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New Harry Potter Book Draws Hundreds To Hackensack

Costas Krassos of Dumont as his favorite character, Harry Potter, at the Countdown to Midnight Party at the Barnes and Noble in Hackensack. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Barnes and Noble Bookseller Steven Titus of Dumont called himself "Headmaster Titus" for the night. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Twins Kristina O'Neil, left, and Kayla O'Neil, right, of Oakland enjoying Harry Potter events with Charlotte Hibbea of Wyckoff, center. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Friends Emma Petersen, left, and Zaynah Majid sign the Muggle Wall at the Barnes and Noble in Hackensack. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
A crowd playing trivia games at the Slytherin table. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Ashley Pena of Bogota makes like an animated picture on the wall at Hogwarts. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Waiting for midnight, wands in hand. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Gwyneth O'Connor of Tenafly as her favorite Harry Potter character, Luna Lovegood. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
At the table for the House of Ravenclaw. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

HACKENSACK, N.J. — The Barnes and Noble in Hackensack looked more like Hogwarts Saturday night as hundreds gathered for the Harry Potter Countdown to Midnight Party.

The witching hour was the stroke of midnight, when J.K. Rowling’s latest in the series – “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two (Special Rehearsal Edition)” went on sale.

The book, which is the script of a play that opened in London Saturday , visits Harry 19 years later.

Harry and Hermione look-alikes walked around the store, waving wands and quoting from the Potter stories.

Dozens of teens and children dressed as Hogwarts students signed the Muggle Wall and played trivia games at four tables set up throughout the store, located at The Shops at Riverside on Route 4.

Each table represented one of the four Houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and Hufflepuff.

Nine-year-old Gwyneth O’Connor of Tenafly played games at the Slytherin table while dressed as her favorite character, Luna Lovegood.

“She’s unique and she sees a lot of crazy stuff that I love,” Gwyneth said. “And she’s really cool.”

Many fans who weren’t in costume had painted a lightning bolt on their foreheads, just like the one Harry got when Lord Voldemort tried to murder him.

One woman sported “Hufflepuff” in silver glitter on one side of her face.

Even some booksellers dressed like characters.

Ridgefield friends Emma Petersen and Zaynah Majid, both 20, signed the Muggle Wall.

“We grew up with Harry Potter,” Petersen said. “We were the same ages as the characters when the books were being released. That was really cool, at least for me.”

A theater major, she is excited that “Cursed Child” is a play because someday she may be able to act in it.

Majid was introduced to Harry and his friends by her babysitter, who would put on the movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

“I just sat there with my Cheetos and chocolate milk and watched it every single day,” she recalled. “My babysitter would also read the books as they were coming out.”

John Alberga, business development manager at the Hackensack Barnes and Noble, said it was great to see that the countdown event was multigenerational.

The celebration continues all day Sunday, starting at 8 a.m., at the Barnes and Noble at The Shops at Riverside with events and activities. It’s for those who missed the midnight party or fans who stayed up to read “Cursed Child” and want to be with kindred spirits to talk about it.

The Barnes and Noble on Route 17 in Paramus, where blue laws prohibit sales on Sundays, is hosting its Harry Potter event at 8 a.m. Monday. There will be giveaways while supplies last.

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