Halloween A Great Time To Visit Harry Potter’s World


Halloween! It’s finally here — the holiday that revolves around stepping out as an alter-ego and eating candy. I love it!

Of course, we in Florida are especially lucky because we have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter which, while not Halloweeny per se, serves as a nice alternative any time of year. And because I am almost childlike in my excitement regarding the holiday, I have been to Harry’s world four times this year… so far.

Last week I was there with my brother Jim from Texas, whom I adore, and his wife Linda, who is as close as a sister to me as a sister-in-law can get. These two have been together since high school, and I get a kick out of seeing how they interact. They’ve had plenty of time to work out all the bugs.

That’s why Linda didn’t tell Jim where they were going beyond “Orlando.”

“It’s bad enough that he’ll stop at every rock shop and alligator farm along the way,” she said. “But he has serious reservations about witchcraft and wizardry.”

I had to reply with our family’s time-honored excuse for anyone being a buzz-kill: “He thinks too much.”

At the end of the day, Jim was able to put thinking aside long enough to enjoy Harry Potter and his theme park world. It worked its J.K. Rowling magic on him, and he had a good time. His only complaint was that children were proudly walking around drinking beer (non-alcoholic butterbeer, that is). I pointed out that there was, after all, a precedent in root beer, and hadn’t he himself proudly sucked on candy cigarettes as a child? (Yes, young ones, that was once a thing.)

Still, as a reward for not freaking out at the first sight of a kid in a black robe, we took him over to Seussville to marvel at the creatures that comprise the Dr. Seuss carousel. And I — finally! — had someone to go on the Hulk roller coaster with me, probably my favorite. He even waited extra-long so we could be in the front row.

As a writer, being surrounded by fictional characters in their picture-perfect fictional worlds gives me great joy. There is no doubt in my mind that people like Rowling, Walt Disney and Theodor Seuss Geisel were told that they were dreamers and that they had to grow up, get real, and make a living that mattered. They were probably even told that they “think too much.”

What they had in common was bravery — a different kind of bravery that allowed them to believe in the characters they created and to fight every obstacle to bring their fictional worlds to life. We are the beneficiaries of that bravery.

It makes me wonder, though, about the fictional worlds we’ve missed because their creators were not brave in that way. How many car mechanics, office managers and dentists are out there “making a living that matters” simply because they were afraid to take a chance to write the fiction in their heads?

Go, writers!