A Quick, Easy Guide to Making a Hogwarts Student Costume out of Clothes you Already Have

Dressing up as a Harry Potter character is hardly a new idea. From expensive official ties, scarves, and robes based on the movies, to hardcore fans who go to book releases and movie premiers in costume, there are no shortage of people who try to make themselves look like they came straight from Hogwarts. But what if you’re just looking to put together a Halloween costume? If you’re only going to wear it once or twice, spending a fortune on official merchandise or hand-knitting a scarf in your house colors might seem like overkill. Surely there must be a better way!

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I put this Ravenclaw student costume together from clothes I already had in my closet. And chances are, you can, too! Just start with a white button-down shirt and black pants or a skirt. For the “robe”, you could use anything from a loose black jacket, to a generic costume cloak, to a black bathrobe or graduation gown, depending on what you have on hand or can find cheaply. Any kind of closed-toe black shoe works well. Really, the only hard part is the scarf.

You have several options there. Aside from ordering one from the Harry Potter store or making one yourself (which – again, feel free if you want to), keep an eye out for scarves that look like they fit whichever house you’re trying to imitate. If you’re flexible about looking just like the movies, it shouldn’t be hard to find something that works. These are a few that I dug out of my scarf collection, most of which I just happened to buy for everyday wear.

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None of them look like they came straight from the movies (although the one in the middle comes pretty close to movie Ravenclaw), but even a solid-colored green scarf could be made to work with silver jewelry, or a gold scarf with red accessories, etc. Sadly, I don’t seem to have a lot of solid-color scarves, so the one in the picture is purple, but you get the idea. Strictly speaking, striped house-color scarves are an invention of the movies and never mentioned in the books, so you definitely have some freedom in how to interpret them.

Think in practical terms, too. If you live someplace hot, a white polo and silk scarf might work better than a realistic copy of the movie costumes.

And, of course, if you’re going for a particular character, you can use accessories to get the right look. Harry has his scar and glasses, Luna her radish earrings and specterspecs, and so on. For kids’ trick-or-treat costumes, I think a little plastic cauldron bucket like this could make a nice touch:

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The Hogwarts Pensieve Sorting Hat

The Hogwarts Express leaves on September 1, and in honor of that, I’m going to finally release something I’ve been working on for weeks: my own Sorting Hat quiz.

Yes, I know. There are a thousand sorting quizzes out there, not to mention an official one on Pottermore. But I just had to try my hand at making one of my own. This isn’t one of those “what’s your favorite color/animal/character?” quizzes. All the thought I’ve been putting into my Sorting Hat Saturday posts and theories about the Hogwarts founders has gone into the quiz as well. I ask questions like:

How do you react to unexpected challenges?

  • Take a step back, look at the facts, and brainstorm solutions
  • Go with my first instinct and tackle the problem head-on
  • Come up with a strategy based on the situation
  • Give it my best effort using tried and true methods
  • Try to make it work to my advantage

And:

You just made your house’s quidditch team. Which of the following is most important to you?

  • Winning at all costs
  • Playing fair and doing my best
  • Fighting as hard as we can in each match
  • Having a good time and keeping in mind that it’s just a game
  • Coming up with a good strategy
  • Becoming team captain in a few years. This is just the beginning …

Nothing’s quite like a magical mind-reading hat, but I think I did a pretty good job and I hope you’ll agree.

Edit: Well, I was trying to embed it, but that didn’t work, so here’s a link