Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween hangover | A Hogwarts Halloween

A feeble attempt at recreating that 8th Harry Potter movie poster.

I can't say it enough that I love Halloween and this year was probably one of the best, if not the best. First off My Bibe and I took leaps in the dressing-up department with her donning a Maleficent Halloween costume and me transforming into Voldemort. Yeah, they do make a good couple.

Second, our department decided to join our HR's workplace decorating contest for the first time since it came to be 3 years ago. Interestingly, our building's 16th floor won this thing 3 friggin' years in a row. I showed my colleagues photos from last year where they went with a carnivale Halloween theme and told them this is what we're up against. After firming up our collective decision to join, I pushed for a Hogwarts theme.

We transformed our workplace into the famed witchcraft and wizardry school from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. Or at least we tried.

We had a corridor with moving paintings; designated a room that would serve as The Great Hall; common rooms for all 4 houses (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin); a special Ollivander's "sales blitz" where we gave out wands to kids (since students had to get their wands prior to arriving at Hogwarts, we had to find a way to incorporate it into our plan); classrooms for Divination, Charms, Herbology, Potions, and Defense Against the Dark Arts; and even a bathroom for Moaning Myrtle. We used everything from old newspapers, used boxes, garbage bags, scratch paper, cellophane, and Japanese paper, as well as borrowed curtains and other implements.

Thankfully all our hard work has paid off because we nabbed first prize. Oh yeah! So here are some photos from our very fun day last week:

Hagrid (who has considerably lost weight) and an unnamed prefect welcomed students at the entrance. The elevator doors served as our Hogwarts Express and after alighting, trick or treaters--whom we called students--were ushered inside our office for a "guided tour." Kids were toured in batches, each with a designated prefect to walk them through their "classes" and score some treats.

A couple of prefects posing with our moving portraits, which was a hit, by the way, particularly with grown-up guys.

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Inside our not-so-great Great Hall where students were welcomed and sorted. For some inexplicable reason, Prof. Dumbledore didn't want to show his true self and gulped on some Polyjuice potion to look like a much younger man.

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Kids being sorted. I'm sure the one in the bottom photo is Slytherin.

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Mr Ollivander's special sales blitz, where kids got their wands. I reckon we were really a hit when we ran out of wands, considering we made more than a hundred of them.

All wands were handcrafted by auditors and other Muggles out of chopsticks, glue gun, and paint. We also incorporated everything from beads to crumpled paper to lend character to each wand.

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They say the wand chooses the wizard. So instead of simply handing them out, we made the kids try out different wands by flicking them. Once Mr Ollivander and his assistant decided it was the right fit, a flash of light appeared from a spotlight aimed at the kids. I must say that a lot of kids bought the idea, the little ones especially.

Outside the Divination classroom. Oh, we loved our Prof. Trelawney who was so in character.

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A couple of photos showing Prof. Sybill Trelawney reading some kids's futures. It's just guessing their names or which treat they wanted actually. Then the kids get their treats. One fun anecdote had Trelawney guessing a particular kid wanted milk, to which the kid replied with big-eyed amazement, "How did you know?"

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After a tiring day at school, Prof. Trelawney sat back in her classroom and fell asleep. Then she had a dream--no, a vision--of The Dark Lord paying her a visit.

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At Charms, Prof. Flitwick's lesson was the levitation charm (incantation: Wingardium Leviosa). He showed kids how to make a feather float in midair and control it (with a string of course).

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Kids listened really intently to Prof. Flitwick's lesson. My, even kids-at-heart adults were delighted when they were successful with Wingardium Leviosa!

The Herbology classroom, for which we adopted a greenhouse-like theme.

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Mandrakes were Prof. Sprout's lesson that day and kids enjoyed, especially after receiving their treats. Heck, even Lord Voldemort dropped by to check the Mandrakes out!

An uncharacteristically smiling Prof. Severus Snape at Potions. I didn't know he had dimples.

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Prof. Snape was in an unusually good mood that day teaching kids how to brew potions like Veritaserum, Elixir of Life, Polyjuice, and Felix Felicis. He also made them drink their potions (which were made from powdered juice of course).

The Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom. And the lesson? Boggarts.

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Prof. Lupin looked dashing after shaving off his mustache. Kids who successfully defeated their boggarts were rewarded with treats.

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And what were the boggarts? Just a bunch of Death Eaters. And Lord Voldemort. Kids (and even some adults) exhibited all sorts of fear from walking away, screaming, and crying. But then there were a few who successfully banished us boggarts with "Riddikulus!"

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Our Moaning Myrtle with her toilet. She really nailed the character right down to Myrtle's tiny voice and uhm, moaning. (Right photo stolen from MG Resurreccion.)

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The Gryffindor common room. There's our Fat Lady right there asking everyone who wished to enter for the password.

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At the Ravenclaw common room, which, consistent with the book, was bright and airy. These Ravenclaws are weird, though. Apparently they devour all sorts of books whether about magic or not. Auditing Theory, anyone? Practical Accounting? Even Voldemort took interest in them.

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The Hufflepuff common room. And what a mess these Hufflepuffs make! So much mess that Lord Voldemort even cast a spell to restore order in this room.

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The Slytherin Dungeon, where naturally Voldemort felt right at home. He is, after all, the heir of Hogwarts co-founder Salazar Slytherin. Enemies of the heir, beware!

"I can touch you now!"
Oh, that chilling scene from Goblet of Fire when Voldemort finally returned in the flesh.

Only here will you see Harry and Voldemort all chummy with each other.

The trio of Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger. Hermione even had her time-turner with her. (Photo collage stolen from MG Resurreccion.)

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Our Harry was a hit with kids (and tweens). But so was Voldemort. Or at least he tried, which was weird.

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Having fun at the photo wall. Top photo shows some of our Hogwarts professors. From left to right: Dolores Umbridge, Flitwick, Sprout, Lupin, Trelawney, and Snape.

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More photo wall fun with everyone from Death Eaters, to Luna Lovegood, to prefects, assistants, and even paintings who escaped their, er, portraits.

Flitwick and Snape. This photo's a winner. (Photo stolen from MG Resurreccion.)

Our Internal Audit Department. Yes, we do know how to have fun.

Another group photo.

I think it's safe to say we all had an awesome day. It was tiring but it was also tons of fun. Best of all, it was really great to win--together as a team.

Just one more notable thing here. It was also nice how everyone lent a hand in dismantling everything and restoring our workplace to its original "workable" state and so our cleaning peeps wouldn't have a hard time cleaning up. Everyone was so quick it was like someone flicked his wand and muttered "Evanesco!"

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Together at work to build, still together at work to get things back to normal. I'm proud.

Now off to deposit all these Hogwarts Halloween memories to Dumbledore's Pensive.

Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus.

Photos taken by Mara Sipin and Aple Joy Rizala.


  1. You sure did have a lot of fun! I love the setup of your office!


  2. Awesome workplace! Wish we could do that in our office as well. :)


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