We’ve all just about recovered from hosting our annual Halloween party, so time to (briefly) reflect on it. As with last year, a lot of work went into the party, but it was a particularly tough job this year, as there were so many considerations to make regarding the coronavirus. The biggest change to usual was that we wouldn’t have any food at the party. Usually we have a potluck party where everybody brings something that they’ve made and we can all enjoy eating lots of different things. That is a real highlight of the party, especially for the adults, but was obviously out of the question in the current circumstances. Other changes were the need to wear masks, and a necessary cap on numbers. Regardless of all the changes, I think the party was a success, and, most importantly, the kids all had a really fun time!
The theme of this year’s party was Harry Potter, and this was a theme that had been decided in a meeting the previous December. As an idea it was quite good, as it allowed us to introduce an idea of ‘magic’, as well as having plenty of iconic symbols and characters we could devise the décor around. The ins-and-outs of the preparation and the schedule of the day were ironed out much later in a meeting in late July though, where we began thinking about what direction we could take with the party. It was decided that we would have a magic show as part of the entertainment. Luckily, office manager Takeda-san’s wife practices magic in a club, so she and one other member were able to deliver a magic show for us on the day. That would come after the annual performance which we put on at the beginning of the event; a 5-minute segment, which like last year, took hours upon hours to prepare for. That, alongside the decorations took up the bulk of our time in terms of preparation. We started brainstorming ideas for the party towards the end of August, where we decided to build some cardboard castles (one for each of the Hogwarts houses no less!), and—in keeping with our complete lack of skills—print off lots of posters etc from the internet. The castles took some time, but thanks to the kind help of our super-volunteer Monika, we managed to make them quite early in the process. It was a big relief to get them done, as the Halloween party always has a big centerpiece at the front (frontpiece?) of the main hall. Years gone by have seen all sorts of things made, including sailboats and, somewhat disappointingly, a much much better castle than the one we made! Either way, I was very glad to have got it made early on, and was happy with how they looked. We painted each castle the colour of the house (e.g. yellow for Gryffindor, green for Slytherin), then pasted the emblem and name of the house on top. It was quite a good and colourful effect, and the castles looked quite good. On top of that, we made a much bigger ‘main’ castle for the individual houses to circle around. After painting it black, and spraying dashes of gold and silver, we stuck pictures of various characters from the Harry Potter films on to it. The overall effect was good, and it looked good in the hall on the day as well.
Once the castles had been prepared, we set to finding some Harry Potter-related things from the internet, and printing them off to put on to the walls. Maki-san went one step further and printed out massive sized flags of each house, as well as the Hogwarts school crest; those items looked fa