WIZARDING CRIMES : SEARCH FOR MISSING CHILD CONTINUES
OCT. 2015, LONDON -- In relation to our latest story, there is no word yet on the missing Muggle child. There are still strange goings on in the Ministry of Magic, and it has been discovered the Minister of Magic was under the Imperius curse, though the assailant is still unknown. Aurors are on around the clock, patrolling for any news, and the Minister of Magic has temporarily been relieved of duty and confined to a highly monitored bed in St. Mungo's till the curse can be broken or reversed. There has been no official statement on who will be taking over during the Minister's leave of absence.
The missing Muggle child has been identified as Lucas Callows of Little Wheining. There is no word yet on if his disappearance had anything to do with the vandalism at the childhood home of Harry Potter, but it is looking very likely. The Ministry of Magic gave this statement at last week's press conference.
"Please, if you have any information on the missing Muggle child, his ties to Harry Potter, or you know anything about what has been done to the Minister of Magic, we urge you to call our hotline at once. It is of the utmost importance we get as much knowledge as possible as quickly as possible to remedy this ghastly ordeal."
The Auror Department has no comment at this time, though the Prophet has been assured they are doing everything in their power to fix the wrongs done over the last few months. They have no new leads, an inside source reported anonymously, but they're digging into every past misdemeanor for any sign of something more malicious.
ECONOMY : A SWIFT RESPONSE TO CHARITY TAX CONCERNS
Everyone has been waiting for it. Many doubted it would ever happen. Few believed it would do any good. Many awaited it with skepticism, but our Minister has kept his word.
Of what does this article refer to? "I am aware that many of you doubted my promised speech on charity taxes would ever take place, but I assure you, the Ministry of Magic always fulfills its promises!" The Minister announced during a public speech on new security reformations. The Minister then told us that his speech would be the next week.
A large crowd attended the speech, everyone wondering what the Minister will have to say on the idea of charity taxes, a tax system in which official charities would have to send a certain percentage of the money they raised to the Ministry. Some notable attendees include Penelope Swift, a woman now well known for campaigning for Muggles. Swift started her own charity for Muggles a while ago, an act that is rumoured to be the reason for the Minister's speech on charity taxes.
Five minutes late, the Minister arrived. "First," the Minister began, "I would like to thank each and every one of you for coming today. I understand that there is quite the controversy on charity taxes, but I assure you that any concerns or doubts you may have now will be erased by the end of this speech. I see several faces in the crowd tonight that may not entirely agree with the tax, and some that may openly oppose it, but have no fear. All shall be resolved."
"How?" protester Kil Marc shouted. Marc was just one of the many protesters attending the speech. Many held signs against charity taxes. Notably, Swift was asked to join those protesting, but refused.
"You shall see, you shall see," the Minister continued. "Meanwhile, I am sure you will agree there are several strong points on the idea of a charity tax. Taxes, as you well know, go towards important matters such as education or roads. As of now, there are many educational reforms still on the drawing boards because there is not enough funds to put them into action. Prevent charity taxes, and you are preventing the future of the world. You are preventing the education of the next generation. You are limiting the bright future your children could have in store. Allow charity taxes, and your children can look forward to a better, brighter future. England itself can look forward to a better future, safely placed in the hands of the next generation. A generation that must be educated, and with charity taxes, we can further that education.
"Secondly, charity taxes ensure that all charities actually use the money for selfless purposes, not simply for monetary gain. It is well-known that many organizations call themselves charities, while their only true purpose is to raise money for themselves. Do you want your money to go selfish, greedy businessmen? To lying, cheating scoundrels? The Ministry will not stand for such causes, and with charity taxes, you can be assured that the money you donate goes to good purposes. With charity taxes, every charity that wishes to continue as a charity will have to officially register as such. The Ministry will then examine the charity and determine if its causes are true. If they are, the charity will be listed as an official charity, and people will rest easy knowing their money went to a good cause, instead of to money-hoarding thieves.
"Official charities would be required to submit a small amount of their earnings to the Ministry as taxes, of course. But think about it this way. This is an effective way to weed out 'dead' charities, or charities that lack the funds to actually do anything. When a charity gives charity taxes, they are not only helping the future generation of England, but they are assuring the government that they are an effective charity and raise money efficiently. Needless to say, if a charity does not send in enough taxes and therefore does not raise enough money to be of any help, they will be discontinued as a charity.
"Keep in mind that this will not in any way prevent charities from doing their work. The rest of the money they earn will go to their work as a charity, whether it is feeding the poor or providing homes for Squibs. I believe one person commented that 'The Ministry already has to have its nose in everything; now it wants to take charge of charities, too?' Keep in kind that we will not 'take charge of charities'. Besides occasional inspections to make sure each charity has honest intentions and is doing good work, we will let the charities be. The Ministry does not wish to interfere with selfless acts of kindness, and we will not. I can speak for everyone in the Ministry when I say that we all appreciate what charities do and would never want to limit that. Thank you to all charities out there, and we all support you."
The responses were mixed. Several cheers and claps were heard, while there was an equal amount of jeers. Afterwards, we asked Penelope Swift what she thought of the speech.
"I think that whoever wrote the speech for the Minister did a very good job," Swift told us, "but I do believe that the Minister left out some key points. There was no mention of what supposed educational reforms were being planned, and the Minister seemed very careful not to talk about any definite plans. Even if there was some sort of educational reform in the works, there are several other ways to raise money. The Minister seemed eager to point out the good things about charity taxes, but failed to point out why charity taxes were necessary in the first place. He also neglected to mention any other plans of action the Ministry might have considered before deciding on charity taxes. After all, surely taking away from such a selfless organization as charities wouldn't be the first option, would it? Surely other options would have been considered? The Minister did quite a good job at beating around the bush and not actually describing any details. What would make a charity official? What requirements would it have to pass? What percentage would the tax be? What amount of money is considered not enough? We are the people, and we deserve specifics, not just some general, wishy-washy, short speech."
When asked why she didn't join the protesting rally in the audience, Swift replied that she didn't feel protesting was the right way to go about it. "The government wants to play it political, so let's play it political. I don't want to see this getting out of control, and protesting rallies tend to lead to violence. I don't want this to be a violent issue. For now, everyone is just using words, and I want this to stay that way."
The Minister refused to comment on Swift's concerns about the speech. "Just remember," he told us, "charity taxes are for the good of all."
Whether that is true remains to be seen. The struggle is real.
REGIONALS : HONORING THE PAST, LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE
Former Head of Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic, Franklin Ambert, has died at the age of 88 after suffering a suspected attack on the job, his family has announced. Mr. Ambert, the Ministry's longest serving Ministry worker, died on Thursday.
His resignation speech was widely seen as a key factor in Cornelius Fudge's downfall as Minister of Magic. His partner in the Department, Ed Langton, led tributes, saying: "The Ministry has lost one of its greatest."
While we mourn over the loss of a wonderful wizard, we must turn to accept the newest generation's skills. A witch at the age of a mere 19 has been accepted into the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. By the name of Shannon Parks, she's slowly rising to the top.
Many have questioned her legitimacy and whether she really is a witch or not, seeing her Muggle-born past. Others have tried to defend her. Which, in my opinion, is for the best. What is quite intriguing is the difference between the way Muggle-borns are treated to the way Purebloods are treated.
While the wand does choose the wizard, how does the wand recognize a squib from a Muggle, and so on and so forth? How are Muggle-borns declared magical if all you need to do magic is but a wand?
But moving on from topics that are beyond my reach, while this article mainly focused on the aspects of the Ministry, (and strayed farther because I can't stay on topic) we've learned a lot from Mr. Franklin Ambert and his discoveries, so remember to keep him in your thoughts the next time you visit the Ministry of Magic for your daily duties, or for a job interview.
That's all I have to say, see you next month in the Regionals column!
INTERNATIONAL : A HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN
As almost everyone knows, what with the return of the Pumpkin Patch and new October contests, fall is among us. With fall comes many internationally celebrated holidays, all of which I could report on, but I have chosen to report on the most personally uncharacteristic holiday: Halloween.
I do not celebrate Halloween, but this article was still relatively easy for me. First off, Halloween is shortened from All Hallows Evening, also called Hallowe'en or All Hallow's Eve. Halloween is really an international holiday, as it is celebrated in many, many countries, including the United States., Ireland, Scotland, Puerto Rico and Australia. It is thought that Irish and Scottish people may have carried the holiday with them to the United States as they immigrated, but a lot of people feel that some things don't match up.
People trick-or-treat, and wear costumes. They build jack-o-lanterns and visit haunted houses. But where is Halloween from? It is from Celtica, derived from the festival, Samhain (sah-win). Trick-or-treating is when a child walks up to a house and demands candy, or they will perform a trick. Trick-or-treating costumes were originally worn to imitate evil spirits, which would soothe them. Now costumes are worn all the time on Halloween, to parties and even sometimes to schools.
As I said, I don't celebrate Halloween, and my family doesn't like the holiday. But it has always interested me, and I hope this interests you.
LunaHermione1, over and out.
POLITICS : WITCHCRAFT ACT of 1735
Many of us, born in the modern world, would never have heard of the Witchcraft Act of 1735. We now live in a society protected by the Statute of Secrecy, shielding our magical activities and livelihood from Muggles’ prying eyes. History has taught us that it was not as peachy as it is now.
Until the 17th century, magical folk were free to practice magic. These witches and wizards used their magical abilities for both good and bad. Some became healers, providing medical assistance to those who need it, and there are others who used their talents for nefarious purposes. Nevertheless, magic was a normal part of life and it wasn’t something that needed to be hidden from the world.
The Witchcraft Act was a law passed by the Parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1735 which made it a crime for a person to claim that any human being had magical powers or was guilty of practising witchcraft. The maximum penalty set out by the Act was a year's imprisonment.
It thus marks the end point of the period where witches and wizards could practice magic openly. In doing so, many of our magical ancestors were imprisoned and punished for breaking the law. Many common folk who benefitted from the practice of magic thought the law as "a heavy-handed piece of Enlightenment rationalism", reverting to the view of the medieval church - that witchcraft and magic were illusory, treating as an offence not the supposed practice of witchcraft but the superstitious belief in its existence.
However, given the rise of the church’s power, the law stayed intact, prompting our own government to come up with a law that would ensure the safety and prosperity of the wizarding world. The International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy was put in place nearly one hundred years before the Witchcraft Act of 1735, after the horrific history of witch hunts and murders that plagued medieval Europe. Witches and wizards retreated from the view of general society, thus isolating themselves from Muggles.
The Witchcraft Act of 1735 is still intact to this day, with the last person convicted under the Act being Jane Rebecca Yorke of Forest Gate in east London. On 26 September 1944 at the Central Criminal Court, Yorke was convicted on seven counts of "pretending to cause the spirits of deceased persons to be present”. She was arrested in July 1944. At her trial in September at London's Central Criminal Court she was found guilty on seven counts against the Witchcraft Act of 1735. Yorke was fined £5 and placed on good behaviour for three years, promising she would hold no more séances. The light sentence was due to her age of 72.
SPORTS : Article Name
Unfortunately, there is something sad to report this month. While it is not strictly sporting news, the news that Jocelind Wadcock has passed away has hit us all hard. Older Puddlemere United fans will remember her as the Chaser who brought the team up from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best - and that's where they've stayed since.
At 104, she didn't play Quidditch at the time of her death. No, she had been retired for years, but she faithfully attended each and every Puddlemere United game right up until her death.
Fortunately, she was able to see Alison Wood take on the Tutshill Tornadoes, and as the last ever game to watch, it certainly wasn't an anticlimax. After a mere three months on the team, Oliver Wood's daughter has quickly gained a reputation as an incredible Chaser.
In fact, some are saying that she would beat Ginny Weasley - if said Chaser still played, that is.
The game against the Tornadoes was already very hyped up. It was the first game of the season, as well as being played between the two finalists in the last season. The Tornadoes snatched victory in June, but what would the outcome be some four months later?
Well, Puddlemere United made a pretty quick lead - although they'd obviously heard rumours, the Tornadoes clearly underestimated just how well Alison played. Then, just when it seemed that the Tornadoes would suffer a crushing defeat, they scored, making it 10-60 to Puddlemere.
Then they scored again. And again. And again. After a nail-biting forty-five minutes of action, the score was 160-200 to Puddlemere United.
But there was no sign of the Snitch. Both Seekers were hanging in midair, trying to catch just a glimpse of the little golden ball. By the time they saw it, Tutshill were up 250-230.
But the game still wasn't over! Although Julien Pucey and Magdalen Adams are incredibly good Seekers, perhaps they were too good at that point. You see, they both went for the Snitch, but neither caught it. They didn't crash, but somehow, the Snitch disappeared. Neither of them could see where it had gone, so they eventually went back to circling the pitch for it.
After another three minutes, the score was 250-250. And the Snitch was spotted - but by a crowd member. A Liam Jones cried "The Snitch!" and pointed, prompting both Seekers to shoot towards it. It flew close to the ground, barely visible through the long grass that many later said 'really should have been cut'.
It was a desperate race, but in the end Mr. Pucey caught the Snitch, bringing home the victory for Puddlemere United!
Ms. Wadcock had time for some short words about the game: "Well, it took a flippin' long time to get going, but it certainly didn't disappoint! It's good to see Puddlemere in the running again."
Although many would disagree that Puddlemere are the ones who should win the league, I hope that each and every aspiring Quidditch player can take something from the words of Ms. Wadcock when she played herself: "If you want to do something, do it. And if anyone tells you that you can't do it? Do it anyway, just to prove them wrong."
As usual, I have many, MANY exciting things to report on for this month. There is so much happening that it's hard to keep track of, and you just know that the best is still to come!
By Samantha Bradley
We started out with a couple amazing House events. The first one was a lovely restock called Hufflepuff and the Chocolate Factory. I always love anything involving Willy Wonka and/or chocolate. My two favorite things about this one were the fabulous candy avvies that matched the user's personality and the custom-made Oompa Loompa songs. This event was a huge hit, enjoyed by all who participated. I personally buy into every restock, because you always find something fun and unique in there!
The second House event was a Ravenclaw sitewide, Kitchen Shenanigans. The event focused on the House Elves along with Luna Lovegood, and featured several very unique contests with great prizes to whet the appetites of all. The staff of all the Houses put in a lot of effort to bring these events to us, and I'd like to say thank you for all they do!
The month of October started with what may have been the most exciting news of all for many Hexians - the return of Hex Idol! Hex has many gifted singers out there, and I personally can't wait to see what the contestants are going to sing this time! Of course, avvie wearing and audience tasks along with critiquing get us all involved in the action. It's almost like being an actual participant, even if you can't carry a tune!
The action just keeps on coming with the return of the ever popular pumpkin growing! This is a huge chance to earn lots of galleons and items for very little expense and effort. It is one of my favorite events of all time, and I am so happy to see it return! I did well last year and enjoyed it very much, and I know you all will, too! It's taken me forever to figure out how to cash in on Dirigible Plums, but this is so much simpler! Enjoy it while you can!
On a final note, the HINT forums have been updated with lots of new features. (I still haven't figured out what HINT stands for, by the way. I wonder how many of us there are that are clueless).You can post your own theories on real life issues or other fandoms in the Magical Theories forum, which should garner a lot more participation. The Book Discussion and Film Discussion forums now have a pass incentive where you can complete levels of tasks and earn some awesome looking graphics in the process! You can also earn the title of Gamer of the Month in the Games Forum, and be sure to check out the House Point contest of the month in the Clubs forum. This contest is a scavenger hunt, an activity loved by many users here on the site, so be sure not to miss it!
That's all for now. Stay tuned for more exciting events next month, because the fun never stops on Hex!
Dear Daily Prophet,
I am having trouble telling my parents I plan to take a year off from school after I graduate this year. I am afraid they will be disappointed in me. Any advice on how to tell them?
-The Struggling Slytherin
Hello there, The Struggling Slytherin,
I know the feeling of parents feeling disappointed in you. Unfortunately, it's something I've encountered quite a lot as of late. What I know, though, is that it's better to be honest with them than to hide what you feel. Hiding what you feel wouldn't really do you any good as it's going to just keep bothering you. It also isn't too nice to be doing something when you don't really feel like it anyway, right?
I think the best way to tell them would be while they're in a good mood. (That's usually how I break news to my parents, haha.) If it's a time they're in a pleasant mood, and they aren't too busy, that's a good time to tell them. Of course, they still will voice their opinions and what they feel once you've told them, but the first part is telling them.
Now, whether or not they agree with you will be the hard part, but also let them know that you're of age -- you can make your own decisions now. While they've been there helping you make these decisions throughout the years, now it's time you took your own pace and did what you feel would help you. It's something you've thought about as well, and it's something you know will work out in the long run, so let them know that.
While it may be difficult for them to accept, and they might dissuade you from doing so, at least they know what you feel. They know that you have a plan in mind, and they know you want to go somewhere. I don't really know how to help with them being disappointed, because it's bound to happen time and again. They're disappointed because you won't live up to whatever it is they expect of you. It isn't like you're bringing them down, though -- you're merely doing what you feel can work for yourself, and I applaud you for being able to take that matter into your hands.
Just let them know first and explain what you feel about it. Whether or not they agree, and whatever happens, at least they know what your plan is, and maybe you could come up with a compromise that would benefit all of you.
I'll hope for the best for you. <3
Dear Daily Prophet,
Why does a custard apple have so many seeds? I am eating it right now, so the thought occurred to me.
- Apple Girl
Hello there, Apple Girl!
Unfortunately, apples aren't really my type of fruit to eat, so I don't really know much about them, haha. Heck, I didn't even know what custard apples were until I went to check the all-knowing Muggle, Mr. Google. Unfortunately, Mr. Google was unable to answer my query about custard apples. He just told me the benefits about custard apples and things about it preventing cancer. While those are all interesting and great, they didn't really help me find the reason behind your question.
I apologize I'm not able to answer it, but I promise to keep searching for why! Once I've found it, you'll be the first to know, I promise.
Dear Daily Prophet,
Have you tried the muggle concoction called pumpkin spice latte?
- Starbucks Lover
Hello there, Starbucks Lover!
What an interesting name you used too. Were you by any chance inspired by that Taylor Swift song "Blank Space"? I think "Starbucks Lover" is one of the lyrics of the song.
Anyway, moving back. I haven't tried that Muggle concoction, no. I admit I have gone to Starbucks a number of times, but I don't really try the new things they put out. For one thing, I'm afraid that what I might try out wouldn't match my taste. Another, I'm afraid that if it doesn't match my taste, I'd be spending more money than what I usually get AND hating my drink. Okay, who am I kidding, I don't really try their new stuff out because it's a bit more expensive, haha.
I wasn't even aware the pumpkin spice latte existed until you mentioned it, actually! Maybe, just maybe, I could try it out the next time I head to Starbucks. Here's to hoping I won't regret getting it, though... and that my extra money to it wouldn't be put to waste. I've tried their rendition of Butterbeer before, and it tasted pretty good! Of course, it doesn't really match Butterbeers from Hogsmeade because those are pretty topnotch, but it comes pretty close! That, and at least Muggles get to taste it? (Even if they might not be aware of what a Butterbeer actually is.)
Will update you once I've tried it out! -fingers crossed I like it-
Dear Daily Prophet,
Do you think I should get a white cat with black spots or a black cat with white spots?
- Cat Confused
Hey there, Cat Confused!
I must say, that's a pretty hard decision to make! I think it would depend on what color you like more -- black or white. Depending on which color you like more, it would help you determine what the 'main color' of the cat will be. Say, you like black, you can go for the black cat with white spots. If you like white, you can go for the white cat with black spots.
Although, it could also be that you'd want to see more of which you prefer, so maybe if you like black, you can go for the one with black spots because you'd see the black more that way. The same way could be said for white.
Then again, what if it's a mesh of black and white, and it's actually gray?
Oh my gosh, I have no idea, I'm so sorry. I think that whichever cat you decide to get, it'd be okay for as long as you take care and love the cat you get (which I don't doubt you would do). However, if you still can't make a decision even after asking so many people, I say choose one at random or flip a coin to decide.
Coin flipping can help a great deal, trust me!
Dear Daily Prophet,
Does more love mean my pumpkins would grow bigger? Like, so big it could grow even bigger than my house? I mean, Clifford the big red dog's secret was love, so my pumpkins can grow as big as him, right? Since Clifford got huge out of love, maybe my pumpkins can too? I really hope they can?
- Pumpkin Farmer
Hello there, Pumpkin Farmer!
I've definitely heard stories of this Clifford the big red dog. However, I have absolutely no idea how he even ended up that big. If I didn't know any better, Emily Elizabeth's dad must've used Engorgio a tad too many times on him for him to end up that big.
It's important to care for your pumpkins and love them to grow bigger, yes, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I just don't think that your pumpkins would grow as big as, say, your house. Even pumpkin sizes have limits, you know? I think that you could just keep doing what you're doing, and continue caring for your pumpkins. Eventually, they'd keep growing until they've hit their maximum growth potential. I'm pretty sure you could still use them for pumpkin contests!
Now, to make them as big as Clifford, I really have no idea how... much more if that's even possible, but please don't try using magic to do so? Engorging is fine, yes, but too much of it could also lead to catastrophic results. We don't want the pumpkin exploding on your entire town, right?
So just... keep it at what you're currently doing. If you want to try and experiment with magic, feel free... just... don't over-engorge for everyone' s sake, all right?
STARBURST! : WIZARDING WORLD GOSSIP
Hey, guys! Brianna here, covering for Cass. This month has been quite exciting, so it's a shame she wasn't able to spill the gossip.
Now, as you all know, Hallowe'en is coming up soon. There's been plenty of excitement about it, particularly from one Alissa Hornbeam. She rose to fame as a singer a few years ago and quickly faded into obscurity - but now she's back, bigger and better than anyone could have imagined. With a spooky Hallowe'en themed record being released on the 30th, she's hoping to put herself back on the map.
Only a few months after graduating from Hogwarts, Alison Wood, daughter of Oliver Wood and Kiera Wood (nee Hope), has become an incredibly successful Chaser on the Puddlemere United Quidditch team. Although she was originally brought in as a reserve, she was quickly promoted after proving her prowess.
Also related to Quidditch, but on a less celebratory note, the famous Puddlemere United Chaser Jocelind Wadcock has passed away at the age of 104. She was able to see Alison Wood win the first match of the season for her old team, and she died peacefully, in her sleep. Her funeral will be performed soon, but her family would prefer it to be a private event and have requested that we do not disclose any more information about it.
Now, on to something we don't often see in this column - a portrait. At Hogwarts, the famous portrait depicting The Fat Lady has gone on strike after more than two centuries of guarding the Gryffindor Tower. Her reason was that she was 'just fed up of all the students coming in late, shouting and screaming, being rowdy and not letting her sleep'. However, unlike in 1993 when Sir Cadogan took over her duties, she refuses to let anybody else in the frame. It is rumoured that several Gryffindor students have had to come out of the window to escape the Tower, but this has not been confirmed.
Gryffindor students are sleeping in the Great Hall until terms can be negotiated, but it looks as if this may take a long time - the Fat Lady is demanding many things that the Head is not very willing to accept. However, if no compromise can be reached, the students of Gryffindor may just have to accept the terms set by the guardian portrait.
You may remember that in June, Leroy Edger was believed to be having an affair with Jessie Wood. Now, it seemed that either he was covering his tracks better or he had stopped seeing Jessie altogether - but in a shocking twist, he has announced his divorce from Patricia Edger! While he still denies that it was because of Jessie, we have noted that he was seen with the young singer yesterday - and in the Leaky Cauldron, which seemed to be their favourite haunt before. It remains to be seen just how much time he will spend with her in the future, but many speculate that he'll be crawling back to Patricia within a week. I, for one, hope that she sends him away with a resounding no if that does happen to be the case.
Well,that's all for now - and don't worry, you'll have your favourite Starburst reporter back next month. This is Brianna, signing off!
AUNT EDNA'S CLEANING COLUMN
DECORATING FOR OLD HALLOWS EVE
Hello again dear readers! Aunt Edna is here again to help you prepare for the most horrifyingly glorious time of year! Halloween! As we all know, Halloween - or Old Hallows Eve - is a long tradition where we celebrate the magic and the beauty in the weird and wonderful. Even though the Muggles have certainly changed many aspects of the holiday, we can appreciate quite a few of their creative twists.
So, let us begin! Nothing says Halloween like a decorated house. Even if you live in a Muggle neighbourhood, this is the one time of the year that you can get away with letting your inner witch or wizard out as no one will suspect a thing. They'll just assume it's a new Muggle gimmick or decoration you've bought when, in fact, you hired a dozen dancing skeletons to do the can-can across your lawn every hour, on the hour. Here are some tips to make things look extra spooky this year!
- Ghosts! Everyone knows about ghosts, Muggles and wizarding kind alike, and this time of year it's easy to call in a favour or two and ask a ghost to haunt your house. Simply send an owl to Ghastly Fletcher of We-Spook-You, Incorporated to see the latest deals on hiring a ghost! Just make sure to read the small print; you don't want to be stuck with a wailing poltergeist intent on trying to empty your pantry, only for it to suddenly remember that it can't eat.
- Spiders! Nothing says creepy and old like a good, solid spider web! These can be bought quite cheaply by the pound down at Diagon Alley from any decent Apothecary; just make sure the spiders have actually vacated the webs first, otherwise you'll come home one day to find that George the friendly spider invited thousands of his family members to a reunion party in your basement.
- Party snacks! If you're going to go all out for Halloween, you might as well make the most of it by using weird and wonderful snacks. Make fake blood drip out of cupcakes and have finger-shaped biscuits with nails attached tot tickle the fancy of the partygoers.
So, have a Wiccan-ly good holiday folks! That's all for this week! See you later my lovely readers, and enjoy!
MONTHLY RECIPE : HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN CAKE
My thoughts were turning to Halloween and to pumpkins... then I found this delicious recipe to share with you all:
FOR THE CAKE
300g self-raising flour
300g light muscovado sugar
3 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
200g butter, melted
zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp orange juice
500g (peeled weight) pumpkin or butternut squash flesh, grated
FOR DRENCHING AND FROSTING
200G pack soft cheese
85g butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 orange
1. Heat oven to 180 C fan, 160 C gas.
2. To make the cake, butter and line a 30cm x 20cm baking or small roasting tin with baking parchment.
3. Put the flour, sugar, spice, bicarbonate of soda, sultanas and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine.
4. Beat the eggs into the melted butter, stir in the orange zest and juice, then mix with the dry ingredients till combined.
5. Stir in the pumpkin. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch.
6. To make the frosting, beat together the cheese, butter, icing sugar, orange zest and 1 tsp of the juice till smooth and creamy, then set aside in the fridge.
7. When the cake is done, cool for 5 minutes then turn it onto a cooling rack.
8. Prick it all over with a skewer and drizzle with the rest of the orange juice while still warm. Leave to cool completely.
9. If you like, trim the edges of the cake. Give the frosting a quick beat to loosen, then, using a palette knife, spread over the top of the cake in peaks and swirls.
10. If you're making the cake ahead, keep it in the fridge then take out as many pieces as you want 30 minutes or so before serving.
Will keep, covered, for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Recipe from Good Food magazine, October 2007
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