What would you do? Creating a Harry Potter Halloween event

September 15, 2010, 10:57 AM · Theme parks across the country are gearing up for their annual Halloween events. But at some theme parks, Halloween isn't just another overlay, it's a perfect thematic fit for one of the park's existing attractions.

You'll find one of these perfect fits at Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure, where the park's new Wizarding World of Harry Potter cries for a Halloween event to feature it.

Universal's not hosting any Halloween event at the Wizarding World in this, the land's first year, since crowds continue to fill the land without any extra inducement and the park's still tweaking its operation.

So we'll leave this as a "What Would You Do?" exercise: For 2011 and beyond, what would you include in a Halloween event at Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter?

Remember that everything in the Wizarding World must be canon according to J.K. Rowling's works, so no cheesy cross-overs with Jurassic Park dinosaurs or Frankenstein's monster battling wizards outside the Hogwarts Castle. But Rowling's given you plenty of material to work with, as the annual "Halloween Feat" appears in the first four books of the Harry Potter series.

Halloween Feast at Hogwarts

How would you work the Halloween Feast into the Wizarding World? That's what I like to hear from you, in the comments.

Since the main Halloween event in the Harry Potter world is a feast, you've got to figure that the The Three Broomsticks should figure into any plans. (Yes, the Harry Potter Halloween Feasts takes place inside Hogwarts' Great Hall, but I think that it is reasonable to assume that the people of Hogsmeade would celebrate a Halloween Feast of their own.)

What menu Halloween-only food items would you add at The Three Broomsticks, or sell from carts in the Wizarding World? (Pumpkin pasties, anyone?)

Personally, I think that a Harry Potter Halloween event should be a daytime affair included with regular park admission rather than another hard-ticket event, and positioned as a more family-friendly option than Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. Floating Jack-o'-lanterns should decorate the Hogwarts castle queue, and bats should fly overheard through the castle dungeons. Special Halloween candy should appear at Honeydukes. And Halloween Feast-themed merchandise should be offered at the Wizarding World's shops.

I'd also like to see the Three Broomsticks shake up the menu a bit. The restaurant could add a special "Halloween Feast" option, or add additional a la carte entrees and desserts to match the Halloween theme. Universal could program a special feast show with assigned seating times, or continue normal operation with the addition of some entertainment (such as the skeleton band from Chamber of Secrets). I could be swayed either way, based on a strong argument.

(FWIW, I don't think that a Haunted Mansion-style overlay of the Forbidden Journey ride would be a viable option for Halloween Feast, unless Universal really thought ahead and filmed that footage with the Harry Potter actors when it filmed the original Forbidden Journey scenes.)

What would you like to see in Halloween Feast at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? Let's hear you best suggestions in the comments.

Replies (6)

September 15, 2010 at 12:52 PM · I could only imagine eating pumpkin pie and frozen butterbeer together...mmmm...
September 15, 2010 at 1:00 PM · Of course, some special shows would be a good idea.
September 15, 2010 at 1:40 PM · Hey, as long as it's more innovative than hybrid pig-humans running around with chainsaws, I'm down for whatever.

And, obviously, Dementors would be involved.

I'm thinking something along the lines of the Shrieking Shack or the Chamber of Secrets, a scare house that differs from the norm in that it offers eeriness and mystery rather than gore and cheap scares. Additionally, it would be completely interactive, involving various puzzles, similar to the ones encountered in the books.

Say, for example, a room with several doors. However, all but one are fake projections. As you approach each projection, it fades into nothingness, leaving only one door left: the one you came in through. However, the hallways adjacent to the room shifted position while you were in the room and the door you came through now leads somewhere else.

There could be a painting/door that only opens when you answer its riddle, just like the Fat Lady. There could be a hallway with a door at the end that appears normal upon first glance, but gradually gets smaller as you approach, like an Ames Room:

They could get wicked creative. I'm tired and can't think of much at the moment, but give their creative team a pot of coffee and a lot of scrap paper and they'll come up with something.

September 15, 2010 at 6:01 PM · I personally hope that Universal does incorporate Islands of Adventure into next year's Halloween Horror Nights event. As far as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is concerned. I think Lord Voldemort and the other main Death Eaters(Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucious Malfoy) would make great HHN host icons for next year's event. They could make a Haunted House themed to either the Chamber of Secrets or the Forbidden Forest. Meanwhile, over at Universal Studios, they could have a more family friendly Halloween event at the same time by simply keeping that park open later(maybe till about 10pm) and have friendly halloween decorations around the park and have different locations for kids to trick-or-treat and allow the kids to come in halloween costumes similar to disney's Not-So-Scary Halloween party at the Magic Kingdom. Its been quite a few years since Halloween Horror Nights was hosted at Islands of Adventure, so if nothing else happens, I at least hope the even changes from USF to IOA.
September 15, 2010 at 9:02 PM · I would decorate the outside area and perhaps have a special dinner and special shows!

Another good visual comes from the Quitich World Cup game. The American Quittich stadium is very Halloween!

September 17, 2010 at 7:12 AM · The Wizarding World of Harry Potter shouldnt limit itself to special themeing for Halloween, but for the entire year...Halloween and Christmas would just be the most prominent. I like the ideas given for Halloween, but for Christmas have the giant christmas trees in the Great Hall like in the books and the decorations throughout the school. They should also premiere the last two movies somewhere in the wizarding world. That would be a BIG event.

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