Helping women with chronic illnesses

Happy Harry Potter Halloween

Above image courtesy of TM/MC & Warner Bros. Entertainment (from my daughter’s Hallmark b-day card, which also came w/a handy, Harry Potter lightning scar temporary tattoo… Brilliant!)

I have written before on many occasions about how important it is to not allow chronic illness and chronic pain to “take over” our lives. While there are times that our illnesses can be totally debilitating and make it near-impossible to function, there are other times where it is very helpful to have distractions and fun because a life focused 100% on the pain and other symptoms of chronic illness is pretty dreary. In living with chronic illness/pain for 27 years, I have learned the importance of grasping the fun moments to bridge between the anything-but-fun times. Laughter really is the best medicine.


Harry doesn’t let severe scar pain stop him.
(I try not to let pain stop me either).

Those of you familiar with the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling know that students in the Gryffindor House are known for their bravery. (Those of us with chronic illnesses know that bravery often comes in handy just for daily functioning)!

As Halloween approached this year, we decided to do something we’d never done before. We don’t normally dress up for Halloween as a family. However, my daughter is currently a wee bit obsessed with the Harry Potter series. So my husband and I cooked up this idea where we could all dress up as Harry Potter characters.


Hermione Granger & Professor McGonagall on the chilly grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

The three costumes available (since we wanted Gryffindor costumes) were for Professor McGonagall, Hermione Granger, and Harry Potter. The initial plan was for my daughter to play Hermione (this was an easy call since she’s a brilliantly smart girl and can do the best English accent I’ve ever heard an American girl do before), have my husband play Harry, and I would play Professor McGonagall. After all, Harry is a boy and Professor McGonagall is a woman.

However, after giving it a bit of thought, I cooked up an idea.


(Cooking up an idea required a cauldron, of course).

It occurred to me that my short, dark brown hair would make me a much more convincing Harry than my light-haired husband could. With a little convincing, I got him to agree to play Minerva McGonagall (heehee) while I played Harry.

I’m quite sure you’ll agree that we are all very convincing for our respective parts…


If I do say so myself, I think we really pulled it off with our Harry Potter Halloween costumes. Wouldn’t you agree?

If you haven’t read the Harry Potter books yet, I highly recommend them. After my January 2008 surgery, I read all seven books in the series straight through. Since it was a difficult surgery followed by complications and I was in very bad shape, I was very grateful to have the Harry Potter books to entertain, distract, and engage my mind at a time when I was in unspeakable pain. Let’s just say that I found my inner Gryffindor during the weeks following that surgery… It didn’t go as planned and I have (permanent) nerve damage; it was during the excruciating surgery recuperation that I was able to let my mind escape, if only a bit, from the pain… by reading.

A dear friend of mine had been urging me to read the series and the timing worked out perfectly for me to read it when I did. I am so thankful to her. I can’t imagine what that surgery recovery would have been like without the books.


Harry’s scar pain was debilitating at times. However, he coped with it as best he could.

We all do our best to cope with the hands we’re dealt, even when they include pain.

The books allowed me to cope with extraordinary physical pain and it helped me emotionally too because I was in such trauma over the surgery results that I needed a mental escape. Books as engrossing as Harry Potter were a good fit for me during that difficult time. The surgery-related nerve pain that I deal with to this day was in it’s early days at that point. I was learning how to cope with it and it wasn’t easy.

I’m going to close with some quotes from the three characters we played for Halloween. These are from various books from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series:

I just had to include this one… but I should mark it as a SPOILER ALERT.

“I wonder,” said Professor McGonagall in cold fury, turning on Professor Umbridge, “how you can expect to gain an idea of my usual teaching methods if you continue to interrupt me? You see, I do not generally permit people to talk when I am talking.”
~~ Professor McGonagall

“I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed – or worse, expelled. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to bed.”
~~ Hermione Granger
(Anyone familiar with Hermione knows that she’d find expulsion from school a fate worse than death).

โ€œWe teachers are rather good at magic, you know.โ€
~~ Professor McGonagall

“Why were you lurking under our window?”
“Yes — yes, good point, Petunia! What were you doing under our windows, boy?”
“Listening to the news,” said Harry in a resigned voice.
His aunt and uncle exchanged looks of outrage.
“Listening to the news! Again?”
“Well, it changes every day, you see,” said Harry.
~~ Exchange between Harry Potter and his aunt and uncle

“At least no one on the Gryffindor team had to buy their way in. They got in on pure talent.”
~~ Hermione Granger

“I like a quiet life, you know me.”
~~Harry Potter

“Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have.”
~~ Hermione Granger

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright ยฉ Jeanne โ€” All rights reserved.

New to blog commenting? Just click “comments” below post. (If you set up a Gravatar, your picture will show when you comment).

Reading: Happy Harry Potter Halloween


1 Susie CollinsNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 3:41 am }

I love it! Good job!
.-= Susie Collins´s last blog ..Documentary film: Locavore =-.

2 YayaNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 7:45 am }

You are AWESOME! Great post! Love that you guys dressed up. You sure do look just like the real thing. ๐Ÿ™‚
.-= Yaya´s last blog ..Yaya Stuff Updates =-.

3 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 8:43 am }


Thanks! I appreciated your Facebook comment too. I liked it when Professor McGonagall and Hermione Granger took a stroll on the grounds of Hogwarts. I never dressed up like a book character before. It was fun. I had planned to just draw on a lightning scar… until I laid eyes on the temporary tattoo… which worked perfectly. It all fell into place.


4 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 8:47 am }


Thanks! It all worked out. We never did anything like that before. I thought the likenesses of Professor McGonagall and Hermione Granger were particularly convincing. Didn’t you? ๐Ÿ™‚


5 endochickNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 10:38 am }

Wonderful post and wickedly awesome costumes! What a brilliant idea!!! I love getting lost in a good book, or a good series of books. I’ve yet to read these books – mainly because they are youth lit and I dread reading youth lit. Also another reason I’ve steared clear of the Twilight series. But I’ve heard they are written intellectually and not like most YAL. So, perhaps I will try and expose my son to it and we will read them together sometime.

Next year, my family is considering dressing up as the Star Wars family: Queen Amadala or Padme (me), Darth Vader (my hubby), Luke Skywalker (my son), and Princess Leia (my daughter). We are big Star Wars nuts. I wouldn’t be against doing Star Trek either, but can’t convince the kids on that one. ๐Ÿ™
.-= endochick´s last blog ..Article โ€“ โ€œOverpriced Poison?โ€ =-.

6 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 11:09 am }


Thank you! It was fun. We’d never done anything like this before. My daughter loves the Harry Potter series so much that it just worked out perfectly. As I mentioned in the post, I decided to read this series at the urging of my one friend. She and I are very much on the same page. So, I knew anything she was that enthusiastic about must be good.

Prior to that… I had heard all of the hype about the books and movies and I had, quite honestly, tuned it out. Anything marketed that heavily I tend to tune out. So, I’m grateful that my friend urged me to read the books because they really are excellent! I wouldn’t get hung up on labels for categories of books. This may well be the best series of books I’ve ever read. Do they appeal to children? Yes. However, they definitely appeal to adults as well. While many of the main characters are children, there is plenty for adults to appreciate. Seriously.

Also, they are GREAT books for reading aloud with doing all the different voices of the characters and using the English accent!

There’s humor, mystery, drama, ethical issues, fantasy, bravery, creativity, “good vs. evil”, magic… It’s just wonderful! Some of the books (especially as you get further into the series) do get into some dark topics. So, if you are going to read them with your son… you might want to read them yourself first so that you’ll know when he’s ready for it. That’s basically what I did. I read the whole series myself when my daughter was too young for it.

Now, we are reading it as a family. We’re on book 6 out of 7. Some of it she reads to herself and some of it we take turns reading at bedtime. If we’re in the car, my husband drives and I read it aloud. We started book 1 when school let out in June. So we’ve been reading Harry Potter books since then. (We’re actually keeping a pretty good pace… as the books are long).

There are definitely some parts that are too scary for young children. So, I would recommend pre-screening it. Harry Potter books are so awesome. Trust me, you won’t mind reading or hearing them more than once. J.K. Rowling is a genius. I cannot tell you how imaginative and creative these books are. They are so well-written.

I too have steered clear of the Twilight series. I read something somewhere about it that made it sound like there was violence against women in it or something (?) and it just turned me off. I’m just going on memory here about what I had read about it. I honestly can’t remember what specifically was said but it just sounded creepy to me. So, I haven’t read those books.

I definitely would like to see pictures of your family dressed up as Star Wars characters. So, please be sure to show me pictures when you do that. ๐Ÿ™‚

You are too funny. Don’t your kids want to be Spock with pointy ears? Haha.


7 Jannie FunsterNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 2:31 pm }

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I note the blackness of your hair is divinely dark and uniform in its perfection, showing your forehead decoration to its full and awesome delight!

And man, you’re lucky to have such sweeping fields to frolic upon. Do you get any herds of roaming wildebeests there? Camel trains passing by? Buffalo tromping your grass down?

.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Babyโ€™s First Halloween =-.

8 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 3:30 pm }


Why thank you, Grannie Jannie! You are ever so sweet!

You noticed that my sweet hubby did, in fact, color my hair on Halloween with the special chemical-free hair coloring I had mentioned to you… that I mail ordered about 2 months ago from Amazon but was afraid to use after a bad history reacting even to products that were marketed as safe alternatives?

Yes, oh yes, my hubby acted as hairstylist right in our kitchen. Aww! Right? Yes, he deserves an “aww” because it smelled nasty. However, it didn’t smell anywhere near as nasty as the previous natural hair coloring that I had tried before bailing early for a blotchy neck. So I got through it. This one smelled bitter like a strong combination of dill pickles and pepper (both of which I hate). The previous product smelled like pot and made me feel as if I would surely vomit. My sister had tried putting that one on me. We agreed that all it did was create a terrible “pot head” syndrome (hee hee) that nearly knocked us out the smell was so strong. (That experience is why I was afraid to try again). So, I was grateful this product was much easier to tolerate smell-wise.

This product sat on my head for the whole 90 minutes. Once we stuffed paper towels between the elastic band on the hair cap and my skin (because my latex allergy was screaming at me the minute the cap went on), I was fine. My first successful MCS-friendly hair coloring session. Woo hoo! Buh bye silver spots. No more skunk head. Yay! Halloween was the final push to just try the hair coloring since Harry obviously doesn’t have silver temples and I wanted to look as convincing as possible. Oh, you noticed that I took great pains to make sure my Harry scar was visible? Oh yes. Very important part of the costume. ๐Ÿ™‚

Hogwarts really does have splendid grounds upon which to frolic. None of the animals you mentioned, no. Hogwarts does, however, get an occasional hippogriff… some blast-ended skrewts… and an enormous number of owls. That Forbidden Forest you saw in the distance contains magical creatures. I would be more descriptive but I’d hate to spoil the books for you. So, it’s probably best for you to learn about the inhabitants of the Forbidden Forest directly from the books.


P.S. By the way, I am very grateful for Susie of The Canary Report for sending me the link of hair coloring products for dark brown hair (from within the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database) that enabled me to find a chemical-free hair coloring product that I was able to tolerate. Thanks, Susie!

9 JNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 3:56 pm }

Great post! You had E and I both laughing and smiling! ๐Ÿ™‚
I have some other book recommendations I could make if you’d like some great books to read! ๐Ÿ™‚
.-= J´s last blog ..I didnโ€™t expect this to be so roughโ€ฆ =-.

10 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 4:00 pm }


I’m glad you both liked it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Excellent. Book recommendations are always welcome. I’m hoping to find something that will not be a let-down to follow the Harry Potter series. Something that would be appropriate for my daughter. I have a feeling no books will compare to these for her now. We’re on book 6. So, we only have 1 more book and then I will need to help her find something that’s not dull by comparison. This could be quite a feat.


11 AvivaNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 5:40 pm }

Awesome post and even better costumes!! Love it!

I resisted the Harry Potter books through the first three or four before I reluctantly relented and decided to try the first one. I like the way they are written for increasingly older kids as Harry and friends got older too. I got hooked in the first book when Harry jabbed his wand up the troll’s nose and pulled it out covered in troll boogers. Ewww! ๐Ÿ™‚ Made me laugh out loud and start insisting to my husband that HE read them too. ๐Ÿ™‚ In some ways, I wish I’d waited until the entire series was published so I could read them back to back. I think I read the first three in a weekend, and then found it SO hard to wait for the next one to be published! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to start reading them to Ellie!
.-= Aviva´s last blog ..Momentum: Losing It & Getting It Back =-.

12 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 5:57 pm }


Thanks! It was quite an adventure. We got some interesting reactions from people when we were out and about.

I resisted the Harry Potter books for a long time. By the time I read them, I was able to read all 7 straight through. I honestly don’t know how people like you stood the suspense of waiting for the next book to come out. Three in a weekend and then waiting for the 4th to be published? That must have been tough. I think that would have driven me crazy. For that aspect, I am glad I read them when I did.

Someone in my local endometriosis support group a few years back emailed me that she wouldn’t be attending the support group meeting because she and her sister were camping out at the bookstore that was opening at midnight with a Harry Potter book being released… and she’d be too tired to attend the meeting the next day. This was before I read the books. I remember wondering how a book could be interesting enough to camp out at midnight. Once I read the books, it became very clear.

By the way, for those of you who have yet to read Harry Potter… please don’t let Aviva’s graphic example gross you out. ๐Ÿ™‚ Haha. I too like the way the characters mature in a believable and engaging fashion. J.K. Rowling truly is a genius. I love the fact that you felt compelled to have your husband read the books too. I tried that as well (in 2008) but it wasn’t until the three of us started reading them together that he got just as hooked. Once my daughter was old enough for the books, it became a family thing. My husband loves the books. It really is fun to read the books together. ๐Ÿ™‚


13 JNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 7:26 pm }

I HIGHLY recommend the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. It is excellent, I actually like it better than Harry Potter. I’m trying to think what else… will have to get back to you soon. ๐Ÿ™‚
.-= J´s last blog ..I didnโ€™t expect this to be so roughโ€ฆ =-.

14 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 7:37 pm }


Thanks for the suggestion! I really appreciate it! ๐Ÿ™‚


15 JasmineNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 9:40 pm }

Love it! And I like the quotes you added ๐Ÿ™‚
.-= Jasmine´s last blog ..Haiku =-.

16 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.03.09 at 11:05 pm }


Thanks! There are some wonderful quotes in those books. ๐Ÿ™‚


17 AmandaNo Gravatar { 11.04.09 at 3:09 am }

Oh Jeanne you are so wonderful!! I loved you as Harry Potter… can’t think of a better Potter than you, because you hold the same values as he does, imo!

I love the fact you made your husband dress as the professor… so cool!! And your daughter makes a great Hermione :o)

The quotes are wonderful, just wonderful, thank you for sharing them and brightening up my morning. Glad to see you had a great Halloween. Thinking of you xx
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Frozen by fear =-.

18 JulieNo Gravatar { 11.04.09 at 6:41 pm }

Excellent blog…did make me smile:))
My eldest daughter is a fan of harry potter and has read all the books at least five

19 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.04.09 at 11:53 pm }


Well, you’re pretty darn wonderful yourself… my dear!! Thank you for your kind words. I take that as a huge compliment (holding values like Harry’s). I so love that book series!

Now, a quick point of clarification… I should note that I didn’t “make” my husband play Professor McGonagall. Let’s say I “persuaded” him. I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I forced him to do it against his will or anything. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, she really, really did make a perfect Hermione! I daresay that you would approve of her English accent! Seriously, I really think you would. Granted, to you… we are the ones with the American accents, I realize! I think you know what I mean, though. She can talk just like the Hermione Granger in the movies (Emma Watson). Seriously, it’s uncanny.

I’m glad you liked the quotes I picked to post. Of course, the person we really have to thank for them is the brilliant J. K. Rowling. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am thrilled that your morning was a little brighter for having seen my family’s Halloween adventures. Thinking of you too.


20 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.04.09 at 11:58 pm }

Hi Julie!

Thank you! It’s always good to be able to induce a smile!! ๐Ÿ™‚

You can tell your daughter that she has impeccable taste. Normally, I am not one to ever read a book more than once with all the books in the world — but I could see myself reading these books again and again. They’re that good! First, I read them myself. Now, we’re reading them as a family. I have no doubt that somewhere down the line I’ll find good reasons to read them again!

Thanks for stopping by! Hope everyone on your end is healthy.


21 AmandaNo Gravatar { 11.07.09 at 5:29 am }

Hi Jeanne,

hope you are having a fairly good day? I have a little favour to ask… I have started a new “endo project” over on my blog and knowing how much you love to spread the word to help others I wondered if you could pop over at some point and see what you think to it?

Take care
Amanda xx
.-= Amanda´s last blog ..Writing the pain – a new project =-.

22 Keri EaganNo Gravatar { 11.07.09 at 7:52 pm }

Great costumes. I have used the story of the Harry Potter scar as a metaphor for pain to great benefit when working with others before so it’s great to see it here. I think I like your hubby’s character best! Another favourite of mine is Wallace and Gromit. Much harder to dress up as!

Keri Eagan
.-= Keri Eagan´s last blog ..Mutiny at the Asylum! =-.

23 Jannie FunsterNo Gravatar { 11.09.09 at 7:18 pm }


Just popping by to say that!

.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..Mystery Blogger โ€œOver The Topโ€ Meme` =-.

24 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.10.09 at 12:28 am }


What? A good day? What does that mean? Haha. Seriously, I’m hanging in there as best I can. I just left you a blog comment. I’m very pressed for time as I am recovering from the aftermath of having an impostor pose as me on Twitter for 27 days. I did vote on your post too. I enjoyed your post and look forward to seeing what you have in store!

Take care,


25 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.10.09 at 12:49 am }


Welcome! Thanks. That’s funny that you too have used Harry’s scar as a metaphor. That popped into my head while writing the post. That’s cool. So you like Professor McGonagall the best, huh? Was it his classic look of a wise witch that won you over? He was pretty convincing, was he not? You’d swear it was really her, wouldn’t you? ๐Ÿ™‚ I have obviously heard of Wallace and Gromit but I honestly wasn’t sure if they were a cartoon or what. I just Googled them and saw what they look like. Yes, it would be more challenging to dress up as them.

I just visited your blog and I attempted to leave a comment (several times, actually) but kept getting an error telling me I must use my name and email address. I was using both. I tried a couple of different email addresses but it didn’t like any of them. I’m not quite sure why.

In any event, I’m sorry it took a couple of days to get this comment posted. I am still recovering from having had an impostor posing as me on Twitter for 27 days. Twitter finally suspended the impersonation account late last week but now I am dealing with the aftermath. Identity theft is not fun.

If you have any insights into why I can’t post comments on your blog, please let me know.



26 AllisonNo Gravatar { 11.11.09 at 2:33 pm }

Love the costume and the post!!!

27 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.12.09 at 11:30 am }


Thanks! I’m glad you liked it!


28 JeanneNo Gravatar { 11.12.09 at 11:33 am }


You are the funniest! I’m sorry I have not been reciprocating blog comments very well. I am still recovering from the Twitter mess. Today is my first Twitter-free day.

I’m free as a bird now! Tweet tweet! I flew the coop!


29 J.K. Rowling On Failure And Imagination — { 02.17.10 at 2:51 pm }

[…] Remember this post? Happy Harry Potter Halloween […]

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge