The Inception of the Potions Party

Friends, what you see below is the prototype I threw together after my special ladyfriend, Christine, told me about the most amazing place she visited in London. She found a bar called The Cauldron — part tavern, part Disney-like experience — and had all kinds of things to rave about. On one of our Facetime calls, we pondered how things might work there. She had a few photos and videos, and I’m a big geek with a background in tech and an affinity for immersive design. That weekend, after a quick Digi-Key order, I pulled out my Arduino prototyping board, warmed up the laser cutter, and had a little system with magnetic sensor (Hall effects transistor), animated twinkling keyhole, and servo motor.

Rough prototype for a potions cabinet

(A better quality version is also on YouTube.)

That was in July. I wasn’t able to visit The Cauldron when I was there in August, since the bar was a “pop-up” venue and had ended its run. But fast-forward a couple of months, and we made our own Cauldron-like experience as a combination birthday, Halloween, and Hogwarts Potions Class party. Everyone in attendance got a magnet-tipped magic wand and potions textbook, both for use that evening and as a souvenir.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to write about our four rooms (Common Room, Great Hall, Potions Class, and Forbidden Forest) and what sorts of encounters and theming folks could find in each. For the technically-inclined and impatient, you can skip ahead and browse our GitHub repository.

Potions cabinets and test tube carrier
Gear in varying states of doneness
Magic Wands (ours plus our Wizarding World wands)
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Brian Enigma

Brian Enigma is a Portlander, manipulator of atoms & bits, minor-league blogger, and all-around great guy. He typically writes about the interesting “maker” projects he's working on, but sometimes veers off into puzzles, software, games, local news, and current events.

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