This is the part that makes the HH Mamas as giddy as if put under a Cheering Charm that went a little too far. None of the below is required, but it does enhance the experience. We don’t want you to feel badly if going all-out just isn’t for you. That said…

* Wands. As we’ve mentioned in the past, this is the most important accessory. I’ve not yet met an HP fan who does not long for a real, working wand (HH Mamas included.) OK I lied above, this part is required. We won’t ban you from HH, but your kids really do need wands to be proper Witches & Wizards. There are different types of wands you can purchase: plastic (cheap to pricey,) or wood (moderate to pricey.) If you’re shopping online, check out one of the shops we list, or Google “Harry Potter wands.” Locally your largest selection will be at Hallowe’en costume shops. If you don’t want to purchase wands, you can make them yourself. Better yet, let it be a class project, & have your kids make their own. We recently wrote about a brilliant wand craft, you could even glue wooden beads to the end of a wooden dowel, or you can paint twigs with glitter as we did last summer. Below you see the table we set, ready for wand-making. I (Kat) made the little bags, so they could hang their wands from their belts, or belt loops. Were I to make them again, they would be thinner & longer. The Olivander’s tags were made by scanning the image from a coloring book we owned. (I‘ve checked everywhere, & I cannot find a link for the book. We’ll make sure one of the images we scan later will be this one.) 

** Photo :: Property of HH

 * Uniforms. Offering uniforms is up to you. We’ve done HH without uniforms, & the kids did not seem to mind. However, when we told them we’d continue offering classes after summer, they insisted on uniforms. You can purchase the costumes, some are well made. If you sew, you can also make them quite easily. We created ours from thrift shop finds. It’s the least expensive, & has turned into the most fun option. My son owns the school robe that his Grammie sewed from a pattern, & an Invisibility Cloak his Auntie Rubelin & I designed. The rest is all thrifted. White blouses, button-up shirts, & even t-shirts are in abundance at thrift shops, so you needn’t worry about finding those. For the summer sessions we’ve had them wear khaki bottoms, & black for the regular school terms: pants, clam-diggers, skirts, & shorts. Sweaters & sweater vests are by far my favorite to create. I buy them; black or dark gray; & use fabric paint to add stripes of color at the collar (red & yellow of course.) Once they put those on, they look like they are on their way to catch the Hogwarts Express. Extras are ties, scarves, cloaks – use your imagination! The key is to look at clothing not just for what it is, but what it could be. My son has a summer cloak that i made from a woman’s black skirt. It was long, & full, so had enough fabric. It was also already split down the front, as it was a buttoned skirt! I took it in greatly at just the back of the waistband, & in 10 minutes he had a cloak that he could run around in when the weather was hot.

*Containers. We have some serious fun creating these. The ingredients you use for Potions look fabulous when set out in altered jars. If you want to give them a try, start saving jars of all sizes from food. Baby food jars are great when you need very little of something. For ingredients used often; baking soda, salt; pickle jars work best. Soak the labels off, & make sure you clean the insides very well. Cut labels from parchment, or Muggle computer paper, & create your labels. If you aren’t handy with a calligraphy pen, you can print your labels on one sheet, then cut them out. Get creative! Here are a few samples from my cupboard:

Syltherin Bone Dust – 100% Ground Bones of Slytherin Skeletons – Coarse Milled

Organic Gnome Droppings – Gathered Nightly

That would be Metamucil & raisins, respectively. Add a Diagon Alley or Knockturn Alley address, then affix it to your jar. At this point you can distress your label if you like. We’ve rubbed dirt on them, dabbed with damp tea bags, scratched at them – whatever popped into our minds. If you are a scrapbooker; as is Pia; I imagine you can make your labels very realistic. Should you want labels on jars, but want a more instant gratification, try Google. You’re bound to find tutorials or photos. Remember to give credit to the creators if you show yours online. You can use other containers to enchancethe experience: wooden boxes (see the above photo,) jewelry boxes, tins, cigar boxes. Again, look at things differently. Some containers will need some altering, others will do wonderfully as they are. You should think about containers as you make your lesson lists; what will the students need? what would that professor have? what could hold the feathers, glue, soil, etc?

* Cauldrons. We cannot talk about containers, & not mention cauldrons. Any cauldron or kettle will do, should you want one for ambiance, or toting supplies. If you plan to mix your experiments within them, we insist you take care in what you use. Something flimsy would be unsafe, or make a mess were they to tear. We would also avoid those teeny ones you buy in packs for Hallowe’en favors. They’re great for decor, but that’s about it. If you will be eating or drinking any of your creations, use ONLY food-safe kettles, & NEVER one that has held inedible ingredients. Hallowe’en is just around the corner, so finding cauldrons & kettles is about to get very easy. Don’t stick with costume shops & party supply stores; our favorite cauldron for mixing potions came from the Hallowe’en section of a pharmacy. We also use: black camping cook-pot, black bowls that have handles, & cauldronesque containers from the dollar store. If you want the real thing, you can find cast-iron ones online. Start looking at the following shops: craft, sewing, costume, party, pharmacy, camping, army surplus, & grocery.

*Pets. ” Students may also bring an OWL or a CAT or a TOAD.”  Our kids were ecstatic picking out their animals. The HH menagerie consists of 2 owls, 1 cat, & 3 dragons (the dragons we’ll talk about another day.) You can have them search through their stuffed animal collection, or buy new ones. Something fun to do: create a Diagon Alley order form, with the animals listed for choosing. You could even print photos of ones you’d be willing to buy; from a catalog or online. They could send their form via their Owl Post Box, & a few days later their new pets would arrive. As if by magic 😉 If your kids aren’t into stuffed animals, then just skip this bit. If they are? We must warn you to be prepared – they will take their HH pets very seriously. There is; as I write this; a small owl in a Victorian cage, on the table next to my son’s bed. The cage is kept latched, so the dragon in the basket next to it won’t mistake the owl for lunch…. & my son is 10.

That’s all for this installment. I imagine by now your mind is racing with ideas. Please come back, & tell us how your HH set up is going.