The Muggle Ball

The Friends of the Arlington Public Library hosted a Muggle Ball last night, and more than a dozen DADA members were in attendance. There was trivia, a costume contest, hors d’oeuvres and desert, themed drinks, a jazz band, and raffle baskets.

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I was blown away by how many people showed up at the event. The staff did an amazing job of decorating, from a photo wall with standees (including Edward Cullen in a Hufflepuff tie) to amazing center pieces.

My night started with an hour-long drive there (yay, rush hour traffic!) after which I managed to find one of the three nearby garages I had researched that morning at 1am. And my first surprise was finding that the garage charged $4 for the night instead of the $10 I thought. And it was only a block and a half away. So I got there exactly at 7pm.

After checking in, I, thankfully, ran into two of my friends, who had already snagged a table up front. One was wearing a dress I thought about buying for the event, so I’m glad I didn’t. She wore it beautifully, with matching bowtie and earrings as well! I dropped my coat, checked out the raffle items, and then worked on the scavenger hunt with two other friends.

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Some questions were easy: Q. What are the names of the Marauders?
My answer: James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and (the best!) Remus Lupin
Some questions were hard: What was Ron’s second wand made of?
My answer: Wood and a magical core (which is not, technically incorrect…)
And some questions were confusing: What are the maiden names of Harry’s mother and aunt?
My answer: Names PLURAL? Evans… Lily Evans and Petunia Evans… what do you mean by maiden names plural, it’s the same, because they’re sisters.
By the end, I was going with funny, in hope of making someone laugh and earn bonus points.
Question: What charm did Hermione use on her bag to allow it to hold so much?
My answer: An expanding charm, so that it’s larger on the inside, just like the TARDIS!

We also had to take a selfie with a member of Dumbledore’s Army or the Order of the Phoenix. This was NOT an easy task for three Hufflepuffs to undertake! We made a pass around the venue and didn’t see any likely candidates to approach. I saw one person who had a potted plant and thought he might be Neville (but he turned out later to be a Hairy Potter), but he was engaged in discussions with his friends. We spotted a great Mad-eye Moody and had our phone out, about to make our request, when he turned and moved in to kiss Trelawney. We aborted immediately! Finally, we spotted a Luna. And she kindly posed for a photo. Though, afterward, we realized perhaps she wasn’t Luna after all, because her robes were Gryffindor, not Ravenclaw. Oh well. They still accepted it. In fact, they barely looked at our answers and awarded us each a free raffle ticket!

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I bought 12 other raffle tickets from a staff member who said to me “you don’t look familiar to me.” Which is kind of an odd way to start a conversation, but there it was! She asked if I went to the Arlington library often and I said no, I’m from Fairfax. And she said “You came all the way from FAIRFAX?!” which, yes, is an hour away in rush hour traffic but only about 17 miles away. Not really a long journey, you know? She handed me a $5 off book sale coupon and told me that they had an AMAZING book sale coming up. “At the end of April?” I asked, having just seen it the night before on their website. She told me I had to check it out. I’m certain I will. $5 in free books is never something I’d turn down.

Not a lot of raffle items caught my eye (jewelry, spa treatments, and wine are not my thing). And the glass bowl for the center piece raffle items was empty, so I put a ticket in there; I figured that there are more than a handful of those on tables, so my odds of winning one was pretty good even if other people put tickets in there as well. Then I made the rounds and put tickets in for a few other items.

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I ran into some more DADA friends as well, then sampled the food. There were a few nice vegetarian options. However, one of the servers told us something was vegetarian and it absolutely wasn’t (which we discovered after eating some of it, UGH!). Every so often, they would bring out a cart of something and people would swarm! When the cookies came out (that was apparently desert) I moved from line to line, trying to figure out which lines were actually being served. Finally, I got to a cart. “Chocolate chip!” a man said, and thrust a plate with a cookie at me. A woman next to me said “Sure, fine!” and grabbed it. The server tried again, and I took the cookie. I’m not opposed to chocolate chip, though chocolate isn’t my favorite. When I got back to the table, however, I discovered it was oatmeal raisin, my favorite! Another lovely surprise!

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The jazz band was great, and a nice reference to the Fantastic Beasts era. And it was nice to be able to just relax and spend time with friends. It was also nice to be welcome at such an event ;-) The centerpiece at our table had Draco & Harry pop pens, and a number of us took photos of them, enjoying the Drarry-ness of it all. The table also had golden snitches, keys, and letters for Draco, Bill Weasley, Neville, and others. The DADA organizers and I only had a few handfuls of group cards on hand, so we decided to slip them into the centerpieces, so the winners would find them. And if one of us won a centerpiece, we decided we’d give the card to one of the cosplayers.

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I completely fail at getting good photos, but the costumes were amazing. The winners were amazing, including a fur-covered Monster Book of Monsters (at a BOOK charity event! So clever!) and a couple’s costume of the Whomping Willow and the Flying Ford.

Then they gave out raffle prizes. I’ve had a pretty bad track record with raffles during the past decade or two, Wincon not withstanding. I was also checking a friend’s raffle tickets, as she had to leave early. I didn’t know what she put tickets in for, so I had to pay close attention to every item. Which is why it didn’t even register itself when a number in my ticket range was called. I checked and double-checked, not quite believing it. Then I grabbed the ticket and had to show it to them because I still wasn’t sure I had it right. LOL I won the doggie basket. My parents’ pup is going to be pretty happy! There’s also a nice Harry Potter ceramic mug set that I’ll enjoy for myself.

When it came time for the center pieces, someone came around and grabbed them off the tables. We said goodbye to ours and laughed to ourselves about the DADA cards we snuck into each one. Apparently, there were seven centerpieces, one for each book. As ours had a spider in it, we assumed ours was for Book 2 and felt silly for not realizing it was book-themed. They read off raffle winners, one by one. And, suddenly, they were calling out my number again. That very first ticket, the one I’d put in the centerpiece raffle bowl before anybody else at the whole event, had just been called! So I went up and claimed the centerpiece for Book 6. As I walked back to the table, I realized it was the one from our table! Everyone got a good laugh about my winning our centerpiece back. But then I had to give the DADA card to someone. I ended up giving it to the Whomping Willow & Flying Ford (so we get two potential members instead of just one).

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I headed back to the parking garage without incident (apart from some rude comments made by drunk men in bars/cars I passed along the way). And when I got home, I took a closer look at the centerpiece items. It was so clever!

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Here’s my best guess for the Book 6 items. Let me know if you have other ideas!

  • Harry & Draco pens- in honor of Harry’s growing obsession with Draco during this book
  • Jelly beans- Dumbledore-related? At first I thought it was Weasley Wizard Wheezes-related, but this is candy, not jokes
  • Felix Felicis- The potion brewed during this book
  • Candied pineapple- Slughorn’s favorite
  • Spider finger puppet- Aragog’s funeral
  • Hogwarts snow globe- Harry on his broom, the last time Harry plays Quidditch at Hogwarts
  • Gold coins- Erm… maybe the DA coins that they used to gather DA members when the Death Eaters attacked Hogwarts? Or maybe Ron visiting his brother’s shop and them charging him for items?
  • Lighting up wand- honoring Dumbledore
Category: conventions, merch  Tags: ,
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