It is nearly time. I can feel the excitement building with customers, with staff and the local press. The eighth story in the Harry Potter series releases at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday. Special orders are being taken at a dizzying pace, kids are asking if they can come in costume (big YES, to that), parents are figuring out who will be the designated attendee at a party that starts at 11 p.m. Books this big are a boon in so many ways to independent bookstores. We know it was the indies who really launched the Harry Potter series, and we hope to be the ones customers come back to for The Cursed Child.
Nine years after the last book came out, we are poised to do it all again. Yes, now I go to bed earlier, so staying up and working until one in the morning feels daunting, but it’s going to be so much fun. Scholastic has provided all of us with great tools for making this party a huge success, from reproducible trivia, word searches, and all manner of fun things for kids to do while they wait for the appointed hour to buy the book and start reading immediately. In many ways, my favorite part of these midnight parties is watching the kids walk away from the register reading, already immersed in the book as they navigate their way back to their cars.
I have been re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I’ve found myself so loving spending time at Hogwarts again. The world of Harry Potter is so richly drawn that you can’t help but fall into it and get lost. The book is a play, and that obviously is a different reading experience, and one I cannot wait to have. I have no idea what to expect, but I can say, that my customers are very curious to find out.
Party preparation will be in full swing today at the store. We’ll be making wands, tweaking the last bit of my potion mixture, and generally thinking of others ways to transform the party space into the Great Hall of Hogwarts. The challenge of Harry Potter parties is how to make it all seem magical. I am not a crafty person, so it’s a struggle for me to think of things that can be done. (Although I believe Elizabeth has secured a fog machine, so that’ll help.) The Scholastic party pack had many suggestions. For instance, painting paper towel rolls white and using battery-operated tea lights to suggest candles that can be strung from ceiling. This is a great idea, and one that I will likely regret not trying harder to replicate. The issue for me is the space we’re having the party has 20-foot ceilings. So, I will try instead to make the potions be amazing. I do better if not trying to be crafty on an enormous ladder.
And the real beauty of a midnight party versus an event that starts at the normal time of 6:30 p.m. is there is all this time to get ready!