Muggles make magic at second annual Yule Ball

"Harry Potter" themed event featured wizard-themed snacks and Triwizard tournament-inspired challenges

Muggles, aspiring wizards and witches alike gathered in the Old Union Hall for the second annual Yule Ball.

The magical event took place Monday evening and was hosted by the Binghamton University Bookworms. It was named after the Yule Ball, a dance that is held on Christmas Day during the Triwizard Tournament in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”

Jenna Kimble, the president of Bookworms and a senior majoring in English, said the club wanted the event to be bigger than last year’s.

“Last year we put [a Yule Ball] on, but it was a lot smaller, so this year we decided to do it again,” Kimble said. “I got more clubs involved, and it was a lot of fun.”

As students entered the hall, they were given a trivia sheet written in the form of a Hogwarts test. A prize was offered to the first contestant to correctly answer all the questions.

Four long tables in the middle of the room were decorated with the colors of the four Hogwarts houses: yellow for Hufflepuff, green for Slytherin, blue for Ravenclaw and red for Gryffindor.

Attendees dressed in their favorite house colors or even in full costumes.

Prizes were awarded for the best costume at the end of the night, with first place going to Michael Hickey, a junior majoring in computer science. Hickey dressed as a Hufflepuff student, and the costumes ranged from generic Hogwarts school uniforms to specific characters from the books.

Along the side of the room, stations were set up for students to make buttons, mix their own potions, enter a raffle for Harry Potter goodies or have their tarot cards read by the Binghamton Area Paranormal Society.

Also featured were magical treats including cockroach clusters, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, werewolf teeth and pumpkin pastries. The refreshments served included pumpkin juice and butterbeer.

The Binghamton Quidditch Team also made an appearance, showing attendees how to play muggle Quidditch. Players ran around the room on broomsticks trying to catch the “snitch” — a person with a small sack attached to a belt around his or her waist.

The event also included a Triwizard Tournament, during which contests reflected the tasks from the actual Triwizard Tournament in the book.

The first challenge was the dragon egg challenge, where contestants bounced balloons on wands across the room and then popped them, looking for clues.

The second was reminiscent of the challenge from the book where the champions had to dive into the Black Lake to retrieve an item that was stolen from them. It involved leading a blindfolded person across an obstacle course as a group.

For the third challenge, participants had to solve a series of riddles that described particular characters from the Harry Potter universe, and then find the Bookworms member dressed as that character to proceed.

The winners were Gryffindor team and Hufflepuff team, who found the Goblet of Fire after solving the final riddle.

Lyla Cerulli, a member of the Binghamton Quidditch Team, said she was pleased with the event’s festivities.

“The Bookworms put a lot of effort into the Triwizard Tournament,” said Cerulli, an undeclared freshman. “It got people to work together within their different houses.”

Aref Afshar, captain of the Binghamton Quidditch Team, also said he had a great time at the ball.

“As [the Yule Ball] picked up, I really started enjoying myself, and Quidditch started doing its thing here,” said Afshar, a sophomore majoring in integrative neuroscience. “Everybody here is having a good time.”