Posted on: November 2, 2021 Posted by: Ariel Tattum Comments: 0

In the early 2000s, consumers were, well, consumed by all-things Harry Potter, and for good reason. The franchise encouraged fans to look for magic in the everyday. In 2001, Visual Merchandising Consultant Linda Cahan got ahead of the trend and encouraged retailers to embrace the fad and use it within their holiday displays in anticipation of the release of the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Cahan wrote: “The Harry Potter books touched off a renewed interest in all things magical. And the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, due out in November, should have everyone clamoring for tickets. You can use this magical phenomenon to your advantage in the coming holiday season.”

To incorporate elements of magic into holiday displays, Cahan had several ideas.

“Create magical windows by sticking stars of different sizes on the glass and rear wall of your display window. (If the window doesn’t have a rear wall, hang a piece of sheer, sparkly fabric from the ceiling and pull it taut to the floor.) Use 3″, 5″, and 8” vinyl stars, in any metallic or regular color you desire. Or use a combination of metallics and colors. Cover homosote or foam board with a metallic fabric that matches the stars. Use the boards to cover the floor of the window. Finally, add merchandise that complements the starry theme: for example, anything that is metallic or has a celestial theme. (One source for stars, The Sign Shop in Copiague, NY, can be contacted at (631) 226-4145 or

“Another magical image involves things that float in the air. One particularly effective ‘flotation device’ is the plastic globe containing merchandise and suspended from the ceiling of the display window. The 18″ and 24” globes come apart. Place sparkly ‘pixie dust’ or cotton batting sprinkled with sparkles in the base of the globe. Then place a gift item or two on the sparkling bed. The size and weight of the items should be commensurate with the size of the globe. (Carol Barnhart Inc. of New York, reachable at (212) 645-5130, carries globes that are strong enough to do the job.) To hang the globes, use monofilament fishing line with a 25- to 50-pound test rating.

“In the Harry Potter books, owls serve as magical messengers. Try painting a number of small birds (fake, of course) with a metallic gold paint. Hot-glue a beautiful ribbon to each of their beaks and let the ribbons fall gracefully down to gift items you have selected. Place each gift item on a riser that matches the color of the ribbon. If you have clear acrylic risers, cut a pad out of foam board for the top of the riser and cover it with a material that matches the ribbon.”

Read on if you’re looking to create some Harry Potter magic in your store this holiday season.

Throwback Thursday: Creating Magical Displays