Fall into the world of Harry Potter without hopping the pond

Calling all witch and wizard wannabes to a season filled with the magic of the Harry Potter stories!

This litery series and subsequent blockbuster movie phenomenon certainly took the world by storm, and folks in northern Illinois can get in on the action, at a Harry Potter -themed event this season.

One of the grandest of all Harry Potter locales is the Bennett-Curtis House in Grant Park, Ill. This turn-of-the-century Kankakee County mansion built in 1900 is set on spacious grounds shaded by 100-year-old maples and flanked by bubbling fountains, sweeping lawns, lush cool ferns, and colorful flowers. The interior is beautifully decorated featuring crown molding, oak trims inlay wood floors, moray cloth covered walls, stain glass, velvet drapery, and more.

Fully decorated in Hogwarts style, guests are treated to events that celebrate the stories and their characters: Hogwarts feasts in spring and fall,a holiday celebration in December, and even a birthday celebration for Harry himself during July.

The evenings typically will begin in the “dungeons” where attendees will be sorted into houses; while enjoying potions and brews from the Leaky Cauldron bar, and an assortment of appetizers. Then witches and wizards will cross onto Platform 9 3/4 and "travel" to Hogwarts for a spectacular family style dinner in the great hall. Be sure to study up on Harry Potter Trivia, because house members will go head to head with the other houses in a race for the house cup! There’s also the opportunity for special photos and interaction with live characters.

And for the slightly more mature wizards and witches, Bennett-Curtiss offers a formal event without the kids. The annual Yule Ball in December and January offers all the theatrical grandeur of the other themed events, paired with the accompaniments of cocktail and appetizer hour, a five-course gourmet dinner, specialty drinks and a champagne toast, and an evening of dancing. Formal wear or costumes are the dress for the evening.

Be sure to sign up for event updates online, as the array of Potter-themed parties changes throughout the year. Here’s what’s on tap for the coming months:

Hogwarts Fall Feast
NOV. 3-18

Ticket prices start at $50.


Costumes are encouraged but not required.

Adults and children are welcome.

Holidays at Hogwarts
DEC. 7-23 & JAN. 1-31

This event will include Harry Potter trivia, live characters, and a themed holiday meal. Costumes are encouraged but not required.
Adults and children are welcome.

Yule Ball

Tickets are $100 per person.

The event will include cocktail and appetizer hour, a 5-course dinner, themed drinks, non alcoholic drink selection, and after dinner dance and DJ from 8 p.m. -11 p.m. Guests are encouraged to come in formal wear and costumes but are not required.

This event is open to people ages 21 and older.

The Bennett-Curtis House is located at 302 W. Taylor Street in Grant Park, about 45 miles south of Chicago.