Pediculus Riddikulus: What Would Harry Potter Do?

It’s the season for scary things—witches, goblins, cheap Halloween candy in cellophane packets, and…Boggarts.

A “Boggart,” for anyone lacking Harry Potter experience, is a shape-shifting creature that appears to each of us differently, in the form of our own greatest fear. If head lice scare you, the Boggart will look just like a pack of head lice that glare at you menacingly with their beady eyes, causing you to whimper uncontrollably, throw caustic chemicals at it, and burn your possessions—all the while blushing furiously with shame.

This is exactly the kind of behavior that Boggarts love. They delight in watching people freak out, and love to see you spin in hysteria, secretly laughing at you as you convince everyone within earshot that the world is about to end in a feeding frenzy of possessed bugs! Thousands upon thousands, breeding frantically on every surface of your home and the precious heads of your loved ones!

Fortunately, there is a strategy that completely confuses the Boggart, and a spell that is guaranteed to create the one thing that can defeat it—laughter. As your Lice Happens Wizard, um, Specialist, I will help implement the strategy and teach you the spell.

Here’s what you need to know: in order to defeat a Boggart, it’s best not to face him alone. Having someone else nearby bewilders the Boggart, as he deals with his confusion about exactly whose fear he’s supposed to embody. It’s a perfect time to call in a Lice Happens Specialist, who also happens to be a Wizard at getting rid of head lice, to get this strategy to work.

Due to my presence, the Boggart won’t be able to decide whether to show up as your fear—an alarming case of head lice, or mine—a social phobia involving patent leather heels and toilet paper. While the Boggart reels with indecisiveness, we’ll do what Harry Potter would do: we’ll hit him with the best spell EVER to come out of the entire Hogwart’s curriculum.

“Pediculus Riddikulus!” is the proper incantation to shout while waving our wand, er, comb, and staring down the Boggart. Instantly, the lice will turn into tiny rubber chickens, or grow clown noses, or appear with Mickey Mouse hands—too big to grip a strand of hair, and too familiar to be frightening. We’ll laugh with delight, knowing that you’ve faced your biggest fear, and discovered that a little laughter (and my proven combing techniques) are all you need to banish the scary little Boggarts from your life.

Then you can go back to the really scary stuff—trying to figure out exactly what they put in those cellophane packets of bright orange Halloween candy.