Published on November 16th, 2015 | by Heather Botelho

Host a Once Upon a Time Fandom Program

Storybrooke: a quiet, little town in Maine that has something a little unusual about it. (Side Note: Anyone else notice that Maine is chock-full of unusual small towns? That’s a blog post for another day). What’s so unusual about Storybrooke, you may ask. It sounds delightful and charming… until you realize that its inhabitants aren’t exactly as they seem, and if you’re not careful, you might become the victim of dark magic, just as they were.

Once Upon a Time has aired on ABC since 2011, and for the past four years, it has kept its fairy tale characters constantly fighting some new evil, with the savior of Storybrooke being Emma Swan, the long-lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming who was sent through a portal to our world to escape the Evil Queen’s curse that covered all of the Enchanted Forest and brought them to Maine with only the memories of their fictitious lives. Since the series started, we’ve seen beloved characters change sides or even die, and of course, because ABC is owned by Disney, we’ve also seen the stories of new fairy tale characters, like Anna and Elsa in last season and Merida in the current season.

With so much drama, action, and intrigue, not to mention the events of the current season, the Teen Advisory Group selected Once Upon a Time as the Random Fandom for October. Random Fandom is a monthly program where the teens pick a fandom and create activities around it, and it has become our most popular teen program. If you want to run your own OUAT program, here’s what they did:

OUAT-Family-TreeFamily Tree

It’s nice to have something for them to do as they trickle in. One of the teens created Henry’s family tree, and as they got settled, the teens tried to figure out which characters would fill in the blank boxes. Once everyone was finished, the answer was revealed.

Try your hand at the figuring out the family tree (though, if you’re not caught up, this is your Spoiler Alert). Feel free to use this at your own OUAT event, and send me an email if you need the key!

Heart Crusher

In OUAT, those who possess magic can reach in and steal someone’s heart, which looks like a glowing red crystal the size of your fist, in case you were under the misconception that your heart is a muscle that pumps blood. By holding someone’s heart, you can control their every action, squeeze it and they feel pain, crush it and they die. Make this into a game by using balloons, red for most characters, black for the ones who have darkness in them, like Regina and Rumpelstiltskin, and gold for Henry, the truest believer. The way we played was in pairs. Each pair put the balloon between them and hugged until the balloon popped, if it ever did. It might make more sense to have smaller balloons and crush them in your hand, but they thought this way was hilarious.OUAT-Heart-Crusher

Heads Up

In the last post, I mentioned two ways to do Heads Up, but the teens came up with a third for Once Upon a Time. We have a projector in our program room, so instead of a sticky note to the forehead, the character, with pictures of their Storybrooke and fairy tale personas, was put up on the screen for everyone to see and provide clues to the guesser.


If you’re familiar with the game Mafia or Werewolf, you can use it as a basis for any theme you choose. (If you’re not familiar with the game, you can find plenty of sites explaining the instructions online). For OUAT, the heroes were pitted against the villains. The villains’ goal was to kill off all of the heroes without getting caught. The heroes’ goal was to find all of the villains before every hero died. Emma Swan had the special ability during the night to silently accuse someone and peek at their card, and the Blue Fairy could heal someone, including herself, and make them safe for that round.

While the roles were just on index cards, you could certainly go more elaborate. They played this more than once, so there was no time for trivia.


OUAT is fun and all, but November’s Random Fandom will be my favorite, Doctor Who! Stay tuned for more info, and if you want any more information about the Once Upon a Time Random Fandom or any fandom program, email me at!

About the Author

Heather is a Youth Services Librarian for the Flower Mound Public Library in Flower Mound, TX. When she's not arguing over which Doctor is the best (it's totally the 10th), she's frantically binge watching Netflix to keep up with the monthly fandom program she runs for teens or scoping out the new teen fiction that she's ordered for the collection. She loves tabletop games and is always looking for any excuse to play, so much so that Once Upon a Time and Gloom are regular staples of her teen writing program. It's her mission to create as many Whovians and Whedonites as she can (and to find that perfect book for each teen who comes looking).

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