Sadly lacking the shed-sized pumpkins of Hagrid's day, the Great Hall was still very elaborately decorated for the Hallowe'en feast. Nearly a thousand carved Jack o' Lanterns with flickering candles, the usual live bats, orange and black streamers flowing and fluttering in an elaborate dance across the ceiling which had, as always, been charmed to show a most wicked storm. Every now and again a shriek of lightning would tear across the thick black clouds in the sky above the hall. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice, and other assorted seasonal delicacies were served liberally on golden plates.
All students and staff should be present and accounted for save a few very notable exceptions. Miss Gladspell had, of course, been missing since the start of term. The added disappearances of Miss Nickelston and Mr Wetzel had not yet been noted, though were sure to be unsettling at best, once they were. There was one sixth year and one fourth year student in the infirmary after an unfortunate incident with tentacula venom and a quidditch mishap, respectively. Professor Trelawney rarely attended feasts of this magnitude, and Professor Firenze would not deign to attend them. Professor Lupin, however, was in attendance, despite having been out of class and off his patrol the last few nights due to an illness. He was looking pale and weary, as many who suffer from sickness and insomnia tend to. As such, he could not be too faulted for not noticing the absent Gryffindors straightaway.
The Headmistress had announced that the ban on Hogsmeade visits would continue throughout the year, and had given the students another warning about wandering off the school's grounds. After her admonitions, she quickly summoned the food and sat down. It was at these times she most missed Albus, for he had always been able to maintain a better flare for light-hearted frivolity than she, and it was undebatable that such an atmosphere would benefit morale. The ghosts were scheduled to put on some sort of entertainment for the students' benefit after the feast. Perhaps that would help.