For years they had a Harry Potter party each summer around Harry's birthday. (Last year's in celebration of the final book was mucho cool. Totally blew me away.)
And there's the an annual princess ball, which they always connect to a neat theme (this year it was Chinese new year).
Kids often dress up for these things, and there's always a ton of fun activities connected with the theme. Families come in swarms. It's a big deal.
This year the fantasy party focused on a new series. Yesterday, the library turned into Fablehaven. The lengths to which they went for the celebration were stunning. Among the features of the night:
- A decorated archway marking the entrance to Fablehaven.
- A search for different fairies as well as Olluch and the Gatekeeper's keys
- Human Foosball (based on Kendra and the Sphinx playing the game)
- Chickens to feed (kids got to guess which one was Grandma)
- Nymphs shooting kids with water guns
- Hags handing out curses (Things like, "Every time someone says your name, yell out a pizza topping." Curses could only be broken by a fairy kiss . . . Hershey's kisses handed out by one of several cute high-school girls dressed up).
- Fairy crafts
- "Magic" milk provided by Meadow Gold (and their giant, inflatable cow as Viola)
- Seeds to plant your own fairy garden
- Fablehaven posters awarded to a handful of attendees
- A magical well with creatures inside (condensed sponges that turned into animals in water)
- and more
As in the past, I was once again roped into helping with a library party, and this time I got to be one of the hags running around, doling out curses. (As soon as some kids realized that chocolate lifted the curse, they kept coming back for more curses. I had to put a limit on how many times I'd curse the same kid.)
I struggled at first on what to wear, but finally put together something I thought worked okay. You can't see all the glory in this picture (the huge rusted earrings, the thick gray witch stockings, the torn and ragged shirt, the moles, the blackened teeth). But as I trotted out to my kids to get opinions, they all shrieked.
I guess it did the trick:
A lot of people showed up in costume (mostly preschooler girls as fairies), and my family came to enjoy the evening as well.
When Brandon himself arrived and mulled around, I thought I should go say hello, because while we're not exactly close friends, we had met before when we sat at the same table at the Whitney Awards dinner in March. And I don't know about him, but fellow writers are always a happy sight for me.
But I don't think he recognized me. I mentioned my name. Nothing. That we were at the same Whitney table (WHEN YOU WON. REMEMBER THAT NIGHT?!). Nothing seemed to turn on a light bulb. I think he was stuck staring at the black teeth and icky eyebrows. He just smiled and nodded.
It was all I could do to not tell him that while I think Fablehaven is a really great series, that no, I'm not a weird fanatic woman who dressed up like a hag just for his party like most of the six-year-old fairies running around had. I was there working as a vol-un-teer.
And I'm a fellow writer. We have a ton of mutual friends. Oh, and I was a Whitney finalist too. That night, I presented one of the awards. Ring a bell? Rob Wells mentioned during the ceremony that I came up with the name of the award?
Hmm. How about: I was the only one at your table who didn't take home a trophy?
Never mind. Next time I'll be sure to talk to a fellow writer (NY Times bestseller or otherwise) when I'm, oh, not sporting two gigantic moles on my face.
But hey, I got my daughter's book signed. Before the actual book signing. So there. :D