NOTE: Post OotP.
NOTE: Post S7 BtVS with certain assumptions. Buffy died and Giles is Dawn's co-guardian with Willow. Willow comes in the next chapter.
~*~ Finding out ~*~
“You want us to allow students to go into Hogsmeade dressed in costumes so they can do what Muggles do on Halloween. This trick-or-treat thing.” Filius Flitwick was the only one of the staff in the teachers lounge who had recovered enough to repeat what he thought he had heard the Headmaster say.
“Correct Filius.” Albus Dumbledore replied with a slight smile. “I have talked to the residents of Hogsmeade and they are willing to participate in this activity. Several businesses plan on being open late to be points where younger students can gather safely while they wait for older students, prefects and staff to escort them on their trick-or-treating walks. Muggle parents often supervise groups of children and check the candy the children collect. I’m sure Poppy and Severus can check the candy to make sure it is safe for consumption.”
“The Slytherins will not be pleased with this.” Severus Snape replied bluntly. He wasn’t pleased with it. “They will refuse to participate in a Muggle activity.”
“Students who do not wish to participate can attend a Halloween Masquerade dance. The Upper years can stay up late until midnight. Perhaps we could include a contest; for the most original costume; for guessing the person behind the mask. It will help reduce some of their fears of those who wear masks.”
No one responded to that allusion to Death Eaters.
Minerva McGonogall tried to smooth away the frown creasing her brow. Her colleague Severus Snape made no similar attempt.
“But they should be afraid. Fear will keep them from doing something foolish and dangerous.” The Potion Masters low silky tones held a hint of strain. Recent weeks had been hard on him. The Dark Lord was treating everyone with equal suspicion and treatments of the Crutiatus Curse. Severus wasn’t sure how much longer he could maintain the façade. “This… Activity if yours is an open invitation for Death Eaters seeking to make a reputation for themselves.”
Minerva lost patience and threw her support behind her erstwhile rival.
“Severus is right. This is foolishness Albus!” She hissed in low tones that did not carry too far. “You are risking the lives of children to play out a silly Muggle tradition.”
“Perhaps.” The Headmaster looked tired but his eyes twinkled. “I know Minerva. But the children are scared. What do we have if we don’t have hope? If they are too afraid to resist?”
* * * * *
The students of Hogwarts stole glances up at the Head Table before returning their attention to two things: food and gossip.
Everyone had heard the rumors but no one was sure if the rumors were correct: Had Dumbledore completely gone off his rocker and invited a bunch of Muggles to Hogwarts to inspire solidarity?
Hermione Granger did not think so.
“Don’t be an idiot Harry. You should know better than to believe gossip. Especially with ‘everyone’ saying you were Slytherin’s Heir.”
Harry Potter blushed and subsided. It would be safer to go-- ah ‘analyse’ rumors when Hermione wasn’t around.
“The Headmaster is probably planning some kind of activity to celebrate Halloween. Perhaps a party of some kind.” Hermione continued. And she was right.
Minerva McGonogall rose and spoke after casting an amplifying charm.
“Students, the Headmaster has an announcement to make.”
After silence fell over the Great Hall Albus Dumbledore spoke.
“I have decided to start a new tradition for Halloween. This year Hogwarts will have a Halloween Masquerade Dance for all students. Younger students have the opportunity to go trick-or-treating as Muggles say from five to seven. The Dance will start at eight and last until midnight for Upper years, ten for Lower years. If you have any questions feel free to talk to any of the staff for advice or ideas on making your costumes.” Dumbledore glanced around gauging the sullen aura from the Slytherin tables before continuing. “There will be points awarded to costumed participants for a variety of categories. Your House Head will have a list of categories posted in the Common Rooms tomorrow morning.”
The excited buzz drowned out all other words.
The Slytherins weren’t too keen on trick-or-treating but getting points was enough to sweeten the gall.
Several Muggleborn students were questioned, interrogated, for their knowledge on Muggle Halloween traditions and ideas for costumes.
* * * * *
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