A reflection on the Harry Potter phenomenon

In the teen library world so many programs have revolved around Harry Potter. At my former library our Harry Potter Release Programs were some of our most popular and well attended teen events ever. We celebrated the release of the HP books and movies.

Now the books are finished and the final two movies are to be released this fall and next summer. (You can watch the trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 1 online.) The pressure is on to create two fabulous final “Harry Potter Movie Release Programs” for teens at the library. If you have never hosted a Harry Potter program, now is the time. I encourage you to harness the Potter excitement as the phenomenon draws to a close.

My recommendation is to start planning now. If you don’t have time for a very involved program, consider a passive program or display. There are great programming ideas and suggestions on the YA-YAAC email list archives and on the internet in general.

After the final movies, I fear these programs will become “Remember Harry Potter?” programs. If you start now, you too can re-read and encourage your teens to re-read all the books before the November 18th movie release date of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Volume 1.

Program Ideas Brainstorm:

Download and use the free Harry Potter font (I used fontface.com but there are other websites that have it.)

Use PowerPoint and create a Harry Potter Jeopardy game

Play Harry Potter charades

Create a “Name that Spell” game – give various scenarios and ask which spell to use

Live Action Harry Potter Board Game: Create a giant board game on the floor and giant dice, divide participants into Houses/Teams, and have players answer trivia questions to move forward

Host a Harry Potter spelling bee

Host a movie marathon (Be sure to obtain the movie licensing to show the films at the library.)

Dress up: Have teens come in character, have a costume contest, encourage library staff to dress up too (could go well with Halloween)

Go all out and decorate the Teen Area or Programming Room. Create Hogwarts House banners for each wall with house colors. Commandeer a display case, gather a collection of baby food and mason jars (and any other cool looking containers), fill them with random items and name them weird things like: lizards’ tails, dragon’s blood, frog eyes, etc.

Harry Potter Crafts: create a snitch, wand or licorice wands (edible), create slime, make/decorate a broom, etc.

Writing – Have participants: write alternate endings to the series, add details on to the story, create a short story set in the Harry Potter world, or create themed poetry (can use this as an opportunity to talk about Fan Lit)

Start a Harry Potter teen book club and discussion group

Food – Use your imagination to create and serve: Cauldron Cakes (cupcakes with neon green icing, molten lava cake with neon colored filling, etc.), Pumpkin Juice (Tang), Butter Beer (Apple Cider or Root Beer), etc.

Passive Program Ideas: Create handouts for teens to complete, award cheap silly prizes or candy bars for teens who participate. Handouts can be – Harry Potter Trivia Questions, Matching (like which characters go with what house or characters with their animals, etc.), what different spells do, etc.

These are just a few ideas. The Harry Potter series may not be endless, but your options for celebrating it are!

Post written by Angela Germany

3 thoughts on “A reflection on the Harry Potter phenomenon”

  1. Many of our Harry Potter programs have been the best that we have had. For the last book we had a brunch. I had my teens help plan the program. They set up a wiki, made lists, and found recipes and games. The program itself was for children, but the teens enjoyed it just as much. They baked and wore costumes. It was a memorable experience for all involved.

    Here are some easy program ideas:

    1. Potions class — Have the teens make their own cool drinks. Our favorite is simply mixing Sprite with fancy juices

    2. Have your teens make up their own “If you like Harry Potter …” lists.

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