Monday, October 27, 2008

HP Night Reflections

How else do you measure success in outreach programming other than attendance? If this is the only measure, or at least the one that matters the most, than our Harry Potter Night utterly failed. If it is how much fun those who did attend had, than it was very successful. Unfortunately, I'm too disappointed with the first to revel in the second.

My estimate is that we had about 25 students. Last year we had about 100 show up, about 70 stayed. I normally attribute low attendance to either a bad program, or bad marketing. I don't think this was either. Two of us librarians even dressed up in costume for the whole day and passed out programs around campus (yeah, I set up for this thing wearing a floor-length, high-collar black dress!), had a musical animation on the library home page, and posted fliers everywhere. No one could say they didn't know about it. I think it was just a bad night. So many students were going home for the weekend, even though this coming weekend is Long Weekend, when people are supposed to go home. We were also competing against the Creative Arts Society's haunted house.

I did get some great pictures. I got many complements on my costumes and the Horcrux Hunt was a lot of fun for the students. If I ever find the responses to the last Horcrux event, I'll have to post them. I'm always amazed by the creativity some people can come up with on the spot. They were asked to pick a bad guy and write what their punishment should be. One involved tickling Belatrix Lastrange for the rest of eternity so she would be forced to laugh, another was forcing Voldemort to listen to "A Cauldron of Hot, Burning Love" while making pink heart cookies for all of eternity, and the final winner (yes, there were three) was to force Malfoy to wear hand-me-down robes and attend bi-weekly muggle-appreciation seminars for the rest of his life.

We had a house activity that involved finding "bowtruckles" (see picture). Whichever house gathered the most was going to win the house cup. Unforunately, one of the four children in attendance decided to practice some unsportsmanlike behavior... ironically stealing from the Slytherins. I'm pretty sure Slytherin would have won, but not sure if I should declare them the winner, or just say it was null & void. I was also going to put up a display on the program, but since there were so few people, I'm not sure if I really want to.

We will do it again next year, but probably confined to the classroom, and maybe not on a Friday night.

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