Celebrate Harry Potter's birthday on your broom

By Ruth Kinane
July 28, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT
HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, Tom Felton, Daniel Radcliffe, 2002, (c) Warner Brothers/cou
Credit: Everett Collection

Summon your wizarding wannabes and celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday on July 31 in the most magical way possible: with a backyard Quidditch match. “With elements of rugby, dodgeball, and tag, there’s something for everyone,” says Mary Kimball, events director of US Quidditch. “And you don’t need a certain skill set to play.”

What are you waiting for? On your broom!

What You’ll Need:

  • 15 friends: 7 players on each team (3 chasers, 2 beaters, 1 seeker, and 1 keeper) and 1 impartial person as the snitch runner
  • 4 balls: 1 volleyball and 3 dodgeballs
  • 14 sweatbands: In 4 different colors to distinguish between positions
  • 1 sock with a tennis ball inside to fasten to the snitch runner’s waist
  • 6 hula hoops to score through (3 at each end of field)
  • 15 brooms: 1 for each player (you can also use pool noodles)
  • 6 plastic pipes or wooden spears (in various heights) to use as posts to mount hoops on (or hang hoops from trees, if available).
  • Tape to fasten hoops to posts

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How To Play:

  • Three chasers score goals worth 10 points each with the quaffle (that’s “volleyball” in Muggle). They advance the ball down the field by running with it, passing it to teammates, or kicking it. (All players must keep brooms between their legs at all times. Players may hold on to their broom with their hands and thighs.) Each team has a keeper who defends the goal hoops. The keepers and chasers are the only players allowed to touch the quaffle. Players can kick the quaffle just once before picking it up.
  • Two beaters use bludgers (dodgeballs) to disrupt the flow of the game by knocking out other players (just be gentle). Any player hit by a bludger is out of play until they run to and touch their own goal. If a player is holding a ball when hit, they must drop it before running to their goal.
  • Potter fans are familiar with the dodgy spherical snitch. After 18 minutes of play, the snitch runner enters the game with the snitch (a tennis ball attached to the waist). He or she uses any means necessary to avoid being caught. Catch- ing the snitch is worth 30 points, which ends the game, and only a seeker may capture it. If the score is tied after the snitch catch, the game proceeds into overtime.

*Rules courtesy of US Quidditch