20 Ways To Celebrate Harry Potter All Year Long, In Honor Of The 20th Anniversary
Twenty years ago, in the summer of 1997, someone named Joanne Rowling had her first novel published. Ten years ago, in 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hit bookstores amid massive, midnight launch parties. Now, in 2017, we're celebrating the ten year anniversary of the series' end, and the twenty year anniversary of the first ever Harry Potter book. That's 20 years of kids feeling disappointed when they didn't get their Hogwarts letters, 20 years of fan arguments over whether or not Snape is a good guy, and 20 years of Harry in all of his boy wizard angst. This is a good year to be a Potterhead, so here are a few ways that every fan should celebrate.
It's hard to even fathom just how much Harry Potter has impacted our lives. If you grew up in the late '90s and early '00s, you remember waiting desperately for that next book to come out every summer. If you're anything like me, you pretended to be the characters, dressed up for the movie premieres, and read and re-read those books under the covers until the spines completely fell apart. You might never be able to re-capture that particular brand of childhood magic but, even twenty years on, you can still celebrate how much the wizarding world means to us:
2Make yourself some butterbeer
There are plenty of butterbeer recipes floating around the internet (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and you really owe it to yourself to try them all. Whether you go for a warm, toasty butterbeer or a chilled summer beverage, you'll feel like you just wandered into the Three Broomsticks with your fellow Hogwarts students to complain about potions homework.
3Donate to Lumos
Lumos is an NGO founded by J.K. Rowling to help end the harm of institutionalization and help impoverished children worldwide. If you want to make sure that real life children aren't being forced to live in a cupboard under the stairs, you can celebrate your love for Rowling's world by donating to her award-winning charity.
4Treat yourself to a new HP t-shirt/shot glass/makeup brush
When we were kids, there was a surprising lack of Harry Potter merchandising (seriously, think about it, there wasn't even a McDonald's toy). There were a few dolls and stuffed animals, sure, but nothing like the incredible array of Potter products available today. Now you can drink out of your Felix Felicis flask while you apply Harry Potter-themed eyeshadow with your Harry Potter-themed brush, wearing your Deathly Hallows jewelry and your Dobby the house elf-themed underwear (I assume that's coming soon to an Etsy store near you).
5Buy the anniversary edition of the books
Between the gorgeous new illustrated editions and the house-specific anniversary editions of the Harry Potter books, it's very tempting to spring for a new set. You can rep your house colors while re-reading your favorite scenes, or just buy up all of them and have one gorgeous, colorful bookshelf devoted entirely to HP.
6Give your books to kids in need
While you're turning your bookshelf into a Harry Potter shrine, why not donate some of your old and well-loved books to kids who could really use them? The Harry Potter Alliance is a great organization for fans who want to make the world a better place, and their Accio Books program lets you spread your own love of literature by donating your old books to thousands of young children.
7Join a Quidditch team
Always dreamed of making the house quidditch team? Chances are, there's a quidditch team in your area. And if not, you can start one through the US Quidditch organization! It's a great excuse to run around with fellow Potterheads in this magical, gender inclusive sport. You might not be able to fly in the muggle version of the game, but you can still have a great, Potter-themed time.
8Check out a convention
There are a ton of HP conventions out there. A little research, and you can probably find an upcoming fan gathering in your area (or one worth road tripping to). Conventions are a great place to dress up, nerd out, and maybe even meet some of the actors who brought your favorite wizards and witches to life.
9Join a Harry Potter book club
Yes, Pottermore has launched a Harry Potter Book Club, as though you needed an excuse to re-read the series and talk about it. Or you can create your own HP book club with a group of friends if you like, and even expand your reading to other fantasy novels (or other Rowling novels) as well.
10Watch all the Harry Potter movies
Movie marathon, anyone? There's nothing like staring at a screen until your eyes bleed to prove your devotion to a fictional universe. We all have our own opinions on the film adaptation of the series, but at the end of the day you can't stay mad at baby Daniell Radcliffe.
11Watch a Very Potter Musical
And Potter Puppet Pals. And read some choice fanfiction. Rowling is great and all, but fan-made Potter content is just so much fun.
13Host a game night
Wizard chess, anyone? There is a simply shocking number of Harry Potter-themed board games out there in the world (does anyone remember that one where you had to float a ball through various hoops using battery powered fans? No? Just me?). For a chiller HP party, crack open a butterbeer and host a Potter games night.
14Go to a HP trivia night
If you live near a major city, you will be a able to find a Harry Potter trivia night. Even if you don't, nothing's stopping you from looking up some trivia questions, channeling your inner Hermione, and hosting your own trivia night (with a big bag of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans as a prize, of course).
16Introduce someone new to the series
What better way to celebrate Harry Potter than by forcing someone else to read Harry Potter? If there's a young person in your life, or even just a friend/parent/dentist of yours who never read the books, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone makes for a great present.
17Go see the play
If you have the money and time to fly to England and see The Cursed Child...take me with you? If not, you might still get a chance to see the production coming to Broadway this spring, so don't lose hope yet.
18Visit a Harry Potter exhibit
For the studious Harry Potter fan, you can always check out a Harry Potter exhibition, or even sign up for a Harry Potter class or discussion group. There's a touring exhibition that lets you enter the sets from the movies, and the British Library will be hosting an exhibit on Harry Potter and the history of magic this October.
19Visit the theme parks
Again, this one requires a little extra cash and free time...but if you can make it to the Universal theme parks in Orlando, Florida, you absolutely should. The design is beautiful, the rides are fantastic, the butterbeer is delicious, and you'll go broke buying all the junk in the gift shops.
20Re-read the books
No matter how many movies, spin-offs, plays, and mugs there are, the heart of Harry Potter will always be those books. The best way to celebrate your love is Harry Potter is to read Harry Potter. Read the books, share the books, talk about the books, and remember that you can always come home to Hogwarts.