I’m a pretty big Harry Potter fan. I’ve done my share of dressing up for book or movie premieres, I have a Platform 9 ¾ sign in my living room that I got in high school, and I’ve read the series multiple times. So when I came across (on Twitter, I think) an opportunity to see Daniel Radcliffe in person, for free, I figured, “Why not?”

It was October 2011. The final Harry Potter movie had come out a few months earlier, and Spike TV was awarding Daniel Radcliffe the Ultimate Scream award in recognition of his work on the series. They wanted to film the award in advance, with hundreds of screaming Harry Potter fans in costume to set the scene.
With two of my friends (also Harry Potter lovers), I headed up to Lincoln Center, where we’d been told to meet. For two and a half hours we sat or stood in a line of fans. Someone had brought a game, so we made friends with strangers and played. While we were sitting there I got a call from one of my best friends—it was her birthday, and her boyfriend had proposed! Her engagement is forever linked with Harry Potter in my mind. (Sorry!)
When they were ready for us, we shuffled into Avery Fisher hall… to wait some more. But at least we were out of the elements and could walk around and check out other people’s costumes. Mine was a black skirt, white button down deal that I’d had on hand, combined with a Ravenclaw tie I’d purchased earlier in the summer and a cute stuffed owl. Nothing fancy. But in Avery Fisher I saw some truly impressive costumes—and witnessed some amazing reenactments.
Someone ran down the aisle yelling, “Troll in the dungeon!” Two older women, dressed as Bellatrix Lestrange and Molly Weasley, did the “Not my daughter, you bitch!” scene from the final book. Bellatrix and Sirius Black performed the “falling through the veil” sequence. A group started singing songs from “A Very Potter Musical”, and my friends and I helped start a reenactment of the Potter Puppet Pals’ “Mysterious Ticking Noise”.
It was crazy, but it was our brand of crazy. When you’ve grown up on Harry Potter and you’ve dabbled in fandom (my sixth grade after school hours were so consumed by Harry Potter fanfiction that I had to go cold turkey on it), this kind of event is both familiar and eye-opening.
After an hour and a half, we filed out of Lincoln Center and into the courtyard, where a platform had been erected. We were handed glow sticks, and asked to yell and cheer so they could tape some crowd shots before Daniel arrived. Once that was done, Samuel L. Jackson came out to introduce the award. He spoke for a few minutes about the Harry Potter books and films, and then he introduced Daniel Radcliffe….who walked out clad in black leather from head to toe.
No, really. Check out the video.
Daniel spoke for under five minutes, and the preview for his then-upcoming movie, “The Woman in White”, was shown, and that was that. He left, and we headed home—after a quick stop at Duane Reade for some Halloween candy.

It was a bit anticlimactic after so many hours of waiting, but all in all it was a pretty interesting way to spend a Friday night. In New York, free, random opportunities like that are abundant if you pay attention, so I try to take advantage of them when I can. What weird-but-cool events have you guys managed to attend?