Gollum HOBBITThis Dec. 14, Peter Jackson brings “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” to theaters. Bilbo Baggins and his group of dwarves travel to Lonely Mountain in search of treasure stolen by the dragon Smaug. J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit was published in 1937 and precedes The Lord of the Rings — as the tag line for this movie describes, “from the smallest beginnings come the greatest legends.” To celebrate this additional installment to the “Lord of the Rings” storyline, here are some ideas to bring some Middle-earth to your area of Philadelphia.
Midnight Movie Premieres UA Riverview Plaza Stadium 17
1400 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 755-2353

There is much excitement for hard-core fans of anything on release night. Theaters host midnight showings the evening/morning before the film is officially released, and guests try to pretend they didn’t plan costumes for weeks before the big night. See “The Hobbit” with your own mighty group of hobbits, or even go alone, knowing you’ll be in the company of some new friends. Most theaters (about 17) will have this title running in town. Other locations include the AMC theater at the Franklin Mills Mall or Loews in Cherry Hill, N.J. All three theaters are taking advanced ticket sales. This film will also be available in 3D and IMAX.

5321 W. Baltimore Ave.
Clifton Heights, PA 19108
(610) 259-1283

Most Denny’s locations are offering Middle-earth inspired foods for the opening of “The Hobbit,” such as a build-your-own Hobbit’s Slam, and Bilbo’s Berry Smoothie. Let your imagination and culinary curiosity take over your kitchen for some spectacular foods inspired by the the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Consider making “she-loaves,” which are mini-cornbread muffins with black cream cheese frosting; you can add licorice ropes to resemble spider legs. Another idea would be “Sauron eye balls,” aka deviled eggs with pimento-stuffed green olives on the yolk portion. Also try “Smaug in a blanket,” simple cocktail wieners or hotdogs cut in thirds, wrapped in crescent rolls and baked for 11 minutes at 350 degrees. For more ideas, visit the “Lord of the Rings Scrapbook” for more Middle-earth recipes.

Halloween Adventure
1100 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, Pa.19147
(215) 952-0980

Visit Halloween Adventure for your elf ears and cloaks. It has been in the business of costuming for more than 20 years. Halloween Adventure is open all year round and also sells accessories right in South Philadelphia. Shop for costumes for the premiere or for your own Middle-earth party (ask guests to arrive dressed as their favorite character!). Create your own themed decorations using fabric to make banners representing of the Kingdom of Gondor or the House of Rohan — don’t forget to make one saying, “Welcome to Middle-earth.” Have trivia games, translate words from elfish, sword fight and eat some Middle-earth food.

Related: Top Halloween Costumes in 2012

Lord of the Rings Viewing party Get Free Movies at The Philadelphia Free Library
1901 Vine St.
Philadelphia, PA. 19103
(215) 686-5322

If the hubbub of a full-on costume party isn’t your thing, then do a viewing party with a few friends. Get out or borrow any combination of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers” and “Return of the King” collectively have a running time of nearly 10 hours — 11 if you have the extended editions. Enjoy the evening (or weekend) watching all the movies and eating popcorn and Middle-earth inspired food. Refresh your memory before you go and see “The Hobbit.”

Related: Top Indoor Activities for Families in Philadelphia

Archery Classes at the B & A Archery Range
7169 State Road
Philadelphia, PA. 19135
(215) 333-3520

If you prefer a more hands-on or active approach to celebrating Middle-earth, the B & A archery range in Philadelphia is the largest in the city, and it also sells equipment. Take classes or participate in a 3D event on the weekend, in which groups are taken out to wooded locations to practice. Grab your band of dwarves and head out for some good times.

Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer covering all things Philadelphia. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.