Primus Ave. To Become World of Harry Potter Again This Halloween

For the second consecutive year, Primus Avenue will again be transformed into the world of Harry Potter on Halloween night, Tuesday, Oct. 31

Between 4 to 10 p.m., the gates to the cobblestone alleyway, located near the corner of West Cedar and Phillips streets, will be open as the area becomes Diagon Alley – a “wizarding” alley and marketplace from the Harry Potter tales. Here, they will find Gringotts Bank, The Owl Emporium, Leaky Cauldron, Olivander’s Wand Shop, Borgin and Burkes, and Knockturn Alley, among other fictional locales from the Harry Potter universe, said Brian Sullivan, one of the event organizers and a resident of the Primus Avenue condos for the past 11 years.

Richard “Rick” Foster designed this Diagon Alley sign for the Harry Potter-themed Halloween celebration on Primus Avenue.

In the corner of the courtyard, four tables will be set up beneath tents – each one representing one of the four houses from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – where candy will be distributed to trick-or-treaters.

Three “hyperlocal” charities have been selected to spotlight at the event, including Women’s Lunch Place, Community Servings, and Animal Rescue League, said Sullivan, and their respective QR codes will be posted on site to encourage guests to support the organizations.

While Sullivan and his neighbors had long been discussing how much Primus Avenue resembles Diagon Alley, it wasn’t until last year that around 15 families from the Primus Avenue condos decided to make it a reality for Halloween.

“We’ve always thought of Primus Avenue as magical, and we want to share this magic with everyone in the community on Halloween,” according to a statement from the event organizers. “It is all about community and providing a space and opportunity to bring folks together.”

Sullivan said the response last year was “phenomenal,”  even though the event didn’t benefit from any advance promotion or marketing.

In the more than a decade that Sullivan has lived on Primus Avenue, Sullivan said the group typically puts candles on the gate to the courtyard and distribute candy to about 20 to 30 trick-or-treaters each Halloween.

Last year, however, the group distributed glow wands to only the youngsters that Sullivan estimates accounted for about 30 percent of the individuals who came (with the remaining 70 percent being adults).

During the event’s first two hours, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., the group distributed 960 glow wands to young trick-or-treaters. He estimates probably 5,000 guests visited Primus Avenue in all over the course of Halloween evening last year.

Sullivan believes the event has proven particularly popular with adults, since it allows them to relive their own Harry Potter memories from childhood.

Planning for this year’s Halloween celebration on Primus Avenue began about a month ago, with organizers meeting every Wednesday night to discuss the event, with Sullivan’s partner, Kiera Fredericksen, leading the process.

 Besides the participating Primus Avenue residents themselves, neighbors from Phillips and West Cedar streets, among other nearby streets, have also been on hand at the planning sessions to lend their support, and to pitch in where they can.

“People just wanted to help,” said Sullivan. “We really struck a nerve, It’s really cool.”

During the summer, Sullivan and his neighbors  set up a projector in the Primus Avenue courtyard on Wednesday nights for public screenings of family-friendly movies, such as “Despicable Me 2,” “The Princess Bride,” and “Top Gun.” Guests would bring takeout food and mingle with their neighbors at these community outings.

The Primus Avenue residents who are organizing the Harry Potter-themed Halloween celebration and sponsored the summer movie-nights also won first and second place in the Storefront, Organization or Main Street District category in the Mayor’s 2023 Garden Contest Awards Ceremony (i.e. “Garden Enthusiasts at Primus”).

“Primus Avenue is really a beautiful space we can utilize to build community,” said Sullivan. “We have benefited greatly from living in this wonderful corner of Beacon Hill over the years, and we enjoy sharing the beauty and magic of Primus Ave with our neighbors.”

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