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8 Magical Harry Potter Halloween Festivals for Wizards and Muggles

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Hogwarts letter got lost in the mail? Don't worry: You can still experience Halloween the Harry Potter way by visiting one of these events. From fast-paced Quidditch tournaments to frothy mugs of butterbeer, these community festivals and private events will help you celebrate the most magical night of the year the way Dumbledore would have wanted you to.

1. WIZARDING WEEKEND // ITHACA, NEW YORK

Press Bay Alley in Ithaca, New York transfigures into Diagon Alley from October 28 to 30 this year, and you don’t even need to tap any bricks with a wand to get there. In fact, it’s free, so it’s extra easy for muggles to attend. Wizarding Weekend started last year as a one-day trick-or-treat route for the community, but blew up like a game of Exploding Snap and drew nearly 8000 attendees. This Wizarding Weekend will be just as magical as the last, with Quidditch matches (on electric bikes instead of broomsticks), advanced potions (a.k.a. cocktails) classes for adults, Horcrux scavenger hunts, Dark Arts coffee tours, and more.

2. HARRY POTTER HALLOWEEN // SCOTTSVILLE, VIRGINIA

If your permission slip is signed, visit Valley Street in Scottsvilla, Virginia from noon to 10 p.m. on October 29 for a day in Hogsmeade. Local stores transform into their wizarding world alter egos, like Honeydukes and Ollivanders, and host Harry Potter-themed activities.

3. POTTERPALOOZA // NORMAL, ILLINOIS

Adults (21 and over) take over the Children’s Discovery Museum on October 21 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Get sorted into your Hogwarts house and take classes like divination, herbology, and potions. Admission is $25, but includes food and a free drink ticket. Come in your finest wizarding attire or dressed as your favorite character from the series.

4. GREAT HALL HALLOWEEN FEAST // CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

The Ada Street restaurant gives Hogwarts a run for its galleons on October 28 to 30. The restaurant will serve guests a four-course dinner complete with firewhiskey dessert; each course is paired with Harry Potter-themed cocktails, like Pumpkin Juice and the Dementor Antidote. Diners will also enjoy a pre-dinner butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks, as well as house sorting and Quidditch beer pong on the patio. Tickets are $75 and include tax and tip.

5. A HAUNTING AT HOGWARTS // OMAHA, NEBRASKA

Hogwarts alums get to dust off their robe uniforms on October 22 at the Omaha Children’s Museum. Activities at this adults-only event include Harry Potter trivia and a costume contest, plus a special “potions class” science show. Appetizers and drinks, including nonalcoholic butterbeer, will be served. The museum’s permanent exhibits will remain open for this event as well. The event is sold out, but you can have your named added to the wait list by calling the museum.

6. HARRY POTTER FESTIVAL AND QUIDDITCH TOURNAMENT // PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

This festival, held from October 21 to 22, is more expansive than the underground vaults at Gringotts, spanning a full 10 blocks of Philadelphia's Chestnut Hill neighborhood and drawing in thousands of attendees. Attendees can have a cup of tea at Madame Puddifoot’s, explore the Triwizard straw maze, try hands-on activities at Horcrux stations, see live owls, ride thestrals, and more. There’s also a ticketed Potter Pub Crawl complete with glasses of butterbeer, and a Harry Potter conference with an academic bent, but admission is free to both the festival and the Quidditch tournament.

7. HARRY POTTER FESTIVAL // EDGERTON, WISCONSIN

From October 21 to 23, witches and wizards young and old celebrate all things Potter at this pay-as-you-go community festival. (Guests also have the option of paying $25 for the entire weekend.) There are plenty of Hogwarts classes on the roster, like Defense Against the Dark Arts and Potions, as well as house sorting, live raptor demonstrations, wizard roller-skating, and Horcrux hunts. All the activities and events are laid out on the festival’s version of the Marauder’s Map; just solemnly swear you’re up to no good.

8. HARRY POTTER AND THE TRANSFIGURED TOWN // GODERICH, ONTARIO

The Huron County Museum gets Potter-fied on October 29 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with activities like a costumed photo booth and face painting. The museum’s stationary train becomes the Hogwarts Express for the night, and Ministry of Magic officials have volunteered their services for misguided museum tours. Sweet tooths will be satisfied with a Honeydukes candy trolley and (nonalcoholic) butterbeer. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for kids, with proceeds to support local food banks.

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15 Powerful Quotes From Margaret Atwood
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MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images

It turns out the woman behind such eerily prescient novels as The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake is just as wise as her tales are haunting. Here are 15 of the most profound quips from author, activist, and Twitter enthusiast Margaret Atwood, who was born on this day in 1939.

1. On her personal philosophy

 “Optimism means better than reality; pessimism means worse than reality. I’m a realist.”

— From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

2. On the reality of being female

“Men often ask me, Why are your female characters so paranoid? It’s not paranoia. It’s recognition of their situation.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

3. On limiting how her politics influence her characters

“You know the myth: Everybody had to fit into Procrustes’ bed and if they didn’t, he either stretched them or cut off their feet. I’m not interested in cutting the feet off my characters or stretching them to make them fit my certain point of view.”

— From a 1997 interview with Mother Jones

4. On so-called “pretty” works of literature

“I don’t know whether there are any really pretty novels … All of the motives a human being may have, which are mixed, that’s the novelists’ material. … We like to think of ourselves as really, really good people. But look in the mirror. Really look. Look at your own mixed motives. And then multiply that.”

— From a 2010 interview with The Progressive

5. On the artist’s relationship with her fans

“The artist doesn’t necessarily communicate. The artist evokes … [It] actually doesn’t matter what I feel. What matters is how the art makes you feel.”

— From a 2004 interview with The Guardian

6. On the challenges of writing non-fiction

“When I was young I believed that ‘nonfiction’ meant ‘true.’ But you read a history written in, say, 1920 and a history of the same events written in 1995 and they’re very different. There may not be one Truth—there may be several truths—but saying that is not to say that reality doesn’t exist.”

— From a 1997 interview with Mother Jones

7. On poetry

“The genesis of a poem for me is usually a cluster of words. The only good metaphor I can think of is a scientific one: dipping a thread into a supersaturated solution to induce crystal formation.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

8. On being labeled an icon

“All these things set a standard of behavior that you don’t necessarily wish to live up to. If you’re put on a pedestal you’re supposed to behave like a pedestal type of person. Pedestals actually have a limited circumference. Not much room to move around.”

— From a 2013 interview with The Telegraph

9. On how we’re all born writers

“[Everyone] ‘writes’ in a way; that is, each person has a ‘story’—a personal narrative—which is constantly being replayed, revised, taken apart and put together again. The significant points in this narrative change as a person ages—what may have been tragedy at 20 is seen as comedy or nostalgia at 40.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

10. On the oppression at the center of The Handmaid's Tale

“Nothing makes me more nervous than people who say, ‘It can’t happen here. Anything can happen anywhere, given the right circumstances.” 

— From a 2015 lecture to West Point cadets

11. On the discord between men and women

“‘Why do men feel threatened by women?’ I asked a male friend of mine. … ‘They’re afraid women will laugh at them,’ he said. ‘Undercut their world view.’ … Then I asked some women students in a poetry seminar I was giving, ‘Why do women feel threatened by men?’ ‘They’re afraid of being killed,’ they said.”

— From Atwood’s Second Words: Selected Critical Prose, 1960-1982

12. On the challenges of expressing oneself

“All writers feel struck by the limitations of language. All serious writers.”

— From a 1990 interview with The Paris Review

13. On selfies

“I say they should enjoy it while they can. You’ll be happy later to have taken pictures of yourself when you looked good. It’s human nature. And it does no good to puritanically say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that,’ because people do.”

— From a 2013 interview with The Telegraph

14. On the value of popular kids' series (à la Harry Potter and Percy Jackson)

"It put a lot of kids onto reading; it made reading cool. I’m sure a lot of later adult book clubs came out of that experience. Let people begin where they are rather than pretending that they’re something else, or feeling that they should be something else."

— From a 2014 interview with The Huffington Post

15. On why even the bleakest post-apocalyptic novels are, deep down, full of hope

“Any novel is hopeful in that it presupposes a reader. It is, actually, a hopeful act just to write anything, really, because you’re assuming that someone will be around to [read] it.”

— From a 2011 interview with The Atlantic 

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China's New Tianjin Binhai Library is Breathtaking—and Full of Fake Books
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A massive new library in Tianjin, China, is gaining international fame among bibliophiles and design buffs alike. As Arch Daily reports, the five-story Tianjin Binhai Library has capacity for more than 1 million books, which visitors can read in a spiraling, modernist auditorium with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Several years ago, municipal officials in Tianjin commissioned a team of Dutch and Japanese architects to design five new buildings, including the library, for a cultural center in the city’s Binhai district. A glass-covered public corridor connects these structures, but the Tianjin Binhai Library is still striking enough to stand out on its own.

The library’s main atrium could be compared to that of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City. But there's a catch: Its swirling bookshelves don’t actually hold thousands of books. Look closer, and you’ll notice that the shelves are printed with digital book images. About 200,000 real books are available in other rooms of the library, but the jaw-dropping main room is primarily intended for socialization and reading, according to Mashable.

The “shelves”—some of which can also serve as steps or seating—ascend upward, curving around a giant mirrored sphere. Together, these elements resemble a giant eye, prompting visitors to nickname the attraction “The Eye of Binhai,” reports Newsweek. In addition to its dramatic main auditorium, the 36,000-square-foot library also contains reading rooms, lounge areas, offices, and meeting spaces, and has two rooftop patios.

Following a three-year construction period, the Tianjin Binhai Library opened on October 1, 2017. Want to visit, but can’t afford a trip to China? Take a virtual tour by checking out the photos below.

A general view of the Tianjin Binhai Library
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People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A woman taking pictures at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A man visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A woman looking at books at China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

A general view of China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

People visiting China's Tianjin Binhai Library.
FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

[h/t Newsweek]

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