The Mane Topic Wandering in a Winter Wonderland Sky Alton A while ago I was introduced to old fashioned text-based adventure games...

Wandering in a Winter Wonderland

A while ago I was introduced to old fashioned text-based adventure games. You’d blunder around a location, reading detailed descriptions of your surroundings. Along the way, you’d hopefully discover objects or facts that would help you solve puzzles or progress to the next location. I was always absolutely useless at them, mostly because my sense of direction is totally non-existent, even in a world of words and compass points. I remember I was killed by a dragon a total of 17 times and defeated by a lobster at least 5.

But, I did begin to wonder whether this kind of thing could be adapted for a HOL activity. I knew the compass points and more complex aspects of the game were probably beyond my organisational expertise but the story and choice aspects really appealed. So I did think up a simplified version that would work on the forum…which I then sat on for well over a year.

But then November 2017 rolled around and I finally decided to give it a try! During December people were able to explore Hogwarts in the midst of frenzied preparations for a winter party. There were lots of people to meet, as well as locations and situations to explore. There were even some creative tasks and puzzles to try as they progress through their story. All they had to do was pick between two letters to decide what location they’d be rushed off to next.

If you’re curious to check out the story or how it worked, you can still visit the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ section of the Gryffindor Common Room. You’ll find all the passwords in the instructions thread and can even check out a few of the amazing contributions the participants decided to share. It was an absolute blast.

The Regular Roar Halloween Maxim Trevelyan

Halloween as we know it today originated in Ireland and then it slowly spread around the world. Perhaps most famous of its traditions is trick-or-treating, where children (and sometimes adults) dress into their favorite costume and go from door to door, asking for a treat, usually in the form of candies or they will respond with a trick...

Halloween Image

Halloween as we know it today originated in Ireland and then it slowly spread around the world. Perhaps most famous of its traditions is trick-or-treating, where children (and sometimes adults) dress into their favorite costume and go from door to door, asking for a treat, usually in the form of candies or they will respond with a trick.

In Spain, Mexico and Latin America, people celebrate Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This day falls on November 2nd, but its celebrations start on October 31st. During that time, it is believed that on Halloween, the dead return to their homes on Earth. In preparation of these returns, families prepares shrines to honor the deceased relatives and decorate it with photographs, candy, flowers, deceased’s favorite food and drinks, as well as fresh water. Relatives also take their time to clean the graves and on November 2nd, people gather at the gravesite to picnic and reminiscence about the good memories they have of the deceased.

While carving jack-o-lanterns is not an unusual sight during Halloween, the primary objects that are changed into them, are pumpkins. However, in England, children carve jack-o-lanterns from beets, while in Scotland and Ireland, they prefer turnips.

Czechia and Slovakia honor the living as well as the dead during Halloween. People put chairs around the fireplace on Halloween night. One is placed in honor of each living family member and one for each spirit of a relative.

An interesting tidbit, in Germany, where I currently live, there are a lot of old traditions surrounding Halloween, but the one I find most interesting is that on Halloween, all knives in the household are hidden away, so the spirits that return do not accidentally harm themselves on the blades. Not in the sense that spirits would stake themselves, but that during the day, when knives are used, living people will not harm them with random knife movements during food preparation. It is always interesting to see just how many people still abide by this tradition.

It is nice to see how a holiday such as Halloween can bring people from around the world together, whether they celebrate the dead or they are just in it for the thrills.

The Regular Roar Halloween Fun Facts Maxim Trevelyan

So, it is no wonder that there are quite a few world records that were either performed on Halloween or touch upon its theme.

A most common staple in Halloween are ghosts. In 2016, in Singapore, there was a largest gathering of people dressed as ghosts. The event totaled 263 people, who all dressed in the same costume of a Ghostbuster ghost. This was a promotion stunt for the new movie that came around around that time, so it is a bit of a shame that the costumes were not more traditional...

Fun Facts

So, it is no wonder that there are quite a few world records that were either performed on Halloween or touch upon its theme.

A most common staple in Halloween are ghosts. In 2016, in Singapore, there was a largest gathering of people dressed as ghosts. The event totaled 263 people, who all dressed in the same costume of a Ghostbuster ghost. This was a promotion stunt for the new movie that came around around that time, so it is a bit of a shame that the costumes were not more traditional. Speaking of costume, on September 30th, 2011 in Doswell, United States, there was a largest gathering of people dressed as vampires, with 1039 participants. The record attempt was integrated into Cedar Fair amusement park's sixth annual Halloween Haunt.

What is Halloween without pumpkins? Carving pumpkins is one of the most common activities done on Halloween, besides trick-or-treating. Town of Keene, United States, went overboard with most lit jack-o-lanterns on display. They lit 30,581 pumpkins on October 19th, 2013. Keene has broken this record eight times by now and probably will at least one more time in the future. Carving a pumpkin is a long process for most of us. However, not so much for Stephen Clarke from New York, United States, who holds the record for fastest carved pumpkin, complete with eyes, nose, mouth and ears. He carved a pumpkin in 16,47 seconds. However, no fastest record helps you with this next pumpkin giant. Largest jack-o-lantern was carved by Scott Cully in 2010, weighing little over 1810 pounds in the Bronx, United States. This record touches only a single carved pumpkin. The largest jack-o-lantern sculpture was made from two giant pumpkins in New York City. The whole sculpture weighed around 3,500 pounds.

For the end, I will tell you about my favorite and at the same time, most unusual world record that I saw when it comes to Halloween. For largest GPS drawing, Vauxhall Corsa, in order to promote their car, travelled around UK for 6,080 miles (around 9785 kilometers). GPS drawing contained words Halloween, two drawings of a ghost, a cobweb, a bat, a star and a jack-o-lantern with a witch's hat. Truly remarkable!

The Regular Roar Familiars: Owls and Cats and Toads, Oh My! Sky Alton

This passage from Philosopher’s Stone always excited me (mainly because, at the time, I was still at the ‘please can I have a pet please please please’ stage). Another beloved book of my childhood, The Worst Witch, also involved young magical practitioners receiving kittens as part of their education. And of course there was Sabrina the Teenage Witch and her fast talking, conniving cat (former world dominator), Salem. At the time, they were just ‘a part’ of the fun: the need to pick a suitable soft toy if I was...

‘Students may also bring an owl or a cat or a toad’

This passage from Philosopher’s Stone always excited me (mainly because, at the time, I was still at the ‘please can I have a pet please please please’ stage). Another beloved book of my childhood, The Worst Witch, also involved young magical practitioners receiving kittens as part of their education. And of course there was Sabrina the Teenage Witch and her fast talking, conniving cat (former world dominator), Salem. At the time, they were just ‘a part’ of the fun: the need to pick a suitable soft toy if I was dressing up. Now a proud pet owner and writer interested in the sedimentary nature of traditions, I decided to do a bit of rough and ready (very rough and ready) research into the basic concept of Familiars.

Black cats are so much part of our idea of magic now that they’ve become something of a cliché. However, what interests me is their parallel in real world records of magic. Familiars (a shortened form of Familiar Spirit) are a crucial part of the history of Witchcraft in the Western World. Some evidence suggests that the animal familiars (as well as the idea of witches as shape shifters, later discredited as a demonic trick) that we would recognise were a product of English and Scottish witchcraft, the tradition differing in continental Europe.

Whether taking a more ‘spirit-like’ form, that of a human (with child-like characteristics) or of an animal (often kept in baskets lined with sheep’s wool and fed tenderly on a range of things, including blood), the records of many countries abound with accounts of assistive spirits. They were often said to appear when a witch or member of the Cunning folk (more tolerated folk healers, sometimes known as White Witches) was at their lowest ebb, offering help through magical means. Often they were seen as demons, other times as more benevolent spirits from the natural world. There were as many types of familiar and methods of summoning as there were practitioners: one suspected witch summoned hers by reading and still another claimed not to be able to get rid of hers (and heartily wished them gone).

Of course, much of our knowledge of such spirits comes from the transcripts of trials. The concept of Familiars (like many other aspects of witchcraft) easily became a means to persecution. The supposed unnatural behaviour of a pet could soon turn into a damning charge at a trial for Witchcraft. It was even codified into law in 1641 when American colonists established the Massachusetts body of laws: “If any man or woman be a witch, that is, has or consults with a familiar spirit, they shall be put to death.”. That was law number two, preceding even murder! In this climate, it’s unsurprising that evidence of several Familiars was used in the most infamous Witch Trial of them all: Salem. (Makes Sabrina’s cat’s name a little bit sinister, right?).

With the importance placed on familiars for the purposes of witch hunting, perhaps it’s little wonder that they’ve stuck in the public consciousness. They represent the primal fear of the supernatural: something that looks like one thing but is really quite another. So, while Crookshanks and Hedwig make adorable additions to the wizarding world, they spring from a tradition that is far more complex than the wish-fulfilment of taking a pet to school.

The Regular Roar Pain of Betrayal Shiloh Adlar

Betrayal is something I can safely say has affected many of us, if not all of us in some way, at some point in our lives.

It is a hard situation to be in and the feelings that erupt from it are often painful and bitter tasting. The taste of betrayal. Perhaps that is a good name for this article as well.

An important part of the Harry Potter series also deals with that of betrayal. Although Snape loved Lily, he ended up unknowingly at the time betraying...

Betrayal is something I can safely say has affected many of us, if not all of us in some way, at some point in our lives.

It is a hard situation to be in and the feelings that erupt from it are often painful and bitter tasting. The taste of betrayal. Perhaps that is a good name for this article as well.

An important part of the Harry Potter series also deals with that of betrayal. Although Snape loved Lily, he ended up unknowingly at the time betraying her and James to the Dark Lord. This is a side that I had not thought about before I had read that in the books. What does the other side of betrayal feel, taste, and smell like? Is it just as painful, just as bitter? Or is it neutral? Does the person not care at all that they betrayed someone else?

In this instance, Snape did not realize the outcome of what he had done until it was over. He had no idea that Lord Voldemort would go after James, Lily and baby Harry. He had no idea that he had just signed the death sentence of the woman he loved. It was in that moment that love, once again, won over. His love for Lily meant everything, and when he realized what was going to happen, he ran to Albus Dumbledore, the only wizard he knew would be able to help him and joined The Order of the Phoenix.

Dumbledore took him in and Snape ended up paying for that betrayal with his own life, a scene that I will never forget due to the power it held. Harry, soon realized what Snape’s sacrifice meant.

Betrayal is a funny thing. There is the instance as above but then there is also the instance of Peter Pettigrew who seemed the opposite of Snape. He knowingly betrayed James and Lily to Lord Voldemort while he was their secret-keeper. He even continued to serve the Dark Lord after, perhaps out of fear, perhaps out of wanting some status in his life. In the end, it also cost him his life. Out of his need to serve, he became a servant of the Dark Lord, quite literally, and the one moment he showed a sign of mercy, what was deemed weakness to Death Eaters, he was strangled by his silver hand that the Dark Lord had given him.

Both betrayals caused a series of events and a lot of pain for the people impacted by them. When one has been betrayed once, it’s hard to know who you can or cannot trust anymore. Why does a person betray another? Have they maybe felt betrayed themselves? Did Snape feel betrayed that Lily chose James, one of the boys who picked on him for years throughout school, and he decided to become a Death Eater? Did Pettigrew feel betrayed by his friends because he did not receive as much popularity as they did so he willingly chose to betray them to the Dark Lord?

Whatever the reasons were, betrayal is not to be taken lightly. The point of this article is to choose your friends carefully and to think greatly about what you do before you do it to make sure you are not hurting someone else. Chances are, your betrayal may be your own downfall whether you realize it at the time or not.

The Regular Roar Sir Nick's Deathday Celebrations Shiloh Adlar

I had the honor this past month of being asking by Gryffindor’s house ghost, Nearly Headless Nick, or as he prefers to be called, Sir Nick, to prepare his Deathday party along with my fellow members of Sir Shiro’s Ghostly Services.

We were very excited for this opportunity for all of us had good memories of meeting Sir Nick for the first time.

We knew we had very little time to prepare and send out the invitations to his guests, so we got to work straight away. We first contacted...

I had the honor this past month of being asking by Gryffindor’s house ghost, Nearly Headless Nick, or as he prefers to be called, Sir Nick, to prepare his Deathday party along with my fellow members of Sir Shiro’s Ghostly Services.

We were very excited for this opportunity for all of us had good memories of meeting Sir Nick for the first time.

We knew we had very little time to prepare and send out the invitations to his guests, so we got to work straight away. We first contacted Hogwarts for permission to use one of the roomier dungeons, and the beloved headmaster agreed. We moved in and began planning and putting up our decorations.

Sir Nick did not want such a gloomy party as he had 25 years ago. Instead, he was hoping for something more upbeat. Unfortunately, the only ghost band we could find was the same from his 500th deathday party and musical saws was all they could really play. Sir Nick agreed it would be alright, but he wanted to hear from his ghostly friends about other music that was more fitting of today’s standards. Who would have thought he loved music so much?

We put that on one of our questionnaires to ask the guests along with food they would like to see the next time we threw a deathday party. Of course as ghosts we are not able to eat, but there are still some foods we wish to try to get a little bit of a taste of again.

The days coming up to the party were going swell. We sent out the invitations asking everyone to recall special memories they had of meeting Sir Nick or their favorite ones with him. We wanted to be able to share with Sir Nick all of the good things that were being said, and there were plenty! We readied all of the different games we had, and then suddenly, we were contacted by Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore of the Headless Hunt. We had wondered whether we should invite him or not after the previous party Sir Nick had had, but we did not want him to come uninvited either.

Alas, Sir Delaney-Podmore had a proposition. He said that the 525th year was a special one, and he wanted to give Sir Nick a grand gift. Once he explained to us what it was he had planned to do, we agreed immediately. He had planned a hunt, one much like the Headless Hunt plays at their meetings. Sir Nick would not be allowed to participate, but he would be receiving help from his party-goers. If his party-goers could complete the hunt, their heads being entirely intact, then the Headless Hunt would offer Sir Nick a one time invitation to join in their Headless Games. It was a very exciting offer, and we were not to mention it to Sir Nick. Sir Delaney-Podmore wanted it to be a surprise, so we kept it that way.

As the day arrived and the guests flowed in, all went very well. Sir Nick laughed with friends old and new, even a living boy joined in on the festivities and Sir Nick was joyful at seeing him there. I even dragged my cousin from France as she was very excited to meet this Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington. They became quick friends with me translating certain things between them. The conversations continued, very lively for ghosts, and Sir Nick received his honor of joining in the Headless Games. Before leaving, the guests presented Sir Nick with cards, words and presents.

When all was said and done, he floated over to Pale-Faced Pecan, Lost Nightmare, and I and thanked us highly for our work. He was pleased with how his party turned out and said it would go down as one of his favorites. He does so hope we can celebrate again one day.

-Giselle

Move Your Paws! Gryffindor Quidditch Team Exposé Prof. Zenix James

Hello and welcome to move Your Paws, the newly renamed sports section of Gryffindor!

Today we are going to interviewing a truly amazing individual. She is the hard-hitting and fast playing captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, Professor Jenny Lupin! I managed to corner her in the Quidditch team locker room in order to interview her about the Gryffindor Quidditch Team and what their plans are for the 2017/2018 Quidditch Season! I do have to admit, she did try to bludger me twice before those menacing things were locked in their cases. This is how our time together went.

I sat down on the edge of one of the worn...

Hello and welcome to move Your Paws, the newly renamed sports section of Gryffindor!

Today we are going to interviewing a truly amazing individual. She is the hard-hitting and fast playing captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, Professor Jenny Lupin! I managed to corner her in the Quidditch team locker room in order to interview her about the Gryffindor Quidditch Team and what their plans are for the 2017/2018 Quidditch Season! I do have to admit, she did try to bludger me twice before those menacing things were locked in their cases. This is how our time together went.

I sat down on the edge of one of the worn Gryffindor player benches and pulled out my notepad and pheasant quill. “Jenny, so tell me, who are the current players on the Gryffindor Quidditch Team? Give us a rundown of who you have.”

She shoved the practice crate of balls into its niche and responded, “Well first, I am really optimistic for this season! We only had a few players last term, but we held our own and made lots of improvement!

"I expect both Patrick James and Casey Moran to return ready to go, and I hope Zach and Tom will be back with us after taking a break last term. We also have at least one returning player from Hogwarts past that will really help! In recent years, we have rarely gotten to play snitch, which is an area Gryffindor tends to shine, so with these extra players, I see full teams in our future!”

I jotted this all down quite quickly and silently wished for a quick quotes quill, but remembered the ethics behind the use of that quill are sketchy.

“Jenny, can you remind our fans and students of the last win we had?” I asked her quickly and dotted the ‘i’ on the last sentence I was writing previously.

I watched as Jenny gave a great ‘huff’ and sat down on the bench opposite of me, wiping the sweat off her brow from the practice.

“I don't actually remember our last win... but we have had a lot of small victories each and every First goals, blocking fast players repeatedly, first time a player scores multiple goals...etc. The best part about our team is the determination! Everyone just wants to have fun and get better, and I have been so proud of each and every team member.

I sat there watching her like a strange stalker as I remembered those plays.

“Next up, I have a question from superfan Sky Alton and she asks what color socks do you guys play in?”

Jenny gave a short burst of laughter, “Everyone does their own thing! My favorites are red ones with gold and silver glitter snitches. Casey prefers to mix and match neon colors. He thinks it distracts people while he beats.”

“And the final question to you, m’dear. If someone is interested in joining the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, how would they go about doing that?”

“Send me a message! We have no requirements for joining, other than a desire to learn and practice!”

“Great, well, thank you so much for your time, Jenny! I look forward to watching the GQT in their first match this season!"

I packed up my writing supplies and turned to leave the team room when I felt a hard 'thwap!' on my back. I turned around quickly as Jenny was stowing a beater's bat back in its holder.

"Thanks, Jenny." I muttered, rubbing my now sore backside.

Minerva's Musings NaNoWriMo and Me Sky Alton

Back in 2012 I made a pretty impulsive decision.

I randomly decided, on the 1st of November, that I would try to write a novel of 50 thousand words in 30 days. In short: I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

There then followed some of the craziest (and arguably best) days of my life. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have a plot or even a vague sense of where the story was...

Back in 2012 I made a pretty impulsive decision.

I randomly decided, on the 1st of November, that I would try to write a novel of 50 thousand words in 30 days. In short: I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

There then followed some of the craziest (and arguably best) days of my life. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have a plot or even a vague sense of where the story was hurtling off to. All I did have were a cast of characters who just wouldn’t pipe down and the strange need to keep writing. I wrote everywhere: in bed, while eating and even (shhh) in class. The words just kept coming and so did the story.

There was no question about drying up or of what I was writing not being worth the metaphorical paper it was written on. I finished on day 16 and spent the rest of the month polishing my story and reeling from the shock of what I’d managed to do.

It was astounding realising I could write (Perhaps not well but compellingly enough to keep myself going over the equivalent of a typing marathon). It was even more astounding realising that I enjoyed doing it more than nearly anything else. And then again, at the same time, the adjustment was pretty easily made. By the end of November, I was a writer. That was who I was and who I wanted to be: no question.

By the time NaNoWriMo 2013 came around, I was feeling confident. I could do it again and I was looking forward to the excuse to leap into another world. I also made the pretty big decision (for me, at least) to actually get involved in the community this time. NaNoWriMo is a personal challenge and there’s no need to interact with anyone or even own up to doing it. But for those who do want support, encouragement or just comradery, there are forums, chatrooms and even in-person meets available. You can ask for help on a stubborn plot, celebrate a milestone or just vent about how nothing is going right. People will listen.

So, terrified, sick to my stomach, painfully shy and wondering what on earth I was doing, I attended my first write-in in a local coffee shop. We swapped plot ideas, talked about our fears for the coming month and drank some amazing hot chocolate (seriously, once you've had it with a sprinkle of chili powder, you can't go back). The people I met on that first day have become firm friends: some I only see in November and some I talk to on a weekly basis. The in-person events and online write-ins for my local region have become the highlight of November for me. They say that your region is something like your Hogwarts house and in my case, that's certainly true

I became an ‘ML’ (Municipal Liaison) last year. Alongside my friend who’s been doing it for 7 years, I’m now in charge of organising all those events for our local group and making sure our participants are feeling happy and motivated. This year NaNo HQ are theming all their resources around Superheroes so we’ve been having fun picking out goodies to hand out to our participants and re-writing all our forum guides to match. Though it gets stressful and there are times when 50 things seem to go wrong at once, I love the role.

But what about the writing? I’ve actually become pretty infamous in my home region for my killer typing speed and ability to finish the 50k stupidly fast. I still have fun doing it: hurtling through a story, never quite knowing what might happen. Of course, there have been years where the hurtling has been rather intermittent: when I’ve had to force myself to keep going through exhaustion and crippling writers block. But the sense of relief and achievement when I overcome these sticky patches is still massive.

I’ve never quite captured the same joy I had doing it for the first time and maybe I won’t again. Or maybe, I just need the right idea. But the thought that other people might be about to have that switch flipped in their mind, the one that says ‘hey, I’ve got this', now that gives me a serious buzz. Anyone anywhere can participate in NaNoWriMo. You don’t need to be able to ‘write’ or to have the plot of the next Pulitzer winner in your head. All you need is something to write with and the fleeting courage to set down the first word. Give it a go.

Ridikkulus Rumors Ask Snape Prof. Missa Matz

Ask Professor Snape your strangest questions or your burning desires!

Dear Snape,

BEWARE! I HAVE SHAMPOO AND I KNOW HOW TO USE IT ON GREASY BLACK HAIR ON HOGWARTS TEACHERS NAMED SEVERUS SNAPE! Mwahahahaha. *Puts shampoo on Snape's head and runs away while singing giddily about pickles and armadillos.*

— A. Fowls Jr


A Weirdo —

You obviously have some personal issues to deal with. Being as considerate of a teacher such as I am, I will allow you to think on how disgustingly insane and mental you are in detention. Your detention is to try and get every house elf in Hogwarts to accept clothing without trickery. You shall be doing this and only this, until you succeed. I see a long and fruitless life for one such as yourself. And you may want to stay away from the sugar. And the abundance of Pepper Up potions you seem to be taking. I think there may be brain damage. Oh, wait. I forgot. You're a Gryffindor.

— Snape


Dear Snape,

I was wondering where you get your robes. They are so swishy. I want swishy clothes! I want to walk down the halls with my robes swishing behind me as I glide down the halls. Sooo billowy. *sniggleplurfs*

Signed,

Billowy Pertifulness


Robe Snatcher —

You have got to be a Gryffindor. They are the only ones who make up completely useless words that make no sense. Next. My robes do NOT billow. Nor are they swishy. They lay flat and behave exactly as they are supposed to. And you have detention for saying I, "glide" down the halls. It's called walking. I suggest you learn how to do that instead of stumbling around like an oaf.

— Snape


Dear Snape,

I hope you enjoyed your holidays, I know I did. I wasn't stuck at the castle like you teachers were. What do you do there anyways? Do none of the teachers have homes to go to? Family? Friends? You must be very sad and lonely people. Oh, dirty thought. Do you teachers spend any time together? Oooh. Who is an item? Tell, tell! I mean, you guys have got to have a life right? And if you are all together at school all the time... Ok, I'll just continue with my thoughts.


Nosey —

You are quite possibly the weirdest child in the world. What would even possess you to think about adults being together. Your teachers no less? What a sick mind you have. I should report you to St. Mungo's because you obviously in need of some psychiatric treatment. Is this honestly what you students think about to occupy your time? And I thought Harry Potter and his obsession with being the center of attention had problems. Honestly. I would give you detention, but you might spend the time thinking such disgusting thoughts.

— Snape


Dear Snape,

If you could wish for anything in the world, what would it be?

— Anonymous


Anonymous —

To not write this column.

— Snape


Dear Snape,

I got this REALLY cool top from this real cool store in Hogsmeade.

Have a nice day!

— Wearing a cool top


Wearing a top —

Do you really think I could care less about your buying a top in Hogsmeade? I don't. I doubt anyone else does either considering the fact that you have to wear your robes over it and therefore no one gets to see it. On the bright side of things, at least you are not topless. I'm sure that would be scarier

— Snape


Have a problem that you want to ask Snape? Simply email him at missabeechan@yahoo.com with the subject 'Dear Snape' and your problem will be answered. Any questions used will be awarded 5 beans, so please make sure to put your HOL name so they can be awarded. * Please note: Do not send real problems, only fake ones. We here at Paw Print are in no way qualified to help with real life problems and are very sarcastic in our responses. Thank you.

Ridikkulus Rumos Worm Muffins Maxim Trevelyan

For any bigger upcoming holidays, I like to make themed-colored desserts.

Christmas cookies, thanksgiving pies, you name it. For Halloween, a very easy way to make spooky themed food is by utilizing muffins. They are quick to make and there is very little deviation from any other muffin recipe, as the trick is only in decorating these tasty treats. For this issue...

Halloween Muffins

For any bigger upcoming holidays, I like to make themed-colored desserts.

Christmas cookies, thanksgiving pies, you name it. For Halloween, a very easy way to make spooky themed food is by utilizing muffins. They are quick to make and there is very little deviation from any other muffin recipe, as the trick is only in decorating these tasty treats. For this issue, I will present to you a recipe for Worm Muffins.

As I mentioned in passing in the introduction, there is really no special Halloween muffin recipe, trick is only in the decoration. While I may present one recipe for muffins here, you are welcome to use your favorite one. I chose cocoa muffins here only because the brown coloring makes it seem as if worms are coming out of the dirt. Any other muffin recipe works just fine as well.

Worm Muffins
Ingredients (for 12 muffins)
Preparation

1. Tools and hands: First, I always prepare all tools that I am going to need on the counter, so I am not looking for them. You are going to need a couple of spoons, knife, grater, some bowls, kitchen scale, whisk, wooden spoon, a smaller pot, and of course one or two muffin tins. Thoroughly wash your hands and just in case, wipe down all your tools, especially if you had not used them in a while.

2. Prepare the oven and trays: Empty your oven and set it to 200C (390F). Take your muffins trays and laid the holes with the desired muffin cups. To make it more Halloween-y you can use orange or black, I used white, because that is the only ones I had. In theme with worms and dirt, you can use brown.

3. Grate the chocolate: Pretty straightforward. Take your favorite grater, and grate half of the chocolate. I usually use holes one size smaller than what people use for pizza cheese, but this is more of a preference. Set it aside for the next step.

4. Mix dry ingredients: Most recipes always put mixing of 'wet' ingredients first, but I do it the other way around. Take one of the bowls and put flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and grated chocolate in it. Gently mix it, so the ingredients combine.

5. Mix wet ingredients: Take sugar, an egg, sour cream and butter and mix them together in a larger bowl. You can do it with a mixer, but I prefer to do it by hand with a whisk, because I have greater control with just how much I mix the ingredients. To make the integration of all ingredients easier, I also melt the butter a little first either in microwave or on the stove. Just enough that it becomes soft. Mix the ingredients until they become a bit spongy.

6. Combine wet and dry ingredients: Take the bowl with mixed dry ingredients and gently pour them into the bowl with wet ingredients while gently stirring. Do not worry if you get a big lump of flour at the beginning. As you keep stirring, the ingredients should mix together well into a mass. Muffin batter is just right when it is a bit firm and sticky, somewhere between pancake batter and bread dough. If you think it is too liquid-y add some flour, if you think it is too firm, add some milk.

7. Bake: Put the muffin batter into the paper cups and bake the muffins for 15 to 20 minutes. From my personal experience, it usually takes around 20 minutes, but it depends on the type of oven. If you really want to make sure, open the oven and gently tap the top of the muffins. If it is firm, they are usually ready. Be careful not to get burnt! Take them out of the oven and let the muffin completely cool off.

8. Worms: While you are waiting for the muffins to cool off, you can prepare the worms. I usually use the store sour gummy worms, that have two color bodies, but you can use any you want. Cut them right where the two colors meet and set them aside.

9. Make holes: With a smaller and pointed knife, carefully make two to three holes in the muffins and put the worms inside. It should look as if they are peeking out of the ground.

10. Make chocolate icing: Now that the muffins are cooled off, you can make chocolate icing. There are many methods to make it, so here is mine. Take one or two tablespoons of oil and put it in a cup. Break the remaining chocolate down into smaller pieces and put them in the cup. Put the cup into the microwave for 1-2 minutes and then mix gently with a small spoon. You should get a pretty nice chocolate glaze. To have a better control on how the chocolate melts, so you do not burn it, you can also do this in a pot over the stove, on a small flame.

11. Decoration: Get the chocolate icing and gently pour it between the worms on the top of the muffin. You can use a cooking brush, but I just used a teaspoon. As soon as you put the icing on, take sprinkles and gently shower them on the icing.

Enjoy!

Ridikkulous Rumors Winter Warmers: Mulled Fruit Juice and Chili Hot Chocolate Sky Alton

If you live in the northern hemisphere, you’re probably feeling the chill right about now.

And even if you don’t, there are always times when a warm, comforting drink is just what you need. Mulled fruit juice is one of my favourite winter treats as it provides an instant hit of warmth while also being tangy and tasty with that extra spicy dimension. Chili hot chocolate is the perfect twist on a classic.

If you live in the northern hemisphere, you’re probably feeling the chill right about now.

And even if you don’t, there are always times when a warm, comforting drink is just what you need. Mulled fruit juice is one of my favourite winter treats as it provides an instant hit of warmth while also being tangy and tasty with that extra spicy dimension. Chili hot chocolate is the perfect twist on a classic.

Mulled Fruit Juice:

For this recipe you’ll need:

Use a grater to collect some zest from the outside of the orange, then peal it. Add the zest and the peal to a large saucepan (and yes, you can eat the rest of the orange, you won’t need it).
Add the cinnamon and other spices to the pan, then pour in the juice.
Keep the juice on a low heat for 5 to 15 minutes to let the flavours infuse.
You are now free to serve and enjoy the drink, though I’d advise straining it first so that nobody chokes on an unexpected piece of orange peel!

Chili Hot Chocolate:

You’ll need:

Add the cinnamon stick and sliced chili (if you’re not using powder) to the milk, then heat gently for around 7 mins. Take it off the heat and let it infuse.
Strain the milk (or fish out the bits) and heat for a further 3 mins.
Turn it down to a low heat and add the chocolate. Keep on a low heat and whisk it thoroughly until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is creamy.

If you’re using powder, now is the time to add it. Keep adding and stirring until it’s as hot as you want it.

Enjoy!

Ridikkulus Rumors Crystallisation Sky Alton

A poem when walking in the snow.

The first is inexplicable on my hand.
Tush…
The second lets me name it.
Tush…

The first is inexplicable on my hand.
Tush…
The second lets me name it.
Tush…
The third lands heavily in my palm.
Tush… tusht…
I cannot touch without crushing.
Crack… crackle…
The splintering of crystals
Tussssh… tush, shush,
They plop on my shoulders, weighed down by water.
Shush, shush, shush, then a harder sound.
I strain to see them in the air.
Tusssh, tush, shush, Shusht
Touch gives me no idea of the whole.
Shush…
Abstract, cold complexity.
Tush… shush…
I lift one to my lips.
Shush
The collapse is softer this time.
Tush, tush…
My tongue cannot grasp the structure either.
Tush, scrush, scrush
But I have to be close to it somehow
Tush… tush… tush
Not cut off by waterproof cloth.
Tush, tush, scrush
It won’t settle
Tush, tush, fush
There’s too much liquid there.
Fush, fush, fussssh,
It collects on the post,
Fussh, fussh…
Frothy but drenching.
Tush, fush, fush
As though each one takes a while to spread out,
tu-sh-sh-sh
The fifth, pulled from my hair, tastes sweet
Tush, sush, sush
I let them gather on me
Tush, tush, tush, tush
And I keep eating until the fall stops.

Ridikkulus Rumors The Paw Print is Back! Shiloh Adlar

The Paw Print is back!
And it's better than ever.
Here are some things I missed
In this never-say-die newspaper.

The Paw Print is back!
And it's better than ever.
Here are some things I missed
In this never-say-die newspaper.

The Paw Print is the creative one
Unique titles and word puns in every page
For sure, lions had it in them
Never lost, it now shines brighter.

Ask Snape is always a great treat
Best example of a Gryff's brilliance
Following the footsteps of the great Weasleys
This column will be exceptionally hard to beat.

But my favorite one is the Caption contest
Where wit and humor are put to test
You have to submit if you are to proclaim
You have a Gryff potential at the least.

Welcome back Paw Print, welcome!
Start your reign, your deserved one
You've shown us what you do best
You are fun, tons and tons of fun!