What It's Like to Go to Hogwarts for a Day

October 25th, 2018 is the day I got my Hogwarts letter.

Two of my friends, Sarah and Kaylee, invited me to go to a Harry Potter-themed Halloween event at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. It was going to be an hour and forty-five-minute drive to Fayetteville, but the event advertised Quidditch pong, trivia, scavenger hunts, butterbeer, and free invisibility cloaks. All of us are huge Harry Potter fans, so this basically sounded like a dream come true.

When we arrived at the garden center, the glass doors were covered with signs indicating we were entering to Platform 9 ¾. The main room had an ATM with a Gringott’s sign, a small replica of the Hogwarts Express, and a drink table with butterbeer (aka root beer and whipped cream).

We were given a map and golf pencil so we could wander the grounds of “Hogwarts” and complete a Horcrux scavenger hunt. The first place we went to was, obviously, the Great Hall. The décor was reminiscent of the scene in The Sorcerer’s Stone when Quirrell runs in and warns everyone about the troll in the dungeon. There were floating candles and jack-o-lanterns, and four tables for the four houses. The head table displayed the house points hourglasses and the Tri-Wizard Cup. There was also a photobooth, and we got our very own Azkaban mug shot! We picked up our invisibility cloaks, too...

 

After our trip to the Great Hall, we wandered to the Common Room. The band The Blibbering Humdingers was playing a lively song about Hufflepuffs, and fellow first-years were enjoying intense games of Quidditch pong.

Then, we went out to the Forbidden Forest and saw James and Lily’s patronuses grazing by the Black Lake. We followed the spiders and found Aragog hiding deep in the forest, and we even braved the dementors of Azkaban.

As the night went on, we saw lots of people dressed up in their Hogwarts best: some people dressed as generic Hogwarts students, and others cosplayed as their favorite characters. The winner of the costume contest was a very gruff looking Umbridge, who—of course—got booed by every Hogwarts student who’s ever had to join her for detention.

Spending time with two of my sorority sisters and other people who love Harry Potter as much as we do made for an awesome, magical night. Hopefully, this will become an annual event. Or, maybe, Airlie Gardens will throw their own Harry Potter event for fans of the books and movies to attend. Perhaps it could be called A Very Harry Christmas?

 

Mischief Managed.

 

[Gifs courtesy of giphy.com. Photos courtesy of Rachel Cash.]