Sunday, October 28, 2007

I solemnly swear I am up to no good!

So every year Larry and I have thrown a Halloween party for basically the same group of friends, plus or minus a few people who are fans or not fans of our chosen theme. Last year was Hitchcock. This year, with the release of the last book and fifth movie, what kind of children's literature fan would I be if we didn't choose Harry Potter for our theme? (Yes, I totally realize that some of you are going to read about this and think that I am a HUGE nerd,).
This is our last year throwing a Halloween party in Columbus so we went all out. The owls went out with our invitations weeks ago. They looked like this

And they said this:

As you all know there has been a major breach of security in the wizarding world with the publication of a series of books by muggle J.K. Rowling detailing our history. The Ministry of Magic is doing our best to spread the rumor that Mrs. Rowling’s works are nothing but silly fiction, which means wizards everywhere have been forced to assume muggle identities while the ministry of magic works to research how a mere muggle like Mrs. Rowling obtained this top secret information.

All wizards are asked to gather at a secret location disguised as the Ford Home on the evening of Saturday, October 27th at 7 p.m. to discuss this matter over dinner. The utmost has been done to provide security at this event so come in your true wizard form.

Search Mrs. Rowling’s official site for an original sketch of “The Midnight Duel”. The sketch will not be easy to find, and locating it will provide proof that you’ve researched the security breach caused by Mrs. Rowling. At the bottom of the sketch there is a different name for this chapter, which is also the name of the blog ( Once you obtain the blog address, RSVP by posting a comment with your true wizard identity and your assigned number. DO NOT REVEAL YOUR MUGGLE IDENTITY in order to maintain your secret identity until the gathering.

Your assigned numbers are: ______, _____
The aurors are hard at work so we have faith that all will be known soon.
-The Ministry of Magic

The answer was Draco Duel so the blog where everyone rsvp'ed is here.

We started out with a simple dinner of chili or squash soup, salad, corn bread, and butterbeer (thanks Ortons for coming up with a butterbeer recipe and Richardsons and Beazers for bringing squash soup). Larry made an awesome Harry Potter soundtrack that played throughou tthe evening with music from the movies and from the band Harry and the Potters. We were so busy setting up for the rest of the night that the tablesetting wasn't so pretty but I did manage to serve the chili toppings from little pumpkins, and I put up a sign that said, "Catered by the Leaky Cauldron"

And we had pumpkin donuts for dessert so I could make use of my soon-to-be Christmas present again (Thanks Santa!)
And my favorite suckers from Startups
Larry and I greeted our guests dressed as Dolores Umbridge (too bad you can't see my gold kitten broach in these pictures) and the Weasley twins. Larry kept switching off telling people that he was Fred or George and getting annoyed that people couldn't tell them apart. Creed was a mandrake (an idea that I got from my friend Jessica). Note to self, next time I'm hosting a themed party and I get to choose my costume first, don't choose the most hideous costume possible!
I LOVE how fun and creative our friends are. Check out their costumes. Lucious Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange.
Nymphadora Tonks and Aberforth Dumbledore. I don't know how he did it, but he had a "spell" that allowed him to randomly throw flames throughout the evening. Fleur Delacour Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom Minerva McGonagall and Quirinius Quirrell Hagrid and Trelawny Rita Skeeter and Remus Lupin. He grew his beard out for weeks for this and had fur coming out of his collar and cuffs since it was a full moon and her tiny hat says "press" on it.Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood. She had a copy of the Quibbler with funny articles in it.After dinner I gathered everyone together and told them:

Before we discuss Mrs. Rowling’s disastrous book, you must first take a tour of the city to understand the gravity of this situation. After seeing how wizards have been degraded and forced to disguise their businesses as muggle businesses, you may understand how widespread the effects of Mrs. Rowling’s books have become.

We’ve planned this meeting around the quaint muggle holiday of Halloween, a day when muggles dress themselves up in disguise, so you won’t have to be bothered with cumbersome disguises. Muggles will just assume that you are pretending to be characters from Mrs. Rowling’s books. They will be completely unsuspecting of your true identities.

For your safety, I am putting you in teams of four wizards each and I advise you to stick with your companions to minimize the danger of this mission. I cannot provide you with a list of the businesses you’ll be visiting tonight because if it fell into the wrong hands the result could be cataclysmic. I can only give you a clue to get you to the first location and then at each location you will have to search for a clue to the next.

To reinforce the urgency of this mission, the first team to arrive back here will be greatly rewarded.

I wanted to have some sort of adventure for the evening and I figured this would be good because not only was it Harry Potter related, but since we've lived here a lot longer than some of our friends, it allowed us to send our friends to discover some of our favorite places around town. Then I gave them their first clue:

The maker of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans has been forced to put up a front in Grandview where he sells every flavor ice cream for muggles. Go to this shop and tell the cashier that you, “Solemnly swear you are up to no good.” In return you will receive and item that will be a hint toward the next location you need to visit.

So everyone dashed off to Jeni's ice cream in Grandview where the cashier handed each team a golden snitch (a gold Christmas ornament with feather wings glued on it). The next clue had a snitch inside so the teams had to smash the snitch to get the clue, which said:

As you might imagine, Azkaban was incredibly difficult to disguise. Ultimately the decision was made to turn the prisoners into human-shaped shrubs. We posed them as if they were part of a painting and muggles often visit the park they are in, completely unaware of the danger that surrounds them. For security reasons no one is permitted on the grounds after dark. You don’t want to discover what will happen to you if you set even a toe on the grounds once the sun has gone down so circle the perimeter of the park in search of the hint to your next location.

So everyone (well, eventually everyone, one team had a hard time with this clue) headed to the Old Deaf School Park behind the library downtown to see the topiary park. There in a jack-o-lantern bucket hanging on the fence were four wands that looked like this.
They had to figure out that the wands were made of paper coated with glue and paint so they had to tear open the wand and unroll it for their next clue, which said:

There’s only one place in town with homes close together enough to be able to hide Number Twelve Grimmauld Place between them. This is still the meeting place of the Order of the Phoenix so a Fidelius Charm prohibits us from disclosing the exact location, but if you head to the main park in German Village you can get an inkling of where it might be hiding. Directions to your next location can be found on the stage in the park.
Which guided everyone to Schiller Park where Larry was waiting for them on the stage dressed as Snape. He had a Pensive that we made by taping a message to the bottom of a bowl and floating that in a cauldron filled with dry ice, water and glow sticks so they had to dip their faces into the middle of the glowing fog to see the clue in the middle. This clue said:

Florish & Blotts greatly laments the day they had to depart from Diagon Alley. Business just isn’t the same for them. In their new location in German Village, they have an intricate maze of rooms that allows them to hide a few rooms with wizarding books, but they are forced to carry books on a variety of muggle subjects including the very books that created this havoc. Go through the maze of rooms to find those very books and behind them, you will find your next clue.

So they were off to one of our favorite bookstores, the bookloft. The book store is made of two old house back to back that were connected and it's quite a maze of rooms. They had wind their way through to the children's section where they found round Harry Potter glasses that said, "Under and over, you have roamed, now it is time for you to go home, back to the Fords, and be sure to hurry!"

I was nervous about everything working out, but it did. The big winners were Reba, Chris, Brooke, and Quintin. They were awarded with Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, and Jeni's ice cream.
It didn't take everyone too long to get back and then we played a round of Harry Potter Scene It, boys verses girls (the girls won of course). It was so fun to get everyone together. Who knows when we'll be able to get together again for the Tri-Wizard Tournament?

Now I just have one more Halloween party to plan. That's right folks, a THIRD Halloween party, but this one will be for church so at least Larry and I won't have to rush around trying to get our house clean!


Noelle said...

That was amazing and you've definitely outdone any Halloween party I have ever or will ever be attending. I loved figuring out all the clues and checking out some of your favorite places in town. Now I'll have to go to them in the daylight to fully appreciate them!

Julie T said...

Oh, Stephanie and Larry! (This is Heather and Noelle's mom, Julie) be 25-30 again and beout there to attend a party like this! That would give the a scope for the imagination that would last a lifetime! I so appreciate that I can visit your blog briefly and partake of all the joy and fun!
You guys really bless the lives of all you touch. Keep up the great work and be happy!

Heather said...

Yes, I was just telling my friend how hard it would be to be you. You're so awesome at everything you do, you set a high standard for yourself. We had a FANTASTIC time at the party, thank you so much for the bash of the year!

emily kate said...

Please please please can I live next door to you and be your best friend??? I love that you dressed Creed as a mandrake! GENIUS! Love this party!

Sydney said...

I'm a lurker on your blog but WOW, after reading this I had to comment. YOU are so talented and creative. Thank you for sharing your fun evening with us and I look forward to the next creative and amazing thing you do!

J.R., Meg, and Alyssa said...

We were sad to miss another infamous Ford party! Looks like everything turned out great and costumes were very creative.

tania said...

what a hoot! sounds like you are a VERY good party planner!