Children, Creepy Middle-Aged Weirdos Swept Up In Harry Potter Craze

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After Birth

Parents Of Crying Child Must Not Be Any Good

WOODBURY, MN—Noting how the pair’s failure to promptly resolve the situation was a clear indication of their inability to raise or care for another human being, sources confirmed Friday that the parents of a crying infant must not be any good.

Conductor Fatigue Blamed In Massive Model Train Crash

BLOOMINGTON, IN—After surveying the dozen railcars and cargo of Lincoln Logs strewn haphazardly across the grass mat, investigators concluded Friday that a massive model train derailment was the result of conductor fatigue.

The Pros And Cons Of Co-Sleeping

The act of co-sleeping, where babies and toddlers share a “family bed” with their parents, is a rising trend in the United States, though the practice is contested by those who doubt its purported benefits. Here are the pros and cons of co-sleeping with your child

The Onion’s Guide To Trick-Or-Treating

Halloween gives revelers a chance to receive candy all over the neighborhood. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your experience and take home a big haul.

How To Talk To Your Child About Sex

It’s not easy to decide when and how to have a discussion with children about sex, and many parents wonder how explicit they should be or where to establish boundaries. Here are The Onion’s tips for having “the talk” with your kids:

Child’s Loose Grasp On Balloon Only Thing Between Peace And Anarchy At Restaurant

JACKSONVILLE, FL—Eating their meals and conversing pleasantly without paying any heed to how loosely the string was wrapped around the young child’s finger, diners at a local Panera Bread reportedly went about their lunch Wednesday completely unaware that 2-year-old Nate Pollen’s tenuous grasp on a red helium balloon was the only thing standing between peace and total anarchy.

Childish 12-Year-Old Still Believes In Father

HARTFORD, CT—Saying she just assumed he would have figured it out by now, local mother Kathleen Rivers expressed concern to reporters Tuesday that her 12-year-old son, Dylan, still believes in his father.

How U.S. Schools Can Improve Math Education

With U.S. students regularly placing behind 20 to 25 other nations in mathematics test scores, many education experts are wondering what the sources of the problem are and how we can take steps to fix them. Here’s a look at how American schools can improve their math curricula and help struggling students:

Mom Keeping Tabs On Coyote Situation

WAYZATA, MN—Regularly updating her husband and children on the frequency and location of sightings around the neighborhood, local mother Dana Salisbury continued to keep close tabs on the coyote situation this week, sources confirmed.

Obamas Decide To Stay In White House Until Daughters Finish High School

‘We Don’t Want To Uproot Them Just For Our Jobs,’ Say Parents

WASHINGTON—Saying it wouldn’t be fair to disrupt their lives after seven years in the same school district, Barack and Michelle Obama this week announced their plans to stay in the White House until their daughters graduate high school.

How To Talk To Your Child About Death

When your family has experienced a loss, it can be a difficult concept for young children to process. The Onion breaks down the best ways to converse with your child about the realities of death

Single, Unemployed Mother Leeching Off Government

WASHINGTON—Taking advantage of the system and giving nothing back in return, local unemployed, single mother Mei Xiang reportedly gave birth to two more children out of wedlock this week and continued to pathetically leech off the government.

Area Dad Informs Busboy He’s Ready To Order

NASHUA, NH—Raising his arm into the air while leaning outward from the table in a bid to command attention from the other side of the restaurant, area father Walter Bierko called over a busboy at DiCapri’s Italian Eatery to inform him that he was ready to order, sources reported Wednesday.

How New Parents Can Stay Healthy

Having a baby changes everything, and the resulting lack of sleep and general stress can contribute to a decline in overall wellness. Here are some ways new parents can prevent bad habits and maintain good health

Single Woman With 3 Young Children Unaware She Subject Of 984 Judgments Today

LINCOLN, NE—Oblivious to the thoughts and looks directed toward her as she shopped for groceries, stopped by the post office, and ran several other errands with her three young children, single mother Karen Nichols, 29, was reportedly completely unaware that she was the focus of 984 separate judgments by strangers this afternoon.

Tips For Traveling With Young Children

Family vacations can be a time for bonding and building lasting memories, but when young children are involved, trips can also be stressful to plan and execute. Here are The Onion’s tips for traveling with kids

Good News Kept From Parents Out Of Fear Of Proving Them Right

DANBURY, CT—Saying she wants no part of the conversation that would inevitably result if she broke the good news, local medical billing technician Jenny Comers reported Friday that she’s keeping word of her recent pay raise from her parents out of fear of proving them right.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

North American Children Begin Summer Migration To Dad’s

NEW YORK—With the increasingly warm weather signaling the commencement of their age-old journey, millions of children across the North American continent began their annual summer migration to their fathers’ homes this week, sources confirmed.

Parents Worried Children Old Enough To Remember Family Vacation

YOUNGSTOWN, OH—Fearing that their kids’ impressions of the experience could quite possibly remain with them for the rest of their lives, parents Joel and Bethany Weyandt told reporters Tuesday they are worried their children are old enough to remember the details of their recent family vacation.

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Kids Love When Mom Sad Enough To Just Order Pizza

FORT WORTH, TX—Saying they get their hopes up anytime they notice her looking particularly downhearted, siblings Paulo and Marisa Hernandez told reporters Wednesday they love it when their mother is sad enough to just order pizza.

Baby-Naming Tips For New Moms

Mothershould’s Grace Manning-Devlin breaks down some of the hottest baby names of the year, such as Cooper, Tanner, Milkman, and Serf.

Pros And Cons Of Standardized Testing

As the American education system continues to place more emphasis on standardized testing to measure academic achievement, critics have argued that it can be more harmful than helpful to students’ development in the long run. Here are some of the pros and cons of standardized testing:

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Email From Mom Sent At 5:32 A.M.

DENVER—After waking up and finding the message waiting on his computer, local man Drew Swanson confirmed to reporters Thursday that his mother had sent him an email at 5:32 a.m.

Blog Post Read By Mother To Shape Child’s Next 18 Years

PAOLI, PA—Poised to inform future parenting decisions on medical care, dietary restrictions, and everyday well-being, the blog post “Fluoride Drops For Kids—Good Idea?” which was read by local mother Laurie Miller earlier today, will reportedly shape the next 18 years of her young child’s life.

Little League Pitcher Just Getting Fucking Shelled

RED BANK, NJ—After watching the 11-year-old give up the fourth straight double that inning, sources confirmed Sunday afternoon that local Little League pitcher Dustin Bauer is getting absolutely fucking shelled out there.

Pros And Cons Of Screen Time For Kids

As technology becomes more of a staple in everyday family life, parents are making choices about how much screen time to allow their children—and asking questions about how computers, phones, and TVs might help or hinder a child’s development.

Oh God, Teacher Arranged Desks In Giant Circle

OVERLAND PARK, KS—Appearing stunned and unsettled as they entered her classroom Wednesday, students from Ms. Frederickson’s fourth-period social studies class were reportedly overcome with panic 

Kids Teary-Eyed After Helping Dad Move Into First Apartment

BOWLING GREEN, OH—With their father marking the start of an important new phase in his life, the children of local man Barry Hunt told reporters they got a bit teary-eyed after helping the 49-year-old move into his first apartment Thursday. Teenager...
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Children, Creepy Middle-Aged Weirdos Swept Up In Harry Potter Craze

HOLLYWOOD, CA—Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, the hit film about an orphaned boy and his pals at Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry, continues to break box-office records, casting its magic spell over children and creepy middle-aged weirdos alike.

Young <i>Harry Potter</i> fans at a showing of the film.

Just ask Corey Molland, a Downers Grove, IL, 11-year-old who made his own Harry Potter costume, complete with Nimbus 2000 broomstick, to wear to the film's opening night. "I've seen the movie four times already," Molland said. "And I want to go see it again tomorrow."

Or Corey's neighbor, Kurt Furmanek, an unmarried 40-year-old who has seen the film 11 times, always in a homemade Ludo Bagman costume.

"It's terrific, as good as I'd hoped," said Furmanek, munching from a bag of Bertie Botts' Every Flavor Beans while waiting in line at a local multiplex Monday. "Granted, it's not perfect: They left out a number of key scenes and characters, like the second Quidditch match and Peeves. And some of the details were off, like how they said the boa constrictor was from Burma when it was from Brazil. But all in all, it's remarkably faithful."

There are many possible explanations for Harry's broad appeal: a troubled world's need for a little bit of magic, the way the franchise taps into powerful good-versus-evil mythologies, the chance it offers overweight 47-year-olds to retreat from their dreary adult lives into an idealized fantasy childhood. But whatever it is that makes us wild about Harry, one thing is clear: The fantastical universe created by author J.K. Rowling speaks to the child in all of us, whether young or way too old.

You can see it in Lisa Werner, a Pueblo, CO, 13-year-old who has read all four Harry Potter books three times and keeps an ever-growing scrapbook of magazine articles related to the books and films.

Not-so-young <i>Harry Potter</i> fan Kurt Furmanek in his basement bedroom.

"Harry Potter books are the ultimate books ever!" Werner said. "I wish there were real chocolate frogs that jumped when you tried to eat them."

And you can see it in Denver's Lynne Ritchie, a childless, 42-year-old legal secretary who named all six of her cats after students in the Gryffindor and Hufflepuff houses.

"I had my doubts when I heard that Chris Columbus was chosen to direct, but I have to hand it to him," said Ritchie, who owns more than 150 Harry Potter toys, including the hard-to-find Powercaster Electronic Spell-Casting Playset. "He did a great job bringing Rowling's vision to the screen, particularly the Quidditch match and the living paintings at Hogwarts. I can't wait for Chamber Of Secrets."

Maybe it's Harry's underdog qualities that make him so appealing. Or maybe it's the way wondrously magical things seem to burst from every page that makes the books so compelling to the likes of San Diego's Gary Minton, 41, who appeared as "Harry Potter Geek" on a recent episode of Comedy Central's Beat The Geeks game show.

"There's never been anything like Harry—it's simply a phenomenon," said Minton, creator of the "Unofficial Hermione Granger Fan Page" and whose house neighborhood children have been warned never to enter. "And the movie is perfect, especially the casting of Emma Watson as Hermione. She's even prettier than I imagined. I hope she reads the Hermione Granger fan fiction I sent her."

Child-development experts and arrested-development experts agree that Harry Potter's impact on society has been enormous.

"What J.K. Rowling has done to foster literacy in a world where it was declining so steadily makes her a true hero," child psychologist Dr. Sandy Wexler said. "But for adults, it's a different story. Retreating into a child's fantasy world is one of the most distressing preliminary signs of becoming unhinged, even when the books are as richly imagined and engrossing as the Harry Potter series."

Added Wexler: "Incidentally, do you think Snape is a Death Eater? I know he helped Harry out in Book One, but I have this theory."

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