Uncelebration 2023: See the Wonderful “Harry Potter” Costumes
Every January, Harry Potter fans gather in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort to visit and reflect on their shared fandom. Most of these fans dress up as their favorite Wizarding World characters, objects, and inspirations. As with many fan events, MuggleNet was live on the scene.
We could barely decide which fans to feature. When we first spotted Hannah Bradford, of California, we wondered what this Gryffindor student was doing with a pillow attached to her head. Then, it clicked: She was a Petrified Hermione, post basilisk attack. Brilliant!
“My grandma lived states away when I was young,” Bradford told us. “After we both read a chapter, we would call each other and talk about it. […] Harry Potter Celebration 2015 was the first time I cosplayed […] The smiles I get and the pure happiness it brings is why I keep dressing up.”
After traveling to Orlando from their home state of California, Shannon Coburn, Amy Meadors, and their friend Dory were ready for their close-ups. Dressed as a trio of self-obsessed Gilderoy Lockharts (and one “Gilda Rae” Lockhart), they posed, preened, and pranced through Diagon Alley.
“I remember renting [Harry Potter and] the Sorcerer’s Stone,” reflected Coburn (pictured in the middle of the photo below). “At that point, I had no idea there were books.” Since the movies were still being made back then, Coburn and his wife were eventually waiting for new premieres.
“When Half-Blood Prince finally hit theaters, I left the movie not wanting to wait, so I read [Harry Potter and] the Deathly Hallows,” Coburn continued. “It was so good, so detailed.” From then, he and his wife (not pictured) read the books, visited the parks, and found an interest in costumes.
Diego Clarkson, of Florida, caused a similar ruckus in his head-to-toe puffy upholstery. His costume depicts Professor Slughorn, midway through a transfiguration from an armchair.
Asked about his reflections on the Harry Potter stories, Clarkson said, “Family values, friendship, and [the] power within everyone […] I love to bring a magical memory to everyone who’s in the park.”
Not every costume had comedic flare. Just look at this dark, billowing silhouette created by Joshua M., of Florida. His simple yet dramatic costume turned many heads as he glided through crowds, cape flying and wand flourishing.
We wanted to know more about Joshua’s interest in costumes. “I dress up because Harry Potter was so essential to my childhood as an individual who is on the autism spectrum,” he explained. “Losing my mom and grandmother, whom I was [a] caregiver for, took me to a dark place for a time. [Returning to] the Potterverse, I was able to gain my strength again, [and] dressing up allows me to tell a visual story and expand the universe I so love.”
Niky Sama, of Florida, had a powerful presence too. We asked Sama about her gravity-defying depiction of Professor Lally Hicks and the book Portkey (from Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore).
“[Lally] is super special to me,” Sama shared. “She is the first witch that actually resembles what I look like […] Representation matters, and I know that although there’s some fire around [the] Harry Potter story, there’s enough of us telling the positive side of Harry Potter to keep the essence of unity, equality, and perseverance that Harry Potter has given all of us.”
There are so many more costumes that we wish we could feature, but we can’t write about them all! Take a look at the gallery below to see more of the incredible creations we found at the event.
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