Harry Potter Movie Marathon Magic.

Every year, when the cool breezes begin to blow and the tree leaves turn red and golden yellow (like the colors of the House of Gryffindor), my family plans an annual Harry Potter Movie Marathon.  It is a tradition that has become as central to the Halloween season as Trick-or-Treating and pumpkin carving.

Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the whole cast of characters feel like old friends. Potter has become part of our family celebrations — the novels, movies and books-on-tape are part of our story. We read the books together and listen to the fantastic actor, Jim Dale bring the stories to life while we are on long trips.  (If you haven’t listened to the Harry Potter Audio Books, you are missing a whole new level of Potter awesomeness!)

Harry Potter House Decorations Halloween Maine Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons

The shrine of Potter decor that adorns our dining room every Halloween season.

Yep! I am a Potter nerd/super-fan and I wear that mantle with pride.

A “Potter-a-thon” is no easy feat: It requires over 20-hours of movie-watching, time management, and menu planning. We promise that with a little planning (and perhaps a bit of Hogwarts inspiration), a Harry Potter Movie Marathon will be extremely rewarding.

Here are a few guidelines to help you on your way:

Plan a magical menu:

Our Potter-themed menu is central to the marathon weekend. Good food makes the best partner to a movie. We like to pair each long movie viewing session with novel and inspired dishes. We come up with Hogwarts-esque names for family favorites, and tweak our everyday recipes to match the color and flavor of our favorite characters.

Harry Potter Menu Kristin Fuhrmann Simmons Harry Potter Movie marathonThis year’s menu included:

1. Unicorn Hair Pasta with Golden Snitch Meatballs. This was crafted with angel hair pasta and Ina Garten’s meatball recipe. We imagined the famous Quidditch golden orb to be roughly the size of the meatball, The unicorn hair was inspired by the beautiful creatures in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

2. Severus Snape Sliders were inspired by Buzz Feed’s Garlic Bread Meatball Sliders.  We saw the video for these little beauties on social media and decided we had to have them! Snape never gets his full due in the books, so we thought we would honor him with an insanely savory and craveable dish. These little sliders are the perfect party food. Make a double batch of meatballs and you can use them for the Unicorn Hair Pasta too!

3. Broomstick Garlic Bread with Gillyweed Herbed Butter was made by cutting whole grain baguette in half and slathering on chive, rosemary, and garlic herbed butter. The result was savory, crispy and buttery. The herbs added the right hue to mimic the green color of the infamous Gillyweed that allowed Harry to breathe underwater in “The Goblet of Fire.”

4. Norbert’s Dragon Fire Roasted Vegetables. We tossed root vegetables with a mixture of vinegar, salt and brown sugar for a sweet and tangy bite that matched the earthy, rich flavors of the parsnips, carrots and butternut squash. The Food.com recipe gave us the idea to add vinegar to the marinade. The combination of tangy flavor and high roasting temp make these veggies a dish even a dragon couldn’t resist.

5. Dolores Umbridge Sticky Sweet Pink Pavlovas. These sweet meringues make an elegant dessert. We tinted our beaten egg whites with red food coloring and a few teaspoons of Cassis syrup. We also tossed the fresh berries with a bit of the syrup. It made for a great topping in the bright pink hue that brought mind the sticky sweet (and sinister) Dolores Umbridge from “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” Again, we pulled the recipe from our library of Ina Garten books. To tint your meringues the sinister shade of Umbridge pink, add a few drops of red food coloring to the mix.

6. Sorting Hat Sandwich Cookies. These cookies have no formal recipe. All you need is some Oreo creme sandwich cookies, a little bit of Nutella, Hershey Kisses and sprinkles to decorate. Unwrap the kiss candy and attach them to the cookie with a small amount of Nutella.  We added marshmallow fluff and sprinkles to dress them up a bit.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finding something new:

We have been fans of the Harry Potter Movies since they were in theaters in the early 2000s. Our marathon weekends started in 2011 in advance of the film release of “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2.” Needless to say, to keep them fresh and exciting, we look for differences between the movies and the books and jot down notes. We love to play games on long car rides and we use those notes as fodder for Potter-centric trivia

Space it out:

Let’s face it: It is hard to devote 20+ hours straight to watching a movie marathon. Our college days of binge watching movies are over and not only do we have other things to do in the day — we can’t stay awake to the wee hours in the morning. We try to make it manageable as parents and as adults who have to wake up and function in the morning.

Here’s what we do: We take a look at the weekend forecast. Autumn in New England is a particularly prime time for apple picking, state fairs, and leaf-peeping and we never want to waste that precious outdoor time, especially with a long winter ahead. Overcast and cold rainy days are made for movie watching, so we look for days with a bit of rain and clouds.

We typically break it up over 2-3 days, starting the event on a Friday evening and finishing up on a Sunday evening.

Here’s the typical schedule:

  • Friday 5:30pm: Start “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” finish with “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”
  • Saturday 3pm: Start with “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”  Take a break, make dinner and watch both the “Goblet of Fire” and “Order of the Phoenix.”
  • Sunday 3pm: Same as the Saturday routine, while watching the last three movies. Start with “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Follow with the “Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2.”

In 2017, we will have to add “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” to the mix.  We are sure to be inspired by new characters and new friends to create amazing dishes and even better Halloween displays.

We would love to hear if you are a Potter Marathon Family and what you do for your seasonal traditions. Happy Halloween!


by Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons

Share your Potter Menu Items to @kafcooks on Instagram and Twitter