A Very Big Cat, Quite a Small Tiger, Or My Kid? #HarryPotter


I didn’t read much during the last two weeks of October because I spent every second of my free time turning my 8-year-old daughter into Crookshanks for Halloween. Crookshanks is Hermione’s cat from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I don’t know what came over me. I don’t know why I thought I could *make* a Crookshanks costume when I couldn’t find one to buy. A black cat costume just wouldn’t do. Crookshanks is an enormous, orange furball:

Ron buckled as something huge and orange came soaring from the top of the highest cage, landed on his head, and then propelled itself, spitting madly, at Scabbers. […] “What was that?”

“It was either a very big cat or quite a small tiger,” said Harry.

“Where’s Hermione?”

“Probably getting her owl—”

They made their way back up the crowded street to the Magical Menagerie. As they reached it, Hermione came out, but she wasn’t carrying an owl. Her arms were clamped tightly around the enormous ginger cat.

“You bought that monster?” said Ron, his mouth hanging open.

“He’s gorgeous, isn’t he?” said Hermione, glowing.

That was a matter of opinion, thought Harry. The cat’s ginger fur was thick and fluffy, but it was definitely a bit bowlegged and its face looked grumpy and oddly squashed, as though it had run headlong into a brick wall. Now that Scabbers was out of sight, however, the cat was purring contentedly in Hermione’s arms.

Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban, Chapter Four

I can’t knit or crochet (unfortunately), so I purchased a beige sweater and then looped orange yarn through it. This took forever. I worked on it in the office during my lunch breaks and every evening while listening to election coverage. I should’ve listened to audiobooks instead. That would’ve been better for my mental health.

Anyway, here’s Crookshanks standing with Sally Ride and an octopus:


Like all cats, Crookshanks sheds. This morning, I found little pieces of orange yarn in my hair, dangling from my purse, and trailing from the bottom of my shoe. It’s going to be a long time before I work with yarn again. I’ve learned my lesson!


  1. The kids are cute dressed for Halloween. Love that you made the costume. Since I have not heard from you, I am assuming you must have thought I did not vote as you cautioned me. I did not vote for the candidate you felt would hurt your rights in the future. In NY we can vote for Other. I knew this state would go in the direction it did, so my vote did not matter one way or the other, but I voted anyway. I hope you are not like many, dropping friends that voted Trump. My choice was Other. I see it all over Facebook. People are making assumptions and friendships are broken forever. I never listed who I was voting for so no friends lost. I did think about you though, hoping you doing OK after the vote.

    1. Hi Donna- You are certainly entitled to vote for whomever you want, and you never have to explain your vote to anyone else. You only have to be able to live with the choices you make.

      No, I am not okay, but thanks for asking. A large percentage of people voted to label and remove families like mine from the country (it starts with a registry like this one: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/18/us/politics/japanese-internment-muslim-registry.html?_r=0). How am I supposed to explain this level of hatred to my children? I am disappointed that more people didn’t see Trump for the threat he clearly is, but I am willing to remain friends with anyone who will work to defeat his most hateful policies from being implemented.

      1. I am not sure what you mean by, “I am willing to remain friends with anyone who will work to defeat his most hateful policies from being implemented.” I did not vote for him, but also do not believe he is going to implement any hateful policies. I think this is the media stirring up hysteria. I myself will not get involved with protests or any such way of making change that will not likely occur to harm any individual or ethnic group. I also don’t believe the majority of American people see you or any other American as different and separated. I also don’t believe this hate graffiti is from those that truly hate as I don’t believe these protests are anything other than politically organized. I most do not believe the NY Times. They do not report the news – they editorialize the news they choose to report. I am so tired of people on FB standing on their pulpits preaching and criticizing from BOTH sides. This country is being divided and the media is to blame. Both party candidates were flawed. Too bad the American people did not see this quick enough.

        1. If you do not see a Muslim registry as a hateful policy or the appointments of Steve Bannon and Jeff Sessions as hateful, there’s obviously nothing I can say that will convince you otherwise.

          1. I don’t think there will be a Muslim registry. Too many non-Muslims are going to register if that is the case. It will defeat any accuracy to the registry. You do not have trust in the American people to right any wrongs you see as a possiblity it seems. As for Bannon, has he been appointed to any cabinet position yet? My guess is he will not be. I certainly hope not anyway. I don’t know enough, or anything for that matter, about Sessions to comment.

            1. I wish I shared your optimism, but the increased harassment I’ve experienced lately and the harassment I hear about on a daily basis make that impossible.

              1. Sad to hear you have been harassed, especially in the Philly area. Seems rather odd to happen there. Maybe it is time for a drastic move for your family. Try CA or NY. Maybe you would find those two like minded states more agreeable. At least they voted your way. I cannot believe so many think this country is doomed to divisiveness and hatred. I would rather be optimistic than look at a country headed to failure. All this is happening before he even takes office. Since when did it become where the president elect is not given a chance at least. While I don’t like or respect him, at least there is a chance I may over time. He has a lot to prove, for sure.

                1. Yes, he a lot to prove. Unfortunately, his initial appointments suggest that his administration will be as racist, sexist, and homophobic as his campaign was. It is easier for people to take an optimistic, “wait and see” approach to President Trump when they will not bear the immediate consequences of his policies. For those of us who will — people of color, LGBT+ individuals, women of reproductive age, etc — it is foolish to sit back and just hope for the best. I am particularly fearful that he will roll back civil rights, ruin our environment, and exacerbate religious conflict.

  2. That is an awesome costume!! I admire your dedication in making the costume, looping yarn through holes in a sweater sounds incredibly time consuming!!

  3. You are a great mom! The costume came out great, and all three look wonderful! I would like to think that a request for a bookish Halloween character would have triggered the same dedication in me, but it is much more likely that I would have tried to talk my child into choosing a different costume. 🙂

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