When most of us think about Halloween, we think of costumes, candy, and spooky books. It ends there once you pass the trick-or-treating age. Unless, of course, you’re reading Harry Potter.
If you look closely, Halloween turns out to be an especially significant day in the wizarding world. October 31 marks both good and bad occurrences throughout J.K. Rowling’s bestselling series, and we’ve rounded up those times below.
1492: Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington dies
This goes back nearly 500 years before the first book takes place. But Nearly Headless Nick plays a role in many future Halloweens, so it’s important to know that he died on this day. He was executed after a teeth-straightening spell he performed went wrong, but after being terrified of death, he came back as a ghost and now lives at Hogwarts as the Gryffindor house ghost.
1981: Lily and James Potter are murdered by Voldemort
This is where the series begins. Lily and James are killed by Voldemort, and Harry survives, thus ending the first Wizarding War. The entire series is based on this one moment, so it’s a pretty important Halloween. October 31, 2015 marks the 34th anniversary of their death.
1991: A troll invades Hogwarts
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Professor Quirrell lets a troll into the castle. Everyone is understandably terrified by this dangerous creature, but it’s ultimately the event that sealed Harry, Ron, and Hermione as the three best friends that anyone ever had. Fortunately, Halloween was also the first time Professor Flitwick taught the Wingardium Leviosa spell, which Ron uses later that night to help defeat the troll.
1992: The Chamber of Secrets is opened
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ginny Weasley accidentally opens the Chamber on Halloween — the first time it’s been opened in 50 years. The basilisk was released, wreaking havoc to the school, and bringing everyone at Hogwarts to the realization that something sinister may be occurring.
1993: Sirius Black breaks into Hogwarts
Sirius Black escapes from Azkaban, and Hogwarts is put under lockdown as the wizarding world is under the impression that a dangerous criminal is on the loose. Sirius breaks into the castle on Halloween night, entering the Gryffindor tower to search for Ron’s pet rat Scabbers. Halloween 1993 is also the student’s first trip to Hogsmeade, and as always, the day is an emotional rollercoaster on all levels.
1994: Harry’s name is put into the Goblet of Fire
When Harry’s name is mysteriously entered into the Goblet of Fire on Halloween night, he’s forced to participate in the incredibly dangerous Triwizard Tournament despite being underage. The Tournament ends with Voldemort’s return, and the series as a whole takes a turn for the worse.
1997: The Deathly Hallows
While not directly related to Halloween, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows does hint at it. The word “Hallows” is derived from All Hallows Eve — a day dedicated to remembering the dead. As Harry approaches his final battle with Voldemort, he not only remembers the dead, but encounters them again as they walk him through his battle. Finally, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is based on the three Hallows in Beedle the Bard’s tale, which combined, helps the owner combat death itself.
What is your favorite Harry Potter Halloween moment? Tell us in the comments!