10 Real-Life Ways Muggles Can Experience Harry Potter

Muggles just want to have fun

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The final Harry Potter movie wrapped up the boy wizard's adventures on July 15, and with the possibility of an eighth volume in the series very slim, muggles — or non-magical people — may be looking for a way to continue experiencing the magic of J.K. Rowling's fictional world. (Well, until October 1 when Pottermore is open to the public.)

Luckily, there are a variety of ways you can interact with fellow wannabe witches and wizards and get a taste of life at Hogwarts. If you've ever wanted to catch a snitch, sample a butterbeer, take a course in Transfiguration or even fight the Dark Arts, you can. You won't even need a wand — just a little imagination.

Grab a broomstick

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Quidditch, the high-flying sport played on broomsticks, isn't just for wizards anymore. Muggle quidditch, or ground quidditch, is played by intramural leagues worldwide, and more than 65 colleges in 25 U.S. states participate in the annual Quidditch World Cup.

How is a sport that involves flying broomsticks and magical balls played on the ground? Like the wizarding version, players straddle broomsticks, and Chasers toss the "quaffle" — in this case, a volleyball — through hoops. Beaters throw "bludgers," or dodgeballs, at the Chasers to cause them to drop the quaffle. The golden snitch is typically a fast runner dressed in yellow who has a tennis ball in a sock dangling from his or her back pocket. The Seekers chase the snitch outside the playing field — often over an entire college campus — until they grab the tennis ball, ending the game and scoring an extra 150 points.

Just can't picture it? Watch Greg Gumbel give a play-by-play of a quidditch match between Middlebury College and Princeton University.

Turn up the wizard rock

Meg Bourne.

Tired of listening to muggle music, but your radio won't pick up the Wizarding Wireless Network? What you need is wizard rock. It may be a niche genre, but there are more than 500 wizard rock bands in existence today. From The Whomping Willows to The Remus Lupins, the bands pay homage to Rowling's characters with their Harry Potter-inspired lyrics and their unique magical sound.

Brothers Joe and Paul DeGeorge pioneered wizard rock when they formed their punk rock group, Harry and the Potters, in 2002. The band has released multiple albums containing such songs as "Save Ginny Weasley," "Follow the Spiders" and "My Teacher is a Werewolf." Looking for something a little darker? The music may have a bluegrass sound, but Draco & The Malfoys' lyrics are all Slytherin in songs like "Hippogriffs Deserve to Die" and "I Couldn't Kill Albus Dumbledore." There's even an annual wizard rock festival of sorts known as Wrockstock.

Get schooled

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You don't have to wait for that Hogwarts acceptance letter to start learning a little magic ... but you might have to wait for the spring term to start taking courses at Hogwarts Online. Sign up for this virtual school and be sorted into your House, get a Gringott's vault and begin your magical education with classes like Basic Defensive Magic, Dragon Keeping and Household Potions.

Looking for a Potter-themed class that will also get you college credit? Grab your quill and parchment because your school might already offer one. Yale teaches a course titled "Christian Theology and Harry Potter" that delves into issus of sin and resurrection. Lawrence University in Wisconsin has the "Thinking About Harry Potter" class that studies the books' ethical values and political implications. And Maryland's Frostburg State University offers "The Science Behind Harry Potter," where students discuss such possibilities as the genetic engineering of three-headed dogs or if antigravity research could produce flying broomsticks.

Have a drink

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If there's one thing every Harry Potter fan wants to try it's butterbeer. Whether it's served up fresh by Madam Rosmerta or passed over a dusty counter at The Hog's Head, it's the drink of choice for Hogwarts students — at least until they're old enough to get a sip of firewhiskey.

Muggles rave about the butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but if you won't be making a trip to Orlando anytime soon, you can always make your own butterbeer at home. If you'd prefer to sip something cool and refreshing while you watch the Quidditch World Cup, try this pumpkin juice recipe. And for the adventurous muggle over the age of 21, there's even a simple firewhiskey recipe. (Warning: The recipe creator cautions that drinking firewhiskey is a lot like snogging Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback and warns that it could turn you into a blast-ended skrewt.)

Fight the Dark Arts

"Harry Potter" was one of five planes of supplies that the HPA sent to Haiti. (HPA).

In "Order of the Phoenix," the wizarding world is ignoring the threat of Lord Voldemort, so Harry and his friends organize “Dumbledore’s Army” to raise awareness. Andrew Slack, executive director of The Harry Potter Alliance, likens this to how “our world ignores AIDS, Darfur and global warming.” Under Slack’s leadership, Potter fans have created their own D.A. and formed the HPA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to social activism.

Just as Harry fights the injustice of treating muggle-borns, house elves and goblins as second-class citizens, the HPA works to end genocide, send aid to the needy and get equal rights for homosexuals. Group members ask themselves, “What would Dumbledore do?” and act accordingly.

How successful have they been? The HPA raised more than $123,000 in just two weeks for Partners in Health in Haiti. It called more than 3,500 phones in just one day, advocating for marriage equality in Massachusetts. These Potter fans also gathered three quarters of the 10,000 signatures sent to the U.N. Security Council concerning Darfur. Plus, the HPA registered almost 1,000 first-time voters in 2008 and 2010. How’s that for real-life magic?

Prowl for owls

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One of the most magical aspects of Harry's world is the owl post. Owls soar into the Great Hall every morning depositing packages and Daily Prophet subscriptions, and the Hogsmeade post office is home to many breeds — from tawny owls to teeny tiny owls (local deliveries only). Then there's Harry's owl, the faithful snowy white Hedwig. Who wouldn't want a beautiful pet bird that delivers birthday cakes and magically knows everyone's address?

That's the line of thought for many Potter fans who have bought pet owls only to learn that they're actually wild animals that require a great deal of care. In their quest to live a bit of the fantasy, they end up neglecting or abandoning their new pets, and India's disappearing owls have made international headlines.

The best way spend some time with these majestic creatures is to do a little bird watching or even attract them to your yard and help them set up a home. With just a little work, you'll soon have owls swooping through your yard just like they do on the grounds of Hogwarts.

Satisfy that sweet tooth

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Harry and his friends are always munching on Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, licking Acid Pops and chasing down chocolate frogs as they make bids for freedom. If you won't be visiting the real-life Honeyduke's in Orlando anytime soon, no worries. Many of these bewitching treats can be found in your local candystore, and you can make your own versions of the sweets at home. Just be careful with those ton-tongue toffees — remember what happened to the last muggle who happened upon one?

Try making these delicious Harry Potter-inspired treats at home:

Acid Pops

Meet magic-loving muggles

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Longing to leave the muggle world behind and spend a magical weekend with your fellow Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs and Slytherins? Register for a Harry Potter convention and you'll be rubbing elbows not just with Hogwarts students, but also with your favorite professors, Ministry of Magic officials, Death Eaters and possibly even the Dark Lord himself.

What can you expect at a Harry Potter-themed conference? LeakyCon promises panels, workshops and keynote addresses for the Potter scholars, but there's also plenty of fun and games. Naturally, there's a quidditch tournament, movie screenings and plenty of wizard rock. The Infinitus convention has its fair share of formal Harry Potter programming, but you can also enjoy wizard chess, Potter-inspired art and the Night of Frivolity Ball, which will have you dancing just like Harry and Parvati did at the Yule Ball. If you can't make it to one of these annual events, there are plenty of other fantasy conventions where you're sure to run into a wizard or two. Professor Snape and Voldemort himself were spotted at this year's DragonCon in Atlanta.

Change your name

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Ever wonder what it would be like to share a name with a character in a Harry Potter novel? Would being a real-life Hermione Granger or Sirius Black make your daily life a little more magical? The real-life Harry Potter says no.

J.K. Rowling named Harry Potter by combining her favorite boy's name with the surname of one of her childhood neighbors, but little did she know that when the Sorcerer's Stone came out, a 9-year-old Harry Potter was already living in Portsmouth, England. Today, he shares the famed character's name, dark hair and even the scarred forehead — but it's anything but magical. He's been taunted by the police, phone companies and soccer referees; he's been refused bus passes; and he had to show his girlfriend his passport before she'd believe him. Today, Potter is the only employee at his company who doesn't have to use his full name on the phone, and he says he's tired of enduring the constant jokes about his "spellbinding" name.

So maybe renaming yourself isn't the best way for a muggle to experience Harry Potter, but I can't help but think that changing my name to "Luna Lovegood" or "Nymphadora Tonks" still might be fun.