Halloween at Hogsmeade

 a sign at one of the entrances to "Hogsmeade"

This past weekend my boyfriend and I took a trip down to Southern California for Halloween. We spent our first day out there at Universal Studios Hollywood, and most of the time we spent at Universal was at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I grew up with Harry Potter, the age of the trio roughly coinciding with my own age as the books came out. I still find going back and reading the books to be very comforting, so it was fun getting to immerse myself in that world again.

The Wizarding World section of Universal is modeled after Hogsmeade village in winter. Fake snow covers all the buildings, which clashes oddly with the balmy Southern California weather, but looks beautiful. It was a bit overcast the day we were there, so it definitely looks nice and cool in the photos. You wouldn't know that I'm just out of shot, sweating from running about in the heat.

The store fronts all look beautiful, though you can't enter every building. The shops you can't enter are still decorated nicely so you can see interesting details when you peer through the windows, and often the storefront displays are interactive. If you purchase the right type of wand and cast a spell in the right way in front of a window you can make parts of the display move. I didn't get a chance to try it out myself (I left wandless, unfortunately) but it was fun watching other people try it out!

Honeydukes is filled with a variety of sweets mentioned in the books; Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Sherbet Lemon (Dumbledore's favorite), etc. I picked up a Chocolate Frog that contained a Rowena Ravenclaw trading card and a Pumpkin Juice, which I was pleasantly surprised to find contained some actual pumpkin (though it's still mostly apple juice). I'm keen to attempt to recreate the drink at home soon.

In Hogsmeade there's a recreation of The Three Broomsticks, where you can get food and drink. The food is fine, but I was able to finally get a Butterbeer, which was quite good if you're into that sort of thing (it's very sweet).

As I understand it Universal in Orlando has a functioning recreation of the Hogwarts Express, but the one at Universal Hollywood is stationary and just for show. Still, most of the day they have a conductor standing in front of it for photo ops.

And here I am, full geek, trying on my house robes. I was (and continue to be) in denial about getting sorted into Slytherin. I've always thought of myself as a Ravenclaw. But, I've been sorted into Slytherin something like 3 times now, so I'm just starting to accept it, haha.