So the New Moon is about to rise. But if you prefer spells to sucking blood, amble into Whimsic Alley, where you'll find Muggles excitedly tricking themselves into Potterland. At the Alley, you'll find the magic supplies you'll need if you decide to board the Hogwarts Express. In here, a cluster of make-believe shops sell different magic wares from robes, wands and spell books to action figures, candies and keychains. Spend hours slipping into the house robes — Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, or picking up the right wand to cast your spell. There's also wizard rock for the “music-alley” inclined, plus witches who offer to perform magic shows, for a price of course! However don't pay in gold, as this will only stretch the recession curse. Visit the store to find a charming escape from the dark times that have engulfed us Muggles. You'll be surprised how your budget will magically fit in a lot, even if you're cash-strapped in the real world. 2717 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 453-2370,

—Ipsita Basu Dasgupta

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