@Scrbblechick-- I wouldn't even attempt a character cake unless the pan was a nonstick one. I just wouldn't do it. And even then, I'd coat it in nonstick spray, for good measure.
I really like the shaped tube pans. I've seen some really great ones that were shaped like roses, had swirls around them, and even some shaped like a castle! Not a bad idea for a "Harry Potter" party. I've also seen the pans that were the mini tube pans, for individual cakes. Those have a lot of party potential, too. You could make individual cakes instead of one big one, and they would be different from frosted cupcakes.