercising willpower and trying to resist picking it up. I told Toby I would save it for our roadtrip and would read out loud to him as we drive. We will see if I can hold out that long!