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"I bet there aren't many living people who can say they've been to one of those!"
Hermione Granger judging if it was a good idea to go[src]

The five-hundredth Deathday Party of the ghost Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, who haunted Hogwarts Castle as the Ghost of Gryffindor Tower, was a celebration thrown by said ghost, commonly called Nearly-Headless Nick, (as his head hung on by an inch of skin), to commemorate the day he died. The Party included a candlelit dinner of rancid, moulded food, the smell of which would gag a normal living human.[1]

The ghost orchestra playing at the Deathday Party were playing the musical saw.[1]

The Headless Hunt attended the party. They are described like "a dozen horses with headless riders". There also was a game of Head Hockey, by the Hunt.[1]


"Well, this Hallowe'en will be my five-hundredth deathday."
Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington to Harry Potter[src]

Sir Nicholas was sentenced to death by beheading after a teeth-straightening spell went awry on a woman named Lady Grieve. Unfortunately, the executioner assigned to decapitate Nick had a blunt axe. Thus, even after forty-seven hacks into his neck, Nick's head was only partially severed. Sir Nicholas was executed on the dawn of 31 October, 1492.[3]

After this point, Nick returned as a ghost due to his fear of death and presumably held a deathday party every year for five centuries to mark the anniversary of the day he died.[1]


"My dear friends. Welcome, welcome ... so glad you could come ...."
— Nick greeting his guests[src]

In honour of the event, Sir Nicholas took the liberty of decorating one of the castle's roomier dungeons with black candles, which gave off a bluish glow and many black hangings.

He also ordered a variety of food that had been tainted to make it stronger, and therefore more likely to be possible for ghosts to taste. This food included large, rotten fish on handsome silver platters, cakes burned charcoal-black, heaped on salvers, maggoty haggis, mouldy cheese, and, in pride of place, an enormous grey cake in the shape of a tombstone, which had his name and date of death written on it in tar-like frosting.[1]

Last but not least, Nicholas hired a ghostly orchestra to play the musical saw, and provided them with a black-draped raised platform for them to perform on.[1]


Guest Note(s)
Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore Sir Patrick, the leader of the Headless Hunt, attended the party along with a group of his huntsmen. Patrick managed to offend Sir Nicholas by pointing out that he was not properly decapitated, but the other guests found him quite amusing.[1]
Headless Hunt See above.
Fat Friar The Fat Friar was talking with a knight with an arrow sticking out of his forehead.[1]
A group of gloomy nuns This group of nuns were standing near the dance floor.[1]
Ragged man wearing chains This chained man was standing quite close to the group of nuns.[1]
A knight with an arrow sticking out of his forehead This knight was talking with the Fat Friar. It is possible that he is the ghost of Harold II (1022? - 1066), the last Saxon king of England. He was defeated at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 by William the Conqueror when an arrow pierced his eye.[1]
Portly ghost This portly ghost was floating through the table of mouldy food with his mouth open, and remarked to Hermione Granger that he could "almost" taste it.[1]
Wailing Widow Nick took particular pleasure that the Wailing Widow arrived all the way from Kent.[1]
Myrtle Warren Myrtle Warren and Peeves fell out during the party, due to Peeves overhearing Hermione's conversation with Harry and Ron, in which she mentioned how awful the toilet she haunted was. The argument ended in Moaning Myrtle crying and Peeves throwing fungus-covered peanuts and crying "Spotty! Spotty!".[1]
Peeves Attended the party to generally cause mischief and annoy the other guests.[1]
Bloody Baron Avoided by the other ghosts.[1]
Grey Lady She was talking to another ghost near the table of mouldy food.[2]
Harry Potter A guest of honour, whom Nick tried to persuade to tell the Headless Hunt about how scary he found him.[1]
Hermione Granger Commented on the fact that not many living people are invited to Deathday parties.[1]
Ron Weasley Would have rather attended the Hogwarts Hallowe'en Feast.[1]

Behind the scenes

  • Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington died in 1492, and is celebrating his 500th deathday anniversary. This fact allows us to find the exact date of the setting of the second book, therefore, allowing us to record the dates of the events of the Harry Potter series against this date.
  • Although this event occurred 489 years earlier, Nearly Headless Nick's deathday is on the exact day as Harry's parents death day, the 31st October.
  • Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party is completely omitted from the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.


Notes and references