Halloween was magical for children visiting the trunk-or-treat event held Oct. 31 in Fairfield.
For the second year, mega Harry Potter fans Luhi and Fauneil (Gleason) Purcell of Fairfield went over the top with their trunk-or-treat creation, depicting Ollivander’s wand shop in the Harry Potter series. Each visitor was matched with the perfect wand. The new wizards and witches each received a demonstration of how to use their new wand — if successful, they could turn a lamp on and off with a flick of their wrist.
Luhi spent over a month making 176 wands by hand. Searching the Internet, he found DIY instructions for creating wands. He settled on eight different replicas of wands from the characters in the Harry Potter series. To achieve the designs, the wands featured a variety of craftsmanship techniques, from adding dowels to patches of glue. Each wand was then painted by hand.
The wands were carefully wrapped and presented in a box. Luhi said he was fortunate to find boxes originally designed for macaron cookies that worked perfectly.
“It was time-consuming but fun creating the wands, and well worth the effect,” Luhi said. “For about a month, I would spend several hours a day creating the wands, mostly while watching television.”
Luhi also built the backdrop for the store that included a display case for the wands. To get into character, Luhi even bleached his hair the night before Halloween. In Harry Potter, Ollivander’s is located in South Side, Diagon Alley, London. The Ollivander family owns the shop and an older family member, Garrick Ollivander, runs the operation.
Each visitor to the wand shop was asked a series of questions including which Hogwarts house they belonged to (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin or Hufflepuff) to help determine the best wand for him or her.
Once the wand was selected, Fauneil, styling dress robes, gave a brief lesson on how to best use the wand.
The wand shop was the most popular truck, at least with the elementary age children, at the annual event sponsored by the Fairfield Junior Women’s Club with assistance from the Fairfield Lion’s Club. There was a line forming even before they were ready to open.
To build anticipation for the event, Luhi took to Facebook with updates on wand creation. There were a few Harry Potter characters in the sea of costumes stopping by the hour-long event.
Luhi was sorry to say he ran out of wands. “I was hoping to get 200 done but just ran out of time,” he said.
Luhi recalled how he began his love for the Harry Potter series. He said he was dating Fauneil when the fourth book was released. “Fauneil was staying up till the wee hours of the morning reading the book and I was giving her a bad time,” he recalled. She dared Luhi to read the first book and see if he could put it down. “I was hooked, couldn’t put the books down and have been a fan ever since,” he laughed.
Luhi and Fauneil have visited Harry Potter World at Universal Studios four times, and brought their three children for three of those visits.
The Purcells also had a Harry Potter themed display at last year’s trunk-or-treat. The trick-or-treaters tried on the famous Hogwarts Sorting Hat. The sentient hat at Hogwarts magically determines which of the four school houses each new student will enter.
Fans will not be disappointed next year, as Luhi already has plans to create The Three Broomsticks, a popular inn and pub in the all-wizarding village of Hogsmeade that is often frequented by students from the neighboring Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Fans, your mouth can start watering now, as Luhi plans to serve the famous and creamy non-alcoholic butterbeer.
The Trunk-or-Treat event was held between the Fairfield Community Hall and town park. There were 11 business and individuals who participated in what turned out to be a nice night despite a little snow on the ground. The volunteers handed out candy and treats to an estimated 250 to 300 children.