|FROM THE KITCHEN|
|ON THE STREETS|
|DAILY PROPHET STAFF|
|DAILY PROPHET'S OFFICIAL ARCHIVES|
Glittering shards of glass from the elegant candy jars are spread across the floor. The shelves are bare of all treats and the lights are dimmed to conceal the missing merchandise. Outside, a large crowd is clamoring for attention. Their chants of "Can-dy! Can-dy!" can be heard from miles away.
What is this horrible happenstance? A shocking scene from a horror film? A thrilling moment in a mystery novel?
No such luck, folks. This is real; 100% true. This terrifying event is happening right now, as we speak, in Hogsmeade.
Early this morning, hundreds of witches and wizards gathered, each one of them eagerly anticipating Honeydukes' annual "Spook-tacular" sale on candy. As these groups began to form in the streets of Hogsmeade, Mr. Ambrosius Flume (the owner and proprietor of Honeydukes) awoke to find his store ransacked and his entire stock of candy stolen.
On this unfortunate event, Mr. Flume said, "It's gone. All of what I've worked towards for years is gone." He shook his head sadly and glared out of the window at the loud mass of protesters. "My whole reputation has been ruined!" When asked how he would remedy this tragedy, Flume simply sobbed dramatically into his embroidered handkerchief.
Despite his fragile mental state, Flume was able to give permission to the Chief of Magical Police Affairs to do a thorough analysis of the evidence. The police force was quick to begin their investigation, rushing around with their bulky equipment and intriguing methods of examination. Only ten minutes had passed before the first piece of evidence was found in the remains of one of the shattered candy jars.
"It's a strand of hair," the proud finder of the object announced. "We can test it for DNA!"
After the results from an incredibly speedy evaluation of the hair were returned to the impatient police officers, a chorus of hushed whispers spread around the room like wildfire. My heart beat impossibly fast as I peered around the wall of officers to see the computer screen. When I was finally awarded a clear view of the results, I didn't believe my eyes.
"Mr Flume?" I questioned. "Why would he want to do this to his own store?"
Mr. Flume himself gave me an answer just a few minutes later. As a maniacal grin spread across the sharp contours of his face, he screamed out, "Death to Halloween!"
Though it was so unexpected, we would like to make sure you know the dangers that come from making stupid plans.
Last week, I was meandering through Hogsmeade, looking for something exciting to do. By some strange twist of fate, I found myself standing in front of Honeydukes. My poor stomach grumbled hungrily as the gooey texture and tangy flavor of cherry nougats filled my thoughts. My tastebuds started to water and my feet began to carry me into the shop of their own accord.
My craving for the delectable desserts only grew as I searched the shelves for the familiar red wrappers. To my dismay, the glorious sight of the red-clad nougats was nowhere to be seen. Confused and worried, I rushed towards the young witch who seemed to be in charge of the goings-on in the store.
"Where are the nougats?!" I asked, my voice rapidly rising several octaves higher than usual. "I neeeeeeed them!"
She rolled her eyes and pointed to a sign on the wall behind her. "Can't you read? It's Halloween, so we're only selling our candy to people who order in advance. If you'd like to place an order, there will be an additional fee of 100 Galleons."
My eyes grew wide as I fingered the 10 Knuts in my pocket. "Um... I'll have to take you up on that another time."
Bewilderment took control of my thoughts as I left that day. What is Halloween, I wondered, and what does it have to do with such high prices?
Since that disappointing day, I've learned quite a bit about this odd occurrence, and I'd like to impart my newfound wisdom to you.
Halloween is one of those crazy Muggle celebrations that doesn't make any sense to those of us in the Wizarding World. After dusk falls, all of the Muggle children run from door to door, pretending to be magical creatures. Believe it or not, some of the children even have the audacity to dress up as witches and wizards! As if this isn't already the weirdest custom ever, the young Muggles beg for candy at each of the houses they visit. Many of them return to their own homes with endless bags of candy.
This, dear readers, is why Honeydukes tried to charge me an arm and a leg to buy a few nougats. People - Muggles and wizards alike - have bought out all of the fairly priced treats in preparation for the upcoming holiday. With such a high-level demand compared to a rather small supply, prices have skyrocketed. If you are planning to buy any delicious treats in the near future, I must advise you to avoid shopping for them before Halloween. The sky-high prices are sure to fall as soon as November hits, though, so be on the watch for much more reasonably-priced sweets.
It's the month of frights and scares for Muggles, who use the last day of October to acknowledge what they think are witches, wizards, vampires, and other spooky things. Of course, most of their spooky stories are entirely made up, and the rest of them have their facts so mixed that they're hardly worth listening to. However, the Wizarding World has many Muggle sympathizers, some of whom have begun to lobby the Ministry to allow wizards to celebrate this hilarious holiday in Britain. This has sparked considerable controversy among the average witches and wizards, who are not as fond of our magic-less companions. Should we offer this ridiculous tribute to Muggles, perhaps as a celebration of the success of the Statute of Secrecy? Or, is it a dangerous sport that may lead to further exposure? There were different opinions all across the country.
George Weasley, a reputed joke shop owner who tragically lost his twin in the war that led to Voldemort's demise, thinks that this is a brilliant idea. He said, "I think it should bloody well be celebrated! It would be a great laugh, honestly. Plus, think of all of the enchanted decorations that could be made! I certainly hope that the Minister approves this Muggle holiday."
For more information about how St. Mungo's believes that George has gone insane from his brother's death, see one of our future issues.
However, Draco Malfoy, a well-respected Pureblood with an excellent lineage, disagrees with George. He said, "I think this is a preposterous idea. What a proposition! Celebrating how ignorant and misinformed Muggles are? I find the very idea offensive! It might even further compromise our safety. I sincerely believe that the Minister will quickly and firmly veto the very idea."
Unfortunately for George, the general consensus seems to be with Draco. Most wizards on the street would find the gaudy trappings and tales of this Muggle holiday to be ridiculous, at the very least. However, there is a decent-sized group that see pros and cons either way. Romilda Vane, a lovely-looking witch famous for acting in the Wizarding World, finds there to be pros and cons on either side.
"Yes, I suppose seeing wizards in Muggle costumes would be funny," said Romilda, "and the Muggle tradition of giving out sweets would be well-received by children, but it just seems odd to me, you know? Do we really want to celebrate the things that Muggles get wrong? I mean, it would be fun for some, but I personally wouldn't do it."
It seems that when it comes to Halloween, the word in Britain simply isn't enough to decide.
Hello, dear readers, and thank you for choosing The Daily Prophet! This month, I will be taking a look into the holiday of “Halloween”, since it is October, after all!
Now, many people assume that Halloween is celebrated worldwide, given its cultural influence in the USA and the UK, amongst other western countries. However, you may be surprised to know that there are many places worldwide that do not celebrate Halloween, or in which Halloween is seen as a “token” holiday. Here are some examples to illustrate what I mean:
In China, the Chinese do not celebrate “Halloween” on the 31st October - at least, not officially. They instead have the "Hungry Ghost Festival" in mid-July, during which it is customary to float river lanterns to remember those who have died. For Halloween, Chinese Christian churches do hold religious celebrations; however, non-religious celebrations are dominated by expatriate Americans or Canadians. It is important to note that costume parties are popular for Chinese young adults, especially in large cities where Western influences are more prevalent.
Similarly, Halloween arrived in Japan mainly as a result of American pop culture. The wearing of elaborate costumes by young adults has only recently become very popular in cities such as Osaka and Tokyo. Overall, the holiday has become popular with young adults as a costume party and club event, rather than an official holiday serving a religious purpose. In the Philippines, the period from 31st October to the 2nd November is a time for remembering dead family members and friends. Many Filipinos travel back to their home towns for family gatherings of festive remembrance, which is more similar to the initial intent of the Halloween holiday than in other Asian countries.
Surprisingly Australia does not have a strong affiliation with Halloween, either, despite being much more heavily associated with Western culture. Although Halloween is not traditionally a part of Australian culture, non-religious celebrations of Halloween modelled on North American festivities are growing increasingly popular in Australia, in spite of seasonal differences. Criticism within the country stems largely from the fact that Halloween has little relevance to Australia, and instead is again seen as an “American” influence.
Even within Europe, Halloween is not widely celebrated. For example, Halloween is a work day in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was not celebrated there until recently. Again, Halloween was not generally observed in Germany prior to the 1990s, but has been increasing in popularity in more recent years.
In Russia, the celebration of Halloween began in the 1990s, when costume and ghoulish parties spread throughout night clubs. Halloween is generally celebrated by younger generations and is therefore not widely celebrated in a more traditional society. In fact, Halloween is among the Western celebrations that the Russian government and politicians are trying to eliminate from public celebration altogether.
These are only a few of the many examples of countries that do not recognise Halloween as a public holiday; it just goes to show you that the holiday is much less prevalent than many think. In fact, it almost seems as though the over-the-top celebrations and hype surrounding Halloween in the USA and the UK are unwarranted, given that the holiday itself is meant to be a religious observation of the deceased. But then again, I'm certain that there are holidays in other cultures that aren't celebrated worldwide, so I guess that it's just part of the cultural diversity that exists in our world!
I hope that this was interesting, and possibly gave you a new take on a holiday that you've probably never thought twice about! Next month, we'll be discussing the birthday of a very important person, who definitely, totally isn't me...
See you next time!
This month, fans of The Daily Prophet have been writing to us left, right, and centre, asking why it is that 4,000 Ministry workers dressed as all manner of magical creatures appeared on the doorstep of Diagon Alley at around 5pm last Tuesday. Well, always ones to answer the pertinent questions in life, we have donned our investigatory hats and set to work finding out the explanation!
It all started last Monday, when several representatives from the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes announced that they planned on banning the Muggle celebration of Halloween. They claimed that, every year, wizards and witches all over the country become so infuriated with the costumes donned by the Muggles that they often set about trying to give them the fright of their life. Just last week, Pyrrhus Burkhart had to be rescued from the London sewers, after he jinxed twenty Muggles to believe that they were zombies, and then accidentally fell down the drain after them. With stories like this, it is hard to disagree with the Department on this matter.
In response to this announcement, thousands of Ministry workers from all departments arrived at work the next day dressed as a range of magical creatures – from Boggarts to Basilisks – in order to protest the ban. The strike had to be called off after only a few hours, however, after Dotty Tatton fainted at the sight of a gang of werewolves hovering outside of her door, and had to be carted off to St. Mungo’s for emergency shock therapy.
Not ones to be easily deterred, the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes locked all of their doors and quickly signed the paper for the ban. Before they could get any further, though, members from the Department of International Magical Cooperation broke down the doors and lit the bill on fire. As they began to celebrate, the fire quickly spread through the room, causing a mass evacuation, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Bruce Ayers accidentally set fire to the whole top floor with his flaming chicken army.
Once out of the Ministry building, the sight of 4,000 oddly-dressed wizards and witches (and that’s not to mention those in costume) was enough to terrify the London townsfolk, who swiftly called the Muggle police to report a possible threat to national security. As hundreds of cop cars dashed to the scene, the wizards were forced to flee into Diagon Alley, all while Terrell Jameson was repeatedly hit over the head by an old lady with an umbrella.
So, dear readers, this is exactly why Diagon Alley became so saturated with costumed Ministry workers last week. We at The Daily Prophet would like to wish the Ministry of Magic the best of luck with fixing the damages, and would like to politely remind them not to get in the way of Halloween next year.
Grab your pumpkin juice and Halloween sweets, and settle down with your copy of the latest issue of the Daily Prophet, dear readers. I am about to tell you a heart-warming story of a very special sporting event that took place this month.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you should be aware that the WWG (Wizards’ Wrestling Group) has rolled into Diagon Alley for a one-off performance at the end of the month. However, upon arrival, the wrestlers spontaneously announced that they would be holding Wizards’ Wrestling classes for children between the ages of four and sixteen.
As it turned out, these were no ordinary classes. When the multitudes of children and parents arrived – excited to see their idols in action – they encountered roving bands of ghouls, goblins, mummies, banshees, and all manner of other weird and wonderful creatures. The wrestlers had taken it upon themselves to dress up in costumes for Halloween, and intended to make the experience as scarily fun as possible. Fortunately for me, I was lucky enough to win a week’s pass to these classes, and I had the opportunity to see the pros in action.
For those who are not as familiar with the sport as me, Wizarding Wrestling involves leaving your wand in your pocket, and casting spells through your hands as you fight. Whether or not you consider yourself a fan, you must have heard of the semi-final match in which August Bottoms defeated Jamie Harris with a well-timed Rictusempra, which left Harris so confused that he tumbled over the barrier and landed on top of Rita Skeeter.
During these classes, the wrestlers taught the children how to perform several basic wrestling moves combined with spells, including Rictusempra, Lumos, and Expelliarmus. While all three spells were very popular, with both children and adults alike blasting each other with colourful spells, many Diagon Alley shop owners complained about the level of noise and the number of children blinding them with light as they continued their practices on the cobbled streets outside.
In particular, there was one child who made everybody emotional. Theodore Scrivens spent the whole week unable to cast a spell or wrestling move, and it left him quite downhearted. Not ones to give up, the wrestlers worked together to encourage and guide Theo, until, after a whole week, he managed to perform an Expelliarmus Blast worthy of any final match. Afterwards, many of the wrestlers were moved to tears, expressing how proud they were of the success of this little wizard.
One interesting piece of information to note, however, was that this event was not entirely permitted by the Ministry of Magic. While they had given it the go-ahead, it appears that they were unaware of how much underage magic would be used, and they certainly did not allow the children to break the Decree for the Restriction of Underage Sorcery in broad daylight. Several Ministry representatives from the Improper Use of Magic Office arrived to try to put a stop to the show, only to find themselves the target of many well-timed wrestling moves (with very few adults stepping forward to help them). In fact, Caitlyn Castle, an investigator for the Department, was later seen returning with a lousy disguise on, to try and join in the fun.
There you have it then, readers – here is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get involved in wrestling and meet your favourite stars. This fantastic event is here in Diagon Alley until the end of October, so make sure to head on down and book your tickets. Just don’t forget your shield spells!
October only means one thing on HEX: the chance to battle against friends in an all-out pumpkin war! However, while the forums sitewide put up their decorations, the HEX Staff seem to be facing more than they bargained for …
A Mystery to Solve
Grab your shovels and gloves, HEXians, because it’s time yet again for a scarily-good pumpkin harvest! … Wait, what’s that? There are no pumpkins? What is happening!?
While the HEX Staff try their best to find replacement seeds, keep an eye out whilst checking out the festivities around Hogwarts – you may find more than just the occasional jump-scare.
Gift of the Gryffin
What’s even better than a colourful trip back through Godric Gryffindor’s life? The chance to do this and win some faultless prizes! The Gryffindor House Staff spoiled us this month with a special event. What with duelling and roleplaying galore, you would have been crazy to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try being Gryffindor himself!
What are you waiting for? Head on over to the event right here, to see what kinds of events went down!
What with thieves stealing our hard-earned pumpkin supplies, you may think that the Halloween situation cannot get any worse. Well, you’d be right in thinking that, as the arrival of a zombie horde in the HINT Forums can only make Halloween that much more awesome! Plus, who could ever say no to a real beating heart and over 8,000 House Points in prizes?
Grab your pitchforks and flaming torches, and make your way down to the Magical Theories Forum to find out more.
Zombies, pumpkins, and now ghosts? HEX is really getting into the Halloween spirit this year! If you don’t quite feel ready to tackle the hordes, or you’d like to take a break from thief-hunting, then Nearly Headless Nick needs your ghost-busting skills over in October’s RPotM: Hide and Shriek.
Alternatively, if you’re feeling up to the challenge, why not check out the RPC’s very own haunted house with your friends over in October’s RP Freestyle: Creepy Creations? It’s guaranteed that you’ll have the fright of your life!
A&G Forum Update
Are you sitting there wondering, “When will this Halloween nightmare be over”? Fortunately for you, the Arts & Graphics Forum is there to offer you a friendly escape from the terror spreading across the rest of the site by choosing to focus instead on some of our favourite animated movies.
Try your hand at turning your favourite Disney character into the Pixar animation style – or vice versa – over in this month’s Graphics Challenge, or rewrite your favourite Pixar movie with a Disney cameo over in the Writing Challenge. You’re sure to enjoy the nostalgia!
Quidditch: Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff
Finally, after last month’s wildly-long match between the Slythies and the Ravvies, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Quidditch season is over. Don’t get too adjusted to the inside warmth, though, because it’s time to traipse back down to the Quidditch Pitch for the second match: Lions vs. Badgers. Your team needs your support!
What’s more, the Magical Games & Sports Overseers are revving it up with an exciting new Snitch Program that looks to be just as fantastic as a Dementor on the Pitch (if not more). Don’t miss your chance to take part!
Daily Prophet Contest Results
We want to thank everyone for participating in this month's Daily Prophet Contest! While there were many who participated in this contest, only six could win. A massive congratulations to our winners who won 1,000 House Points for their respective Houses!
Once again, thank you all for participating in this month's contest! We look forward to seeing you next month!
That’s all for this month’s HEX Report, dearest readers. Don’t forget to support your team and join in the Halloween festivities (although maybe not at the same time)!
Welcome, dear readers, to another edition of Starburst! As you all know, we here at the Daily Prophet aim to only report the 100% accurate, completely non-fictitious truth about all of your favourite celebrities, from Harry Potter to the Weird Sisters. This month, we have a few stories that I'm sure will pique your interest, from costume fails to potential new relationships.
First up, rumor has it that Bella Urinsa, the famed singer who was dubbed "the new Celestina Warbeck" by Witch Weekly, has a new beau. We spotted her walking down Diagon Alley just last week with a swarthy, unknown wizard on her arm. Of course, she's always been a woman who has liked summer flings more than relationships, but we spoke to an inside source, who claimed that she has been dating this mysterious man for three months already. Only time will tell if their relationship will stand, but I'm betting that it won't last for much longer before Bella goes back to her old ways.
The Weird Sisters' concerts are always strange, but the concert that they held last week in front of an audience of 1000 eager fans was definitely the strangest one they've had yet. Their drummer, Orsino Thruston, accidentally ripped his robes while he was performing, and he exposed one body part that we definitely didn't want to see that night. Word on the street has it that his girlfriend is planning on breaking up with him over that, but let's hope that she comes to her senses and stays with him. I would hate for such a cute couple to be broken up.
This October, the Ministry is planning on bringing back the annual Halloween Ball, which they haven't hosted since 1981. Many illustrious guests are expected to be in attendance, like Harry Potter, George Weasley, and Hermione Granger. Let's hope that this Halloween turns out to be a good one, unlike many others that we've had in the past.
Now, we're at our final piece of gossip. But don't worry, it's a juicy one. We received word that Epina Sweeting and Brad Yuko have broken up. Yes, you read that right - the couple that was voted the best celebrity couple last year is done. Apparently, Epina was furious over the fact that Brad hadn't proposed yet, after three years of dating, and she just stormed out of their house one day with nothing more than the clothes on her back and her wand. We heard from a source very close to the couple that Brad was trying to get Epina to come back, but Epina was adamant on staying as far away from him as possible.
And that's all for this week, folks. If you have any news about stars that you've been dying to share, feel free to owl us, and your story may be featured in our next paper.
Hello, dearies. Aunt Edna is here to give you the necessary advice for any occasion. As this is the month of October, it is only fitting that I give you advice on the must-haves for decorating your lawn with the best Halloween ornaments. These important tips will ensure that your garden gets the five-star approval from all of your neighbours and, of course, the trick-or-treaters coming around wanting candy.
Now, first and foremost, your garden must be riddled with gravestones. Gravestones are an essential part of any Halloween décor and not having them ensures that you lose the street’s ‘Best Halloween Decorator’ award. Not only that, but you also won't have the bragging rights that go along with it. Those gravestones must be made of stone to make them look authentic; Merlin forbid your gravestones look as fake as they are.
Make sure they are also covered in a bit of moss, and also make a few chips here and there to ensure that they appear old and worn. For added effect, if you happen to have a ghost haunting your house, ask them politely if they would like to float around the garden on the night of Halloween. This really drives home your attempts to make your lawn look like a graveyard.
The next thing you need to remember is to have lots of spiders covering the outer walls of the house. These should range from the size of regular puny spiders, all the way to the size of adolescent Acromantulas. You have to remember to cover all bases to ensure proper levels of fear arise in all who gaze upon your house. The most important part about this is that you must enchant those spiders to make them move around, making them as lifelike as possible; no one can say that you put in minimal effort if you do that. Put some fake webs around the place for extra effect, as well.
Another important thing to remember is the skeletons. If you can get your hands on some real ones, that would be perfect, but fake ones will do - you just have to make them look more real with a bit of paint. You must place at least two complete skeletons in the garden, as well as an assortment of bones littered around the place; at least three skulls are optimal. Skeletons are an integral part of any Halloween décor, so don’t forget them.
The last, and probably most important, thing to remember is the jack-o'-lanterns. Jack-o'-lanterns are a large part of Halloween festivity, and to not have any in your garden is blasphemy at its highest. The minimum is four, with a maximum of ten; you don’t want to overdo it. Make sure at least one of them has been enchanted to laugh wickedly whenever someone walks by or even glances in the direction of your garden. The sound effects emphasise the scare factor of all of your efforts and will lead you to victory over all of your neighbours.
With these essentials parts, there is no way that anyone could find fault with your Halloween décor. As usual, dears, this advice will work without fail. That is all for now, and I will be back next month with more useful advice.
Happy Halloween, readers! This month, it's your girl Cass bringing you some spooooooky Halloween treat recipes! (Honestly, is anyone actually surprised that every time I write this column, it's desserts? Probably not!) This month's recipe is a cupcake that makes you feel like a vampire when you bite into it. (Cherry filling. Uh, it's cherry filling, not, y'know, blood or anything.) Ingredients and instructions are below, my lovely readers!
That's it for this month's From the Kitchen! See y'all next month!
Welcome to another On the Streets, readers! In this issue, we were out-and-about around the site, asking our wonderful HEXians what their thoughts are on Halloween. We ended up receiving a crazy number of submissions, so thank you to everyone who took part and shared their opinions!
What are you waiting for? Here they are!