It’s Hallowe'en and it is the night of witches anyway, so of course Halloween was always a special occasion at Hogwarts. Just remember the lovely dishes prepared at Hogwarts around the 31st of October. You will find sweet-filled pumpkins, bats, orange streamers, water snakes and sweets in various colours, but also the entertainment seems to be quite spooky.
“By the time Hallowe’en arrived, Harry was regretting his rash promise to go to the Deathday Party. The rest of the school was happily anticipating their Hallowe’en feast; the Great Hall had been decorated with the usual live bats, Rubeus Hagrid’s vast pumpkins had been carved into lanterns large enough for three men to sit in, and there were rumours that Albus Dumbledore had booked a troupe of dancing skeletons for the entertainment.”
You have to remember that Harry’s fate started at Hallowe’en. It was on the 31st of October 1981, Harry’s parents were murdered by Lord Voldemort in Godric’s Hollow, his mother sacrificing herself for her son and commencing the whole story by doing so. So, Harry’s story starts with Hallowe’en.
Hallowe’en is important in the Harry Potter books, especially the first four ones, so let’s recap what happens during these Hallowe’en feasts at Hogwarts.
In Philosopher’s Stone, Hallowe’en is off to a bad start, as Hermione overhears Ron talking rudely about her and running off crying. We see how considerate Harry is, looking for Hermione in the Great Hall during the feast. However, the feast is disturbed by Quirrell who, breathlessly, announces there is a troll loose in Hogwarts before fainting dramatically (there was, indeed, only drama included, as we learn later on, he must have visited acting classes at some point).
It is probably the first of Harry’s truly heroic acts and probably the most significant, considering it is the act which made two three and incorporated Hermione in the whole equation. Ron and Harry hunt down the troll in the girls’ toilets and save Hermione from its vicious attacks. Thankfully they all survive and are met rather briskly with their house head Professor McGonagall. However, as mentioned earlier, they made friends with Hermione.
“But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”
Remember Nearly Headless Nick? Of course you do. Well, he is the reason Harry, Ron and Hermione didn’t attend the Hallowe’en feast a year later, as they were invited to his Deathday Party. It was a rather dull party for them to go to; it was really cold, as ghosts emanate coldness and the music was obviously terrible “The temperature dropped with every step they took. As Harry shivered and drew his robes tightly around him, he heard what sounded like a thousand fingernails scraping an enormous blackboard.”
It is also here that they first meet the Moaning Myrtle (well, Harry and Ron) who is crucial for the whole story in the book later on. The food, additionally, is absolutely gross for any human taste as there as described: “Large rotten fish were laid on handsome silver platters; cakes, burned charcoal black, were heaped on salvers; there was a great maggoty haggis, a slab of cheese covered in furry green mould and, in pride of place, an enormous grey cake in the shape of a tombstone, with tar-like icing forming the words Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington died 31st October 1492.”
But this isn’t the most exciting thing that happened at Hogwarts this night. This night was the first night the Basilisk attacked and froze Mrs Norris, Filch’s cat, to stone. Because the three youngsters were at the Deathday Party, they are also the first suspects according to Filch as they were the only ones not attending the feast. It is of course clear later on that none of them could have performed any such magic and Hogwarts has to face that the Chamber of Secrets has reopened…
In Prisoner of Azkaban there is a particularly creepy Hallowe’en in store for Harry and the readers. We know Sirius Black was on the loose and it is Hallowe’en night that he sneaked into Hogwarts to kill Pettigrew for his betrayal of Lily and James. As the Fat Lady refused to let him pass, he slashed the portrait and she fled, as did he. When the trio wanted to return to their dormitories, they found the corridor jammed with students, unable to pass inside. When Dumbledore came and inspected the portrait Peeves said: “Nasty temper he’s got, that Sirius Black.”
In Goblet of Fire the Hallowe’en feast was also used to announce the champions for the Triwizard Tournament. Everything was still alright in Harry’s world when he and his friends walked down in high anticipation of who might fight for Hogwarts. But of course everything came differently. Besides the three champions Cedric, Viktor Krum and Fleur, Harry was chosen as a fourth champion and had to participate in the tournament. If you want to see it in a super-creepy way you could also say that Cedric’s death was sealed on Hallowe’en 1994.
From the fifth on, Hallowe’en loses its significance in the books, but is a rather important theme in the books, especially with Harry’s parents dying that very day. So indulge in it and hopefully you will neither get attacked by a troll nor have to attend a Deathday Party. Hopefully no one will seek to enter your private rooms without permission or make you champion in a tournament you never enrolled for. Hopefully you can simply enjoy this spooky night and for extra fun have a Harry Potter Hallowe’en!