In Santa Barbara, the prevailing attire is jeans and T-shirts, so when a woman shows up at your house clad in a cloak, large top hat, and thick glasses, you may think it’s a visit from a Hogwarts professor. More likely it is Morbidia Schleppenphal, who hosts wizard-themed events — her outfit is just part of the immersive illusion she creates.
A self-proclaimed “Special Agent for the Ministry of Magic,” Schleppenphal got into the wizarding party business after being teased by her brother for ordering Harry Potter wand replicas online. “You should join the Wand of the Month Club,” he chided. His ribbing, however, gave her an idea: Clearly, there is a market for all things enchanted.
Three years later, Schleppenphal is now a party conjurer, facilitating the functions to ensure that even minor details from J.K. Rowling’s novels are re-created. Party packages include Letters of Acceptance to Hogwarts, Licenses to Apparate, and Broom Parking Permits. (It’s unclear who would ask to see these documents, but young wizards have the assurance that their brooms won’t be towed.) Schleppenphal also makes wands for the occasion. Just as in Harry Potter, these wands are said to “choose the wizard,” she said, although Schleppenphal does keep the recipient in mind when selecting each wand. She also places each party guest in one of four houses — Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin — through an official Sorting Hat Ceremony.
After two hours of dramatic readings and games conducted by Schleppenphal, the party culminates in a House Cup Ceremony to celebrate the team with the most game points. Those familiar with the Harry Potter series will remember “butterbeer,” a drink served both hot and cold with notes of butterscotch. Schleppenphal will re-create the butterbeer flavor in cupcake form for the party guests.
A former educator, Schleppenphal and her brother, Handon Slammendor, also publish a quarterly newsletter, The Magic Word, a compilation of wizard stories and announcements. This is sent out to all members of the National Wand Association, another Schleppenphal creation.
Party bookings can be made online at morbidiaschleppenphal.com.