The final Harry Potter movie premiered this weekend, making a lot of people happy (new HP movie!) and sad (last HP movie!) and happy (a chance to wear a wacky costume!) all at once. I tried to buy a ticket to the midnight screening at the Senator two weeks in advance, and I could swear I heard the online ticketing system laughing at me. This is one of those events that probably sold out even before they made the movie. (I watched it Sunday afternoon instead, and there was still a packed house and at least two kids in full Hogwarts uniform.)

But the real fans used whatever magic or manipulation to get a ticket. Kids were lined up outside the theater as early as 6 p.m. And one brave soul, Justin Gietka, ventured out on opening night in full Sorting Hat regalia. Yeah, you read that right. He watched the movie dressed as a human-sized hat.  In his own words:

“I was mobbed by preteen girls in costumes. Posed for a thousand pictures, was interviewed by high school papers, college papers and The Sun. Got completely wasted at Zen West, dressed as a hat. Danced across the stage at The Senator while a thousand kids chanted SORTING HAT, SORTING HAT and tripped and fell on my hatface. Sorted a hundred kids into Huffledrunk,  Fluffinpuff, Slitherhook, Fluffindore. And passed out an hour into the movie.”

And maybe that’s the real Harry Potter magic, at least in this muggle world we live in:  only J.K. Rowling can convince grown men to dress up as giant hats.

(Full disclosure:  Gietka is my roommate. The sorting hat costume is currently in my living room, looking a little worse for wear.)