If there’s one thing that could bring muggles together in trying times, it’s the deep-set desire to go to Hogwarts — and Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, The Quidditch World Cup… You get the gist.
We obviously all can’t make our way to Universal Studios to visit The Wizarding World, buy The Potter family home in Godric’s Hollow, or snag tickets to the Broadway production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but locations all around the country are hosting their own celebrations, just in time for Halloween.
Chestnut Hill, PA
The biggest event of all that’s happening this month is the Harry Potter Festival and Harry Potter Conference in the Philadelphia area. On Oct. 19 and Oct. 20, the 6th Annual Harry Potter Conference will take place at Chestnut Hill College. The nonprofit, academic conference will provide a forum for scholarly analyses about Harry Potter, with the Special High School Section open to the public. Friday’s program, which requires registration, includes lectures on textual analyses and politics and justice through the lens of Harry Potter.
Following the two-day academic conference, muggles can flock to the streets to celebrate all things Harry Potter at the annual festival. Spanning 10 blocks, the street fair will take place on Oct. 20 and Oct. 21, granted that you got your guardian to sign your Hogsmeade permission slip. You definitely have to check out Wands and Wizards Night on the Avenue, which takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday along Germantown Avenue with live performances, food and drink specials at participating locations, and a costume contest with a cash prize.
Oh, and you can casually watch some muggles try their hand at playing Quidditch at Chestnut Hill College from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 21, with Villanova, UPenn, and Chestnut Hill College competing for the cup. It’s a BYOB event — as in bring your own broom, according to one player.
Jefferson County, WI
If you’re not in the Philadelphia area to witness this massive homage to the beloved series, don’t fret! Jefferson County is throwing a magical celebration of their own on the very same weekend. The Wisconsin festival, taking place on Oct. 20, Oct. 21, and Oct. 22, is promising an even bigger and better event than the ones from previous years. The festival kicks off with a parade on Oct. 20 that’s completely free and open to the public (if you want to participate, throw your name into the Goblet of Fire here.) With a wristband on Oct. 21 and Oct. 22, you can play live wizard’s chess at Riverfront Park, check out the Mandrake Greenhouse, get sorted by the Sorting Hat, and check out teams from across the country playing in a Quidditch tournament at Tensfeldt Park.
Oh, and obviously there will be drive-in screenings. Flying Ford Anglia’s will not be provided.
The following weekend, feel free to head up to Ithaca, New York, for another weekend full of Harry Potter activities at the Wizarding Weekend event starting on Thursday, Oct. 26 with a blood drive with donations made in the name of the late great
Alan Rickman Half-Blood Prince. We hear it’s gorges up there (sorry).
From Oct. 27 through Oct. 29, festivities include a costume parade, a magic ball, Halloween brunch, and an advanced potions class for adults. All street festivities are free to the public, but you can pick up a Magical Passport to consolidate your pay-as-you-go fees for $20 per person.
And, alas, it wouldn’t be a Harry Potter festival without a Quidditch match! Unlike the other two festivals, Quidditch practice and matches are happening throughout the festival all day long so start practicing now.
And while you wait for these glorious events, sit back with a butterbeer donut to help ease the pain of not getting Cursed Child tickets. We know you need it.