One of the best parts of having a backyard is hosting outdoor games and activities. This is especially exciting if you love to throw parties throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons. For something a little different than the usual cornhole or croquet, try organizing a game of Quidditch. This competitive sport is from Harry Potter, the widely famous fictional series by J.K. Rowling. And while we don’t live in an enchanted world of flying broomsticks and magical spells, this doesn’t mean that we can’t adopt this sport as an exhilarating backyard game. Here’s how!
Step 1 — Gather the Materials
Before constructing a backyard Quidditch game, you will need to purchase and gather the necessary supplies. You can find these supplies at most general stores. Alternatively, you can visit craft, toy, and hardware stores if you cannot find everything in one place. Don’t forget to check your garage, basement, or shed; there is a good chance you already have a few of these items on hand.
Step 2 — Clear the Backyard
In order to host a successful Quidditch match, your backyard should be free of debris, toys, and other equipment. This also includes patching up any small ditches and removing rocks and sticks. The space will double as the playing field. Quidditch is an extremely active game and will entail a lot of running and movement. Ultimately, a clean backyard will ensure the safety of all the players.
Step 3 — Make the Goals
Each team will have three goals. Each goal will be made out of one hula hoop taped to a yard stick. The finished shape should resemble a lollipop; the yard stick should not obstruct the open space of the hoop.
Make sure to use enough duct tape to firmly secure the yard stick. Alternatively, you can tie rope around each hoop and hang them from tree branches. You can also use a combination of the yard stick and rope methods, depending on how your backyard is set up. If you use yard sticks (or metal poles), you'll need to place them in the ground so that they are secure during the game.
Regardless of how your goals are made, there should be three on either side on either side of the “field”.
Tip: Spray paint your goals for a more unified and wizardy-look.
Step 4 — Choose the Teams and Players
A Quidditch competition involves two teams of seven players: three chasers, two beaters, one keeper, and one seeker.
Each team should be given a name and matching uniforms. Uniforms can be matching shirts, color-coded bandanas, or crazy capes. And they can be any color or pattern that the team wants. As long as it is clearly different than the opposing team, then you’re good to go. A 15th player should act as the referee.
Step 5 — Explain the Rules
Now, here’s the fun part. The chasers of each team will play offense. Their aim is to take possession of the quaffle, which is much like a puck in a hockey, and throw it into one of the hoops of the opposing team.
Meanwhile, the beaters play defense. They use the smaller foam or dodge balls, also known as bludgers, to tag the opposing team’s chasers. If a chaser is tagged, they are temporarily out. This can be indicated by sitting or standing still for 10 seconds. Alternatively, 10 points can be deducted from the total when a chaser is hit.
Lastly, the keeper of each team should block the goals. Once they catch the quaffle, they can throw it back into the field. The beaters and seekers are not allowed to come in contact with the quaffle.
Step 6 — Throw the Snitch
At some point during the game, the snitch should be released. Often, this is done at the beginning of the match. In the magical world of Harry Potter, the snitch is able to fly and hide around the stadium. In the real world, a small bouncy ball can be released.
For best results, use a ball that cannot be easily found in the grass. This may mean spray painting the ball to blend in easily. If a seeker from either team finds the snitch, his or her team earns 150 points and the game is over.
Step 7 — Adjust the Rules
Like most backyard games, you are allowed to tweak the rules to your liking. For example, you can designate a different amount of points to each of the three hula hoop goals. To make the game more challenging, you can use mini basketball hoops instead of hula hoops.
You can also adjust the team sizes as necessary. This can come in handy if you are hosting a party and have more than 14 individuals who want to play quidditch. You also do not have to use the brooms. While it can add to the playfulness of the game, it is also very difficult to run with them.
Another option is to play this game in an open space such as a cul-de-sac with roller blades.