Trick or Treat: Costumes, Pumpkin Carving, Harry Potter Hogwarts School Halloween House Will Treat Visitors to Augmented Reality “Wizardry”

By Eric Albertson

At Duarte, Halloween is one of our favorite holidays and lets us flex our creative thinking and design skills every year – and this year is no exception. After months of planning, today we get to share our magical creations with our fellow co-workers as well as the broader San Jose, CA community. Kicking things off today will be our annual costume contest and the final votes will be tallied to determine the winners of our pumpkin-carving contest.

Duarte designers show off their talent in the annual pumpkin contest. Get inspiration for your own pumpkin carving, and vote for your favorite pumpkin here

Duarte Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest
Duarte Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest

Harry Potter: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Halloween House

The Albertson Halloween House is created by the community (neighbors, co-workers, school friends and more) in the Northside neighborhood in San Jose, CA having been a regular Halloween favorite for 15 years. The house is built using recycled or donated materials and welcomes 800-1,200 trick-or-treaters each year and is also a glow necklace distribution house to help kids remain safe on Halloween.

The Albertson Halloween House (free community event with no entry fee)

497 North 16 St., San Jose, Calif. 95112

Monday, October 31 from 6pm to 9pm


Harry Potter: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Halloween House, San Jose, CA, October 31, 2016 from 6pm-9pm
Harry Potter: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Halloween House, San Jose, CA, October 31, 2016 from 6pm-9pm

The theme for the 2016 Albertson Halloween House is Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where visitors will get to feel what it is like to be on the grounds of Hogwarts. After weeks of work, many people painting, cutting, building and helping, the time came to set everything up. On Friday, we set-up the backdrop structure and Saturday was the big moving day. We needed to find a way to move a 12 ft. X 22 ft. cathedral-like entrance to Hogwarts from our backyard and in to place in the front yard.

Here’s a link to some photos (photo credit: Bethany Lewis).

Building Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Building Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Visitors will “experience” Hogwarts School

Visitors to this giant Harry Potter themed Halloween house will walk past Hagrid’s hut and Platform 9 3/4 into the grounds of a 22 ft high Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Over 20 cosplayers, embodying Hogwarts teachers, students and other characters from the Wizarding world, will greet visitors and help to make this an unforgettable, immersive experience. In addition, the house will feature a photo op (at Platform 9 3/4) where visitors can snap a photo as they push a trunk-laden cart ‘through’ the barrier and alongside portraits that move, a giant spider, Hagrid’s hut, and more.

Cosplayers to be on site:

  • Hogwarts Students – Harry Potter, Hermione, Ron Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Cho Chang, Hufflepuff Quidditch Player, and more
  • Hogwarts Professors – Professor Dumbledore, Professor Snape, Hagrid, Professor Umbridge, Professor McGonagall, Professor Slughorn, Mad Eye Moody, Others
  • Others – Mrs. Weasley, baby Harry Potter, Quidditch fans

Special Guests:

Keep an eye out for magical items (can you spot them all?):

  • Horcruxes –Tom Marvolo’s ring, Ravenclaw’s diadem, Hufflepuff’s cup, Slytherin’s locket, Tom Riddle’s diary
  • Treasures – The Tri-Wizard Cup, the Sword of Gryffindor, the Sorting Hat
  • Other Items – Moving portraits, floating candles, potions from Snape and Professor Slughorn’s stock, Dumbledore’s penseive (complete with case for storing vialed memories)

Augmented Reality: HP Aurasma and Harry Potter Spells Apps

In addition to the immersive scene, the house will feature several augmented reality experiences. Using the HP Aurasma app (a free app that enables augmented reality on iPhone, Android, etc.) items viewed through the app will come to life.

HP Aurasma App-enabled Magic on Halloween
HP Aurasma App-enabled Magic on Halloween

Items which will come to life with Aurasma:

  • ‘Have You Seen This Wizard?’ poster – The photo of Sirius Black moves, showing him fighting against his restraints before being taking to Azkaban
  • ‘He Who Must Not Be Named Returns’ poster (on brick wall) – Bricks move away to reveal a hole through which you can see Diagon Alley (and a dragon that passes by and breathes fire)
  • ‘Myrtle Missing’ poster – ghost of Moaning Myrtle appears to welcome you to Hogwarts
  • ‘Support Cedric’ buttons (worn by cosplayers) – animates, changing its message first to ‘True Champion’ and then to ‘Potter Stinks’

For more information and instructions for how to access those experiences through your phone, see this blog post:

You Tube Video with instructions:

Visitors are also encouraged to utilize the Harry Potter Spells app, which turns a phone into a wand. This free app allows you to learn the wrist movement for Harry Potter spells and even duel with a friend.

Everyone is invited to come to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry tonight. We hope to see you there!

Topics Covered

Events, Storytelling, Visual thinking

Written by

Eric Albertson

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