13 Book-Inspired Pumpkins

Fall has arrived, booklovers! As we bask in all things pumpkin spiced, let us not forget that the actual pumpkin still deserves our attention. That’s right, it’s pumpkin carving season and what better way to get your gourds in ghoulish order than to use themes based on iconic literary characters and books? No better way, we say. Need inspiration? Check out some of our favorite Instagram-worthy ideas below and break out the seed scooper. We’re willing to bet you’ll have the best pumpkin on the block.

1. Harry Potter


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Happy (Godric) Holloween! I asked #TheSPEWCrew to pick a pumpkin design, so today involved socking it to self-doubt and setting the WitchCrafter FREE ♥️ In the end, I’m proud of the result and am also amazed my fingers lived to tell the tale… albeit two plasters later! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but all I cared about was The SPEW Crew seal of approval. As you can see in the second photo, my CEO Sir Bumble (Chief Elf Operator) can definitely see a likeness, so I’m calling it #magicmanaged 🌟 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Have you made any potterhead pumpkins? 🎃 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #daretocreate #harrypotter #bibliophile #autumn #daysofsmallthings #potterhead #houself #dobby #halloween2018 #bookpumpkin #dobbyisfree #pumpkindecorating #hogwartshalloween #wizardingworld #afreeelf #myeverydaymagic

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Buy Guy Collections & Curiosities: When Brecah Met Harry

As a Half Price Books employee in the late 90s, Brecah started hearing a lot of buzz about a guy named Harry, and she wondered just who this fellow was. That’s where a love affair began—and has never ended.

Brecah has an ever-growing collection of all things Harry Potter: books (of course—some signed by author J.K. Rowling), movies, games, magazines, action figures and more.

I know a lot of our customers are just as fond of Harry as Brecah is, so in this, the third in our series of videos featuring our employees’ collections, Brecah shows us some of her treasures and lets us in on the magic spell of collecting Harry Potter.

We thank Brecah for sharing her Harry Potter collection with us. And to all of you HP (and HPB) fans out there, may Harry Potter books, movies and other delights continue to find their way from our shelves to yours! Fantastic Beasts hits theaters November 18.

Steve is the”Buy Guy” at Half Price Books Corporate.

Midnight Release Events: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


Can’t wait until morning?  Join us at participating Half Price Books locations on Saturday night, July 30, to get the latest in the Harry Potter story. Celebrate with fellow Potterheads and grab the new book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child when it goes on sale at midnight. **Passes available beginning at 10 p.m.** Pass required for book purchase. Limit two passes per customer, one book per pass. Books available for purchase as specially-priced new items while supplies last. No pre-orders. Check with your local HPB store to see when the party starts. Midnight Release Party at select HPB stores.



2036 Shattuck Ave.

39152 Fremont Hub

1935 Mt Diablo St.

7898 Dublin Blvd.

7975 Greenback Ln.

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A Grown-up Who Grew Up With Harry Potter

I was a junior in college when the first Harry Potter book was released. Needless to say, the series was not on my radar then, and it remained stealthily outside those bounds until I began substitute teaching after college. That’s when I first saw 12 and 13-year old children toting around the same book.

I finally asked, “What are you all reading?”

I got the definitive answer, “Oh! YOU HAVE GOT TO READ THESE BOOKS!”


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A Toast to J.K. Rowling

Here at HPB, we are huge fans of J.K. Rowling and her ever-popular Harry Potter series.
In honor of her birthday, we celebrate in true muggle fashion with a glass of Butterbeer.
Butterbeer is a deliciously frothy drink of sweet butterscotch and cream.
Here’s what you will need to make your own:


1 cup – ice cream
1 cup – crushed ice
1- 12 oz – bottle of cream soda or club soda
1/2 cup – butterscotch ice cream topping
Whipped cream and cinnamon for topping (optional)

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Top with whipped cream and cinnamon.


Stop by our stores or online, pick-up the whole Harry Potter collection and curl up with a nice cup of Butterbeer.


So let’s hear it, what is your favorite Harry Potter treat?

– Stephanie (muggle crafter)

Fiction Friday: The Night Circus — The Next Harry Potter?

It seems these days that everyone is obsessed with finding the next Harry Potter – and not necessarily a book that is like Harry Potter in content, but creates the same frenzy as Harry Potter. It is expected that The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which will be available to the public on September 13, will do just that.

The Night Circus starts out with a man, Hector, meeting his six year-old daughter, Celia. Hector then starts a challenge with a friend – who can bring up and teach a better magician. His friend picks a young boy named Marco. As they grow older, Marco and Celia learn more and more about true magic and exactly what they are capable of. In the end, only one of them can win. The circus is their dueling ground. Marco and Celia eventually fall in love and their future, along with the future of the circus, is endangered.

This novel is written in present tense, which makes it awkward at times, particularly in the beginning. It took me a while to get a “reading rhythm” going. I find it very odd that Morgenstern chose to write in present tense, when the chapters jump back and forth in time. Morgenstern is also very descriptive in her writing, which tends to bog down present tense. It’s beautiful writing, but at times is a bit much. For example:

“After the cacophony of shattering sugar, it does not take long for the diners to realize that, though the globes appeared identical, each of them has been presented with an entirely unique flavor.”

One nice touch was the sporadic use of second person narrative between some chapters. The use of second person allows the reader to be guided through the circus and experience it as the characters are. It is a very nice touch and at times gave me goose bumps:

“There is a sound like a woman laughing nearby, or perhaps it is only the rustling of the trees as you push your way forward, searching for the next door, the next room.

You feel the warmth of breath on your neck, but when you turn there is no one there.”

I’m not so certain that this book will create the next Harry Potter type frenzy amongst readers. One of the reasons everyone loves Harry Potter is the readability of the books. The Night Circus does not have that same type of readability, being hampered with flowery words and present tense. 

However, I loved the actual story. While reading, I became completely emotionally attached to Marco, Celia and even some of the other characters. I truly wanted everything to work out for them in the end. If you’re looking for a great story and are up for a bit of a reading challenge, though, I would highly recommend The Night Circus. Summit Entertainment (creator of the Twilight movies) has already claimed the rights to this movie and I’m really looking forward to it. This book has the potential to be a great movie.

 The Night Circus was my last #fridayreads on Twitter. Today, I’m reading Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray.

What’s your #fridayreads today? 

— Kristen B.

What is 13,694 x 600? (BW Can Do Math Too!)

Now that all 13, 694 participants have turned in their Feed Your Brain Summer Reading logs (with at least 600 minutes each), BW was able to sit down to figure out the approximate total number of minutes read this summer by kids all across the country (see him concentrating?)

DRUMROLL PLEASE . . . . BW is thrilled to announce the GRAND TOTAL is:

OVER* 8,216,400 Minutes Read!!!

*(Because we know that many of you bookworms read well beyond the 600 minute minimum, but BW only has so many fingers to count on.)

Anyway– Wahoo, guys! That’s a LOT of brain food! Said Maxwell, age  9, one of our Top Readers from San Antonio, “Thank you, Half Price Books, for the summer reading program. I’ve read lots of books with the gift cards. I’ve read the whole Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Captain Underpants and Magic Treehouse series. Thank you for the support. I can always find good books I like at a good price at your stores. P.S. We have to read 10-20 books every 6 weeks at my school, and Half Price Books always has what I want.”

Here are some of our Top Readers, who logged the most minutes in their stores’ age groups:



Clockwise from top left: Lorelei, Store 051 (Greenfield, WI); Kyanna, Store 041 (Madison, WI); Megan, Store 051; Peyton, Store 041; Jordan & Talia, Store 063 (Pittsburgh); Lydia Jay, Store 063.

We also had one very special reader, Kiara, whose dad is stationed overseas (first in Afghanistan, then Italy). Kiara was another Top Reader from our Madison store, and she and her mom Karen read over 7,000 minutes this summer! Karen said that she & Kiara read an average of 10 books per day, some of those being chapter books (and since Kiara is only 4, that’s a pretty big deal).

Give them a round of applause! (and one for you too– be sure to keep feeding your brains all school year!) 

 — Kate (and BW)