WIZARDING CRIMES : HALLOWEEN HATE
OCTOBER 2016, ENGLAND - "We won't stand it anymore!" is the official statement from Ministry of Magic employee, John Sparks. Mr. Sparks has lost time, sleep, and quite a few hairs due to what he calls "the hooligans' time of year."
Apparently October is, by far, the month with the highest number of Statute of Secrecy breaches. There are a number of things that contribute to these off-the-charts numbers. Ms. Penelope Clark insists the sole reason is young people showing off. "Just crazy kids pulling pranks and looking cool. They have real magic, see? And if they come across some Muggles pretending, well, they can't help themselves. A bunch of Muggles waving plastic sticks and saying 'hocus pocus' right there in front of 'em. Of course they show them the real deal."
Other people are not so sure this is the cause. An anonymous source within the Ministry claimed the crime rates are more like an equation. They told me that you have to account for businessmen. The Muggles are buying a lot of magical products for their Halloween which equals quick cash to savvy merchants. This means real magic and magical items are getting funneled at a fast rate to the Muggle world. They then told me you have to add in opportunity. Whether they are accidents, pranks, or hate crimes, there are simply more opportunities for wizards to interact with Muggles without getting caught. Another part of the formula, they said, is that as the crimes are reported and monitored, more keeps piling in. The Ministry's sensors can't cope with the overload, and more people get away with breaking the rules. This has contributed to the continued trend of growth surrounding these crimes against the Statute of Secrecy.
The Ministry has decided to act against the crime rate during October and has issued statements and pamphlets hoping to cut down on the incidents. One brochure handed had "Magic for Muggles? No way, Jose!" emblazoned across the front. All these little handouts have similar thoughts. They include the five basic steps of being a good wizard citizen during this month. The five basic steps, according to Ministry-approved flyers, are as follows:
- Ensure all personal magic items are kept within your home (excluding your wand).
- Always wear Muggle-approved clothing when near Muggle areas. This includes October 31.
- Keep a careful watch on minors. Help monitor underage wizard use of magic at all times.
- Do not go into Muggle areas unless absolutely necessary.
- Report any and all cases you witness which violate the Statute of Secrecy through the proper channels.
Mr. Sparks is hopeful that along with extra security and the implementation of updated monitoring equipment, the wizarding community will go a long way in reducing the number of Muggles exposed to magic this holiday season. I hope he is right, as the man looked like he was at his wit's end. I think we are fully capable of helping the Ministry crack down on crime, protect our way of life, and help Mr. Sparks not go completely bald by the time he is 40. So, readers, this reporter encourages all of you to be smart this October and have a record low for crime this year.
ECONOMY : PROTESTS ARISE AT NEW KNUT DESIGN
With Halloween approaching and the Muggles not being too shy with their decorations, pureblood elitists are outraged and they're finally airing all of their grievances (and not just the ones related to Halloween!). The pureblood elitist group, the Pure Dragons, have recently made their outrage over several Gringotts banking policies known.
By Cassandra Lovegood
As you may know, there was recently a suggestion for one side of the Knut to be changed to the image of Muggle-born Cecilia Haverwood in honour of her many contributions to wizarding society, including her creation of Diagon Alley. Many argued against the idea for many valid reasons, such as the difficulties in recalling every Knut, and of course, the goblins likely refusing to change the currency.
However, the Pure Dragons are claiming that she is not important enough and instead demanding that Uriel Ulsen is placed on the Knut. Despite the fact that there has been no serious consideration quite yet, they have been sending in many owls to Gringotts and the Ministry of Magic. For those who are unaware, Uriel Ulsen was a pureblood purist who began a failed campaign in the mid-seventeenth century to classify wizards and witches as superior to Muggles and that they should be in control. Perhaps the Pure Dragons should try to be more subtle?
Most worrying, however, are their attempts to abolish the Muggle-Wizarding currency conversion aid at Gringotts. Currently nothing has come of this, but it is a worrying prospect as many Muggle-borns rely on it to purchase supplies and begin their transition into the wizarding world. The Daily Prophet will keep you updated on this developing story.
In other economy-related news, many new stockholders have lucked out with their stocks at the wizarding transportation store, Wanda's Wandering Wanderers. The store is stocked with items for transportation such as Floo Powder and brooms, as well as items for travelers who may have left something behind. Previously thought to be heading directly down into disaster, the store's stock prices rocketed up to a shocking 750 Galleons per share! Stockholders will be getting a pretty payday very soon!
And for our last exciting news for HEX's economy, we have the lottery's jackpot at well over one hundred million Galleons! Some prizes that can be won are Arthur's De-Gnoming Gloves, Twins' Betting Box, Basilisk Chamber, Hogwarts Boat, and even more wonderful prizes. Lottery tickets are one hundred Galleons each and can be purchased at Flourish and Blotts in Diagon Alley.
That's it for today, and I wish you all a wonderful Halloween!
REGIONALS : WHAT (AND WHERE) TO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS HALLOWEEN!
Halloween is here, and the Magical community is kicking off the holiday in fabulous style! From all over the British Isles, people are getting ready to celebrate the holiday that was practically made for us. Up in Scotland, the annual tradition of ‘Catching Nessie’ begins this week. Every year, a group of skilled fishermen and women head up to Loch Ness and spend a week seeing who can “catch” Nessie by giving her things she likes. Some throw her favourite food; others tempt her by dressing up as a very fetching male Plesiosaur. Three years ago, a team of very talented interior designers swam to her cave and gave it the makeover of a lifetime, installing Muggle electronic devices (apparently Nessie is a big fan of something called a PlayStation) and indoor heating. Last year's winner, however, was Nick Abernathy, who enchanted a seal pup and gave it to Nessie as a present. Naming him Blubber, Nessie was so moved at having company that she broke down and cried. She wailed loud enough to cause what the Muggles thought was a “Sonic Boom” over the Loch.
Down in Wales, a party is on the cards for Halloween to break the record of most wizards and witches in one place at one time. The organisers, Ifan and Gwen Wright from Cardiff - who own a wizarding pub, have enchanted the basement into a Halloween delight. Spider webs hang from the ceiling, floating candles hover by the punch bowl, and the room will be filled with the dead as well, as they’ve called upon the Rent-A-Ghost service to give the party a spooky kick! Head on down to the Headless Goose in Cardiff for a wail of a time!
In Ireland, the faerie creatures have gathered with the leprechauns, pixies, gnomes, and a plethora of other creatures to put on the performance of a lifetime while retelling some of Shakespeare’s classic plays. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and Hamlet will be performed back to back in the way they were originally written. (Muggles are unaware that William Shakespeare was a marvellous wizard and Hogwarts alumnus.) Tickets are priced at ten Galleons per adult and five per child. Children under three get in for free, and seniors pay child rates. All proceeds will be put towards the Protection of Magical Creatures Society.
In London, the lighting of the Halloween pumpkin will take place on Halloween at 8pm, followed by a ‘Monster’ Bash in Diagon Alley, where all the stores will be decorated for the holiday. There will be fun and games for all ages!
Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone!
INTERNATIONAL : SOUTHEAST ASIAN COUNTRY AT THE BRINK OF ANARCHY
New maverick president of the Philippines has been making waves in both local and international news with the alarming increase of extra-judicial killings and his colourful commentaries of other world leaders. His most recent press statement has him "taking the blame" for some lapses in the system. This statement, despite being a rare show of humility on the President’s part, has done little to ease the pain of the families who have lost their loved ones through misidentification and lack of due process.
By Desiree Snow
Several more bodies have appeared in ditches or abandoned fields. These bodies were identified to be of persons of interest in the underworld.
The gravity of the situation was increased when people who were supposedly under surveillance by the government were mysteriously murdered by those closest to them. In one of the prisons, ex-military-turned-prisoners have started attacking each other. The reasons for their brutal actions have yet to be determined, although one of the victims who survived being stabbed with a rusty ice pick is due for questioning.
MACUSA and MOM diplomats, based in the Philippines, have yet to determine if any members of the magical community were involved in any of these incidents. Discussions are being made as to whether an intervention team should be deployed to prevent the situation from escalating further. However, both magical governing bodies are leaning towards non-involvement. To quote one of their spokespersons: "We are greatly concerned for the welfare of this country's citizens. Our priority will always be to ensure the safety of the members of our magical community, and part of ensuring that safety is to secure our anonymity. This is why we are opting to be uninvolved in this particular case."
The Daily Prophet had also recently received an anonymous tip of ghost sightings in some of the areas where the bodies were discovered. Through the assistance of some local mediums, we were able to speak with one of the spirits. A wisp of a young man, perpetually walking back and forth along the area where he was killed, can be heard calling out the name of his fiancée while saying, "I don't do drugs, I've never done anything wrong. Why did I have to die?"
While the country's President publicly proclaims statements such as "I don’t care about human rights, believe me," and "If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have ..." while pointing to himself, then there is little room for any hope of these killings to end.
POLITICS : HSS RETURNS; MINISTRY REFUSES TO BACK DOWN
Yet again, a small society of witches and wizards have called for a ban on Halloween. Each year, in the weeks running up to the holiday, the HSS (Halloween Saviour Society) petition the Ministry of Magic to change the laws on Muggles celebrating the holiday since they deem it “illogical” and “insulting” for them to celebrate it due to their lack of magic. And every year, the Ministry reiterates that Muggles have as much right to celebrate the holiday as it’s the closest they get to experiencing the wizarding world. Halloween allows Muggles to see wonder and magic in its purest form. Additionally, it would be simply impossible to try and negotiate with the Muggle Prime Minister to ban Halloween. However, the HSS persists.
The HSS was founded over a century ago by a philanthropist wizard named Harold Bram. While running his wizarding garment enterprise, he was shocked to stumble upon the Halloween customs that the Muggles participated, believing that letting them dress up to ridicule the wizarding world is the greatest insult to the hard-working, well-respected wizards and witches. His group became popular and hit its membership high in the year 1905, though it quickly shrunk and has hovered around the twenty-member mark ever since. Passed down through the generations, the leader has always been a direct descendant of Harold Bram. His family has either shunned his exclusive and ludicrous ideas or have embraced them wholeheartedly. Now resting on the shoulder of Evan Bram, it is up to him once again to try and convince an entire Ministry of sensible and logical wizards and witches to agree to his less than harmonious cause.
When asked about the 109th rejection, Evan Bram had this to say, “The close-minded bigots and hypocrites who work in the Ministry of Magic do not understand the severity of issues that are caused by letting Muggles clown about while pretending to be magical creatures and witches and wizards. Muggles should not be allowed to do this. I have many friends who have been insulted by watching children knock at their doors dressed as witches with pointy noses and carrying broomsticks. It must stop, and I will keep campaigning, like my father and his father before him, until the Ministry of Magic sees sense. And even if I am not successful, then my own descendants will be. Our family will stop this travesty.” Mr. Bram has come under frequent scrutiny and questioning over his views on Muggles and how he seems to feel that they are lesser than ourselves due to their non-magical nature. When asked about this, he replied “I have nothing against Muggles. People need to stop twisting my words to use against me!”
The Ministry of Magic, when asked about the possible change in legislation and the outright banning of Halloween for Muggles, had this to say, “You would have to be a complete idiot to think that we could orchestrate something like this. Not only is this a form of Muggle hatred, it is also impossible to accomplish. All the Muggles around the world would have to have Halloween Obliviated from their minds. It’s not possible, and even if it was, the Ministry of Magic would never allow such a thing to occur.”
SPORTS : THE CHUDLEY CANNONS - A SCARE TOO FAR?
If you are a loyal supporter of the Chudley Cannons or the Falmouth Falcons and shudder to read any bad news about your team, it may be in your best interest to turn the page now. If you are feeling brave, however, then read on.
It all began when Buster Stanford, newly-recruited Chaser for the Cannons, made the decision to lay what some are describing as a "trap" outside the hotel room belonging to Raymond McLellan, the Falcons' captain. While Stanford’s teammates have been vehemently denying the allegations that the band of 243 bowtruckles were a deliberate attempt at sabotage, McLellan’s scratches and bruises tell their own story.
When questioned about the motive behind such an attack, Stanford merely shrugged and said, "Happy Halloween."
Unsatisfied with this explanation and curious to find out what could have driven the Cannons to such action, we at the Prophet have done some digging, and have discovered some shocking news. This fiasco actually appeared to have stemmed from a Halloween party five years back, hosted in the hopes of uniting the Quidditch Teams of Great Britain briefly for one night.
"The party had actually gotten off to a relatively good start," says Ophelia McNutt, then-Seeker for the Puddlemere United reserve team. "Well, unless you count the time the Bats' Beater started throwing the feast out of the window. Or when the Arrows' and the Wasps' Chasers started a two-day duel over the last slice of pumpkin pie. Or when the Tornados' Keeper started an actual tornado outside the room and trapped us all inside for the rest of the week. But, as you know, those things are common when our teams meet up! It only really kicked off between the Cannons and the Falcons as the party was ending. You know what Gibbons is like – he can barely contain himself once he’s had fourteen bottles of Butterbeer. Bless him, how was he to know that Barrow is mortally terrified of Jelly Slugs? By the time he realised, she had already entered the toilets, and by then, it was far too late!"
It is clear that almost from that moment onward, a deadly rivalry had sparked between the two teams.
Three years ago, the Cannons discovered that both their Beaters had collapsed, unconscious, in a broom cupboard at the end-of-season feast, and reached the conclusion that the pair had "accidentally" drunk flagons of pumpkin juice laced with Sleeping Draught that was hard to swallow, pun intended. In addition to this, the Falcons are still enraged at the "coincidental" appearance of a Chinese Fireball at the last game of the season and remain convinced that the Chudley Cannons had something to do with it.
After many Falcons fans expressed their concerns about the well-being of their beloved captain, the players issued this statement from McLellan’s hospital bed: "We are deeply hurt by this deliberate sabotage from the Chudley Cannons. Next time, we suggest that if they feel the need to cheat, they should give each of their players a phial of Felix Felicis; maybe then, their Chasers might hold on to the Quaffle for more than four seconds at a time."
Despite these strong and heavily amusing words from the Falcons, one thing is obvious from a glance at the standings: neither team had a shot at winning the tournament, in any case. In fact, it appears that the two teams have been fiercely competing to not finish at the very bottom.
There is only one piece of advice we can offer to all the Quidditch players of the country as we approach the spooky season once more: be careful which Halloween parties you go to!
Hello everybody! Char here, again, and I've returned to tell all of you guys about what's been going on in the past month or so.
Arts and Graphics
For the month of September, the Arts and Graphics forum held contests that were about the start of the school. The Writing Challenge involved creating a poem out of puns! Puns, can you imagine that? All the fun and boron puns about school! The Graphics Challenge, on the other hand, required the users to create a two page spread on bullet journals of Ron or Hermione. Can you imagine how that would look? Like, wow! it puts a new spin on things.
The winners for the Writing Challenge were:
1st Place: 10,000 Galleons + 3,000 House Points - LadyReeseKightkens
2nd Place: 5,000 Galleons + 2,000 House Points - purplewibble
3rd Place: 2,000 Galleons + 1,000 House Points - Morgana Malipiero
The winners for the Graphics Challenge were:
1st Place: 10,000 Galleons + 3,000 House Points - Julieexann
2nd Place: 5,000 Galleons + 2,000 House Points - Kljy
3rd Place: 2,000 Galleons + 1,000 House Points - Qiryn
And the Artwork of the Month was created by MinervaGryff!
Dinner with the Diggorys
The Hufflepuff House staff held an event about Cedric Diggory and his family. From the different writing contests to the different graphic contests, there were definitely a venue for each HEXian to display his or her talent! There were even silent auctions held for the Support Cedric Diggory Badge and the Hufflepuff Teddy Bear. These were rare Hufflepuff items, and the bids were very hard to pick from! It was an event that we would definitely not forget.
A Series of RP Events
The Grounds Forum held a roleplay contest about a gathering in the Forbidden Forest. The users were required to roleplay about why they were there and the reason why a meeting was held. The following were the winners:
The Beasties Council (Best RP) - 1500HP per roleplayer
Tarcet, MerrylG, starrystar, Morgana Malipiero
The Head Councillor (Best Character) - 1500HP
Pixie Humor (Funniest Post) - 1500HP
Phoenix's Tears (Most Touching Post) - 1500HP
Centaur's Quiver (Most Adventurous Post) - 1500HP
The Roleplayer of the Month for August was coolgrl958, and the Roleplay of the Month was The First Journey to Hogwarts.
The Caretakers held their usual Caretaker Concoctions for the month. It involved journeying down memory lane through a scrapbook contest, unleashing your inner artist in a graphics contest, looking inside different books, and helping Neville find his way through the different corridors by solving the puzzles and mazes.
The different Magical Archives contests were also held, and one of them in particular, Protecting the Prophecy, required users to choose one pair of characters and do the task required. The characters were Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom for the graphics contest, and Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley in the writing contest.
The winners were:
1st Place:: 10,000 Galleons - Merri Patil
2nd Place:: 5,000 Galleons - jfs12
3rd Place:: 3,000 Galleons - Zenna
The Burrow's Ghostly Cleanup
The Gryffindor House staff also held its own event called 'The Burrow's Ghostly Cleanup', wherein the members of the Weasley family cleaned up everything in the Burrow. All the contests were made by Weasley characters, and each involved a task for the users to help them out in different means. Whether it was writing your own date with Charlie Weasley or helping Ginny Weasley crack a diary, at least one of the contests had something that would spike the user's interests and actually give us a reason to WANT to help cleaning! Can you believe that?
With that, we reach the end of all the things that happened last month (September). Tune in to the next issue of The Daily Prophet to find out the events that will happen in the month of October!
October has arrived yet again, it seems, and Halloween is coming up! Of course, this can cause some ripples in the lives of the magical community. Don't worry! The Daily Prophet is here to help!
I love Halloween as much as the next witch, but I can't think of a costume! Can you help?
There are many costume ideas! You could be a magical creature or object, like a phoenix or a chocolate frog. There are many choices within those categories, but if you would prefer to be a human, there are many wizarding celebrities that you could be, such as one of the Golden Trio or one of their adversaries. Or if you want to confuse people, you could be a figure from Muggle culture. There are many options for Halloween costumes, so just follow your passions and you'll find a great costume!
I love Halloween! It's my favourite holiday, and I plan for it all year, but my family and friends are sick of Halloween! They keep telling me to stop. What should I do?
We all love Halloween, but there has to be a limit - and that limit should be respected. Maybe your friends and family have a point. You may love Halloween, but they could use a break. Here's an idea: keep your excitement to yourself until Halloween itself comes, but in the meantime, plan a fun party for your friends and family! This way, they have some time to relax, and you can think about Halloween all you want!
I like Halloween, but it scares me. I don't like all the scary costumes; they creep me out. Am I a scaredy-cat?
Of course, you're not a scaredy-cat! In fact, many people dislike that aspect of the holiday. What you can do to make Halloween fun instead of scary is to focus on the fun parts of it. Have a Halloween party - with only fun costumes - and lots of candy! Invite all your loved ones and enjoy all the fun aspects of Halloween, without having to deal with the scary stuff. It will be a great event and an exciting tradition.
I hate Halloween! Everyone's always knocking at my door and asking for candy. I just want a quiet night to myself. What should I do?
It makes sense that you don't like Halloween. It's not for everyone. Some people enjoy it, others don't. If you want to get away from the trick-or-treaters, you could try this: meet up with a few friends, if they're up for it, and go out to a nice restaurant. Eat a nice dinner, enjoy the conversation, and get home after everyone has finished their rounds. It's a nice way to treat yourself and get away from those who are more enthusiastic while not raining on their parade!
That's all for this month. Now go and enjoy your Halloween!
STARBURST! : A LOOK INTO MUSIC
Rumours are flying faster than a flaming Pegasus about the latest spooky single “Hexed My Heart” by the popular 90s by-gone, The Weird Sisters. The Weird Sisters, briefly known as ‘W3’ at the turn of the century, have made a recent comeback after some major changes to the band. These changes include their abrupt shift into even more obscure instruments, replacing their astral keyboards with floating harpsichords and wailing guitars with singing sitars, as well as reinventing their look to true 1490s fashion, complete with dragon-soled, self-lacing sandals, available at Gladrags for 6G.
“Hexed My Heart” has been on everyone’s lips, even interfering with silent spells, after its October 10th broom ride to fame on Garage Griffin Beats, the radio station deejay-ed by Lee Jordan (Hogwarts Battle Alum and investor of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes). In true Hallow’s Hit fashion, Jordan was sent an anonymous midnight Howler with a demo track and went so wild for it that he tracked the delivery back to lead singer Beatrice Xiller, more famously known as Bea Trix, who succeeded original lead, Myron Wagtail (now formally employed in the Ministry of Magic’s Investigatory Nuisance Department). Xiller and Trix’s dual personalities have since been split by modern media because of her staggering change in appearance, from unwashed hedgewitch to magical makeup model.
Xiller is most famous for her recent advertising campaign for the beauty brand Poultice, which markets skin care and acne powders to witches and wizards of all ages. The ad has been seen in The Daily Prophet, local newspapers like The Kilkenny Cuckoo, and even on billboards going up in mixed-Muggle neighbourhoods, with a Freezing Charm if a Muggle crosses the barrier. Poultice often walks the line between racy and regard, as Xiller’s tagline is “Beauty’s more than your skin” while wearing nothing but a magenta hat.
Xiller was most recently seen on the arm of the Wimbledon Wasps owner – and former 80s right flank Beater – Ludo Bagman. Bagman, who went through several years of notoriety, gambling debts, and ugly accusations, was forgiven by Ministry and goblin officials, and graciously allowed to get back on his feet after the Battle of Hogwarts. He has since made a clean living of it and purchased his old team with the financial investment in Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, but only by investing in the stock through the public market. (For more history on the cold relationship between George Weasley and Ludo Bagman, see the April 1999 edition of The Quibbler.) Bagman, an eligible bachelor, is also notably close with DJ Jordan, and it may be one of Bagman’s less-than-savoury glad-hands that got The Weird Sisters back into show business.
While Xiller is half her escort’s age, there was no denying they were a stunning couple on the carpet of the Halloween Hits Awards Show. The Weird Sisters were nominated for "Hexed My Heart," and Bea Trix was separately nominated for her solo acoustic version of “Hexed My Heart” with a rich piano backdrop instead of the flat tones of the harpsichord. There has been speculation that some of the lyrics were about Bagman, particularly, “Flew so high, your wings melted / Dripped hot wax so I felt it / Make me stop, stare at the sky / Icarus, you made me want to fly.”
The reprise of “Hexed My Heart / Stunned My Soul” has also been nominated for Best Group Comeback, Best Solo Performance (for Bea Trix), Best W-Rock Performance, and Best Use of Harmony in a Minor Key. We’ll be keeping our sights on the now ousted Trix/Xiller and wondering if she can juggle both careers with such radically different personalities and fans.
AUNT EDNA'S HALLOWEEN SPECTACULAR!
Hello again, readers! It’s lovely to be here again to bring you some hauntingly good tips to spice up your Halloween! Now, as we know, this is a very important holiday in the magical community, and we’re allowed to go a tad overboard with it. Just as long as the Muggle neighbours don’t get a whiff of something suspicious going on! So without further ado, here are my top five spooky tips to get your Halloween kicked off right!
- Decorations, darling! It’s all about the decorations! To make a normal household into a haunted one, a lot of thought has to go into the decorating. We don’t it to be boring or look exactly like Gloria’s across the road! Don’t hold back! Use fresh cobwebs from your local apothecary to dangle from your ceiling. Use enchanted skeletons to welcome your guests on Halloween! Want to make your house extra scary? Rent a ghost from your local store and get them to jump out from behind doors and candy bowls! Make sure when you buy candles that you always get the safer brands, so they won’t set your house on fire if left unattended.
- Candy! Candy is a vital part of the Halloween culture, and nearly everyone has a sweet tooth! To make this year extra special, try creating your own recipes with a spooky twist such as bloody cupcakes and zombie pies. All of these recipes are available in Aunt Edna’s Halloween Cookbook, available at your local wizarding bookstore. And always remember to keep some candy in reserve - you don’t want to leave a child sweet-less.
- Costumes can be a major pain. As Halloween draws nearer, the better costumes sell out and those that are handmade instead of mass-produced become rarer than a leprechaun doing ballet in an ogre suit! Start early - plan your costume weeks in advance, and if you’re going with friends, try and match. Taking your significant other? Go forth and bring on the cheesy couples from wizarding and Muggle literature. Want to be a zombie Romeo and a ghostly Juliet? Do it. Let your imagination run riot and have a blast doing it!
- Parties! Everybody loves them, and you can guarantee that at Halloween, there will be so many to attend you won’t know which one to pick, whether it’s a community-wide get-together or just a simple night at home with a loved one and the kids. Even if you’re just going out trick-or-treating, the atmosphere will be the same as you head down the roads, surrounded by people enjoying this wacky holiday! If you’re hosting your own party, set up games and prizes, or hold a Muggle movie night with the scariest films you can get your claws on. Either way, Halloween night is a time to have fun and to enjoy yourself with family and friends while stuffing yourself with candy and regretting it the next morning.
- Be considerate! Okay, this one is a little different from my other tips, but by far the most important. Don’t go around scaring little children or adults - they deserve to enjoy the holiday. If people don’t want trick-or-treaters, don’t go to their houses and expect candy. No matter how tempting it is, do not reveal your magic to Muggles (this could get you into some serious hot water) so just think before you go out, and plan a night of safe fun!
Well, that’s all we have time for, readers! I hope you all have a spooktacular Halloween!
FROM THE KITCHEN : GOBLIN CAKES
Happy Halloween, one and all, and welcome to my Halloween kitchen.
Come in, take a seat, and grab a hot cup of whatever you'd like. Halloween is my favourite time of the year. The season changing is something beautiful, and when those leaves start to fall and the air becomes crisp, I become full of inspiration of wonderful things to create in my kitchen. Not only does Halloween bring a fantastic opportunity for delicious biscuits and cupcakes, but this season provides much scrumptious and versatile seasonal produce.
Throughout October, you'll find things like pumpkins, kale, cabbages, and wild mushrooms are in top form. Other things, like beetroots, elderberries, fennel, figs, plums, and raspberries need to be made the most of this month, as this is the last chance to see them around this year. I have always enjoyed harvesting fruits and vegetables whilst I can, and using the abundance to make jams and chutneys, which is a fantastic trick to make the most and stretch good quality fresh food as far as you can. However, that is not what I am really here to write about today! We are going to give ourselves a super sweet treat, which has a cheeky little surprise up its sleeve!
This month's recipe is one very close to my heart, and one I am very happy to share with you all. I give you Goblin Cakes.
Things You Will Need:
For the Cake:
- Ideally, a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and a paddle attachment.
! If this isn't available, use a large bowl, a wooden spoon, and a metal spoon. Make sure you know how much your mixing bowl weighs. This is going to be very important later. !
- 1 dessert spoon
- 2 teaspoons
- A fine sieve
- 2 medium bowls
! You can use dessert bowls -- just make sure they are of good size. !
- 1 cupcake / bun tin that holds 12 cupcakes
- Cake cases
! Use 'fairy cake' cases rather than 'muffin' cases. !
For the Icing:
- 1 Medium bowl
- 1 Fork
- 4 toothpicks
- 4 small bowls to transfer icing into, to colour
For the Icing:
- 8 oz icing / confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tbsp water
! Hot water is best. You want the water to be pretty hot, but not be scorching/boiling. !
For the Cake:
- 4 oz self-raising flour
- 4 oz softened butter
! Salted butter is preferred. Most types of butter are salted, so if it doesn't specify either way, it probably is. If in doubt, check the label. If unsalted butter is all you have, you can use it with the addition of 1/2 tsp of salt. !
- 4 oz caster sugar
! This is a must. Do not be tempted to substitute this for any other sugars as it is white caster sugar that is needed for the right taste and texture of these little cakes. !
- 2 eggs
! Always use large eggs. Most recipes will call for large eggs unless it says otherwise. !
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
! Vanilla extract is a must-have for your baking kit. Vanilla essence is not the same thing and is full of additives that you don't need. You could also use the seeds from one vanilla pod or about 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste. Both vanilla extract and bean paste are naturally made and provide a much better taste! !
- Selection of colour pastes - 2 Halloween colours
! I am using green and grape purple. You will also need the Hogwarts’ House colours for the icing. I really do recommend investing in colour pastes. Colouring liquids these days are just not as bright as they used to be, and most of the mainstream colouring liquids make the food taste bitter. Pastes can be bought from any baking supply store or hobby crafting store, and can also be ordered online. I found all of these on eBay for a very good price, so it's most definitely worth it. !
!!! IMPORTANT - Remember to clean your work surface before weighing any ingredients and before you start baking. Keep your area tidy as you work, as this will help prevent any accidents! Wash your hands thoroughly before you begin, and make sure all your equipment is to hand. For students who are under 15, please make sure an adult is around to help you use the oven. !!!
To begin, pre-heat your oven to gas mark 4. Soften your butter by either microwaving for around 20 seconds or leave out at room temperature for an hour. Double sift your flour. The best way to do this is to take the bowl your flour is in and another separate bowl. Hold your sieve high above the empty bowl and sift the flour through into it. Then repeat back into the other bowl. Holding the sieve up as high as you can while sifting will trap lots of air in between the flour, and sifting the flour twice will increase the amount of air even more, and will give you a really airy, fine flour to bake with. Judge this on however big the bowl you're working with is, and hold the sieve as high as you feel comfortable without getting flour all over the place!
- Put softened butter and caster sugar into mixer / large bowl. If using a mixer, set it up with the paddle attachment. Turn mixer on to a medium-high speed. If doing by hand, beat butter and sugar with the wooden spoon until light, fluffy, and has the appearance almost of whipped cream. Mixer - approx. 2 minutes; by hand - approx. 4-5 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract or bean paste into the butter mix. Keep mixing (using either method) for around 1 minute until well-combined.
- Add your eggs, one at a time. And with each egg, add a dessert spoonful of flour. Mix each egg into the mix until combined. It should look silky and smooth. If the mixture looks like it is curdling and going lumpy, add a touch more flour and beat well. If using a mixer, make sure to keep an eye on the batter as it mixes to prevent curdling.
- Once all eggs are incorporated, it is time to add the rest of the flour. If you are using a mixer, now you want to swap to the 'whisk' attachment. If doing by hand, swap to your metal spoon. You want to do this in 2-3 batches, whichever you feel most comfortable with. The way to ensure lots of air gets into the cakes is to gently fold your flour into your buttery egg mix, making lots of layers as you do and trapping lots of air into the batter. If using a mixer; add your flour then turn mixer onto a low-medium speed for approximately 3-4 minutes, then repeat. If doing by hand, add some flour, then use the 'cut, fold, turn the bowl, repeat' method until all the flour is mixed in.
- In between adding your flour in batches, add a splash of milk into your batter and mix until absorbed before adding the next batch of flour. This will make your cakes stay moist, instead of too dry.
- By now your batter should look light, fluffy, and full of air pockets, and you should be able to smell that gorgeous vanilla smell. Now comes the fun part of Goblin cakes - colouring the batter! You want to do this very gently as knocking any air out at this stage would be a real shame. Weigh your mixture in your bowl (this is why it's important to know the bowl's weight) and subtract the bowl's weight from that to give you your batter weight. My bowl weighs 550g, and when I weighed my batter in the bowl, it came in at 1040g which means I have 490g of batter.
- Split your batter into two bowls, with 230g in each bowl. The exact half of 490 is 245 but you don't want to have to scrape every single drop out to make up the last 10g as it becomes really painstaking! Aim for a little less than half, and then you can always drizzle the last drops over at the end if you wish. Add a small amount of green colouring paste to one, and a small amount of grape colouring paste to the other. Do this using a toothpick and go steady. You only need a tiny bit of paste as they are highly concentrated. Too much and it will make your batter taste bitter. (Remember, you can always add more but you cannot take away!)
- One colour at a time, slowly fold the colouring paste into the batter. Be patient! This will take quite a while, and will be a slow process but keep going. Slow and steady is the key. Do not be tempted to 'beat' the colouring paste in and knock out all that air.
- Now it's time to 'case-up'. Put 12 cake cases into the 12 holes in your bun tin, and then take your batter and make sure you have fun with this part! Alternate between adding a small blob of green batter and a small blob of purple batter into each cake case. It's best to use a teaspoon, as you want each one to be just over half full. Work quickly; you don't want the colours to merge together too much before you put them in the oven.
- Bake the cakes in your oven on the middle shelf for 20-30 minutes. The time they take will depend a little on how big they are. Smaller cakes will take 20-25 minutes, whereas bigger cakes take 25-30 minutes. Check them by either inserting a skewer into the middle and seeing if it comes out clean or by gently pressing the middle of a cake - if it springs back like a cake would, then it's done, but if it doesn't and appears wet, it needs a bit longer.
- Once your cakes are baked, take them out of the oven and pop them onto a cooling rack. You can put one of these together by using the metal rack from your grill pan, just make sure it's clean! Allow the cakes to completely cool before icing. Usually, this will take a good 1.5 to 2 hours.
- In order to make your icing, you want to add your icing/confectioner's sugar into a medium bowl, and then add your water. Do not be tempted to add any more water at this stage. The icing needs to be thick to stick to the cake. Fold the water into the sugar with a fork; again this will take a little time. The icing will be so thick that you want it to come together as one big ball around the fork. Beat it a little to make it smooth, but only add a drop of water more if absolutely needed.
- Separate the icing into the 4 little bowls and colour each icing a Hogwarts’ House colour. It's worth noting that I only used two House colours for my recipe, as I am giving these as gifts and I do not need any Gryffindor or Slytherin cakes, but you can make as many or as little of the four as you want.
- Time to ice your cooled cakes with your House-themed icing. (When using glaze icing, I find it's good to have a cup with a little hot water to the side of me and a clean tea towel or dry cloth.) After spreading the icing, dip your palette knife/icing knife into the hot water, then wipe off the moisture with the towel/cloth before continuing. This makes it easy to spread the thick icing across the cake.
- Leave to set. You can do this at room temperature in a darkened corner, or if you are pushed for time, you can pop them into the fridge for around 1 hour in an airtight container, but do not store them like this. Cakes should be stored in a cool, dark place away from moisture and sunlight.
- Cut one open and enjoy! Inside, you should have a light, fluffy, and sweet, vanilla, marbled, green and purple goblin cake. On top, your icing should be thick enough to not run down the sides, and be just a thin layer of extra sweetness which is silky on the tongue.
Well, that's it! I have loved having you in the kitchen with me, and I hope you've enjoyed it, too. Have a fantastic month, and please do make the most out of those wonderful seasonal goodies popping up at farmer’s markets near you. Give the Goblin Cakes a go, and I'll see you in a month!
Lots of love
ON THE STREETS : HALLOWEEN EDITION
Halloween is here again, and word on the street is that everyone is excited! Every year, millions of people around the world, in both Muggle and wizarding communities, gather to celebrate this holiday. With parties, candy, decorations, and costumes, it’s a perfect time to gather with friends, have fun, and see who can pull off the best Frankenduck costume! Our reporters have been out and about, combing through Diagon Alley to bring you the up-to-date gossip on just what makes Halloween so special and why people love this holiday!
“Halloween has always been my favourite time of the year, even though I don’t wear a costume because I don’t get invited to Halloween parties. What I love about it is the costumes, trick-or-treating, candy, and did I say candy? I am looking forward to seeing what the HEX Staff has planned for us this Halloween … hopefully we will get pumpkins again!”
~ Humanity_era, Hufflepuff
“I love Halloween! I dress up in my Hogwarts clothes and play Hedwig’s Theme when I answer my door to trick-or-treaters!”
~ Ghostwing18912, Gryffindor
“Halloween is my favourite time of the year! My favourite part is taking my kids out trick-or-treating, going to pumpkin patches, and also going to haunted things; but at the same time I HATE to be scared!”
~ Honey, Ravenclaw
“I love Halloween time for many reasons. By this time of the year, the weather has begun cooling off and provides a crispness to the air, though how could I forget the sweets. I’m quite a fan of candy corn, though M&M’s are also at the top for me. I’ve always enjoyed Halloween!”
~ Chris_phoenix, Hufflepuff
“I love a lot about Halloween: the fact it's autumn, it's colder, and the leaves are turning colour. Sweets and chocolate, you’re allowed to look a complete mess and it's acceptable. It might even look like you made a lot of effort, when really, you did absolutely nothing. It’s one of my good friends' birthday, and the candles smell amazing this time of year. What I don’t like about Halloween is clowns. Just clowns in general. Everywhere. Anywhere. I don’t like them. The fact that Halloween here in England isn’t a big deal is a downer, as well as the fact that little kids make no effort but still want the goodie rewards.”
~ Pain, Slytherin
“The greatest thing about Halloween is I can be myself. I can walk around with a pitchfork and cackle and poke at people, and they all think it’s just a funny little Halloween prank. Little do they know that is how I really am all the time. Muahaha. Oh, and candy. Heck yeah, all the candy, Mmm.”
~ Lorrina, Gryffindor
Well, there you have it, folks! Halloween means a lot of things to a lot of different people, but one thing will always stand out above the rest … CANDY! Happy Halloween, everyone!
DAILY PROPHET STAFF
Should you wish to participate in the Daily Prophet as a guest writer, please send an owl to THE DAILY PROPHET with your submission.