Harry Potter theme party puts a spell on kids
For my son's eighth birthday, he wanted a Harry Potter theme. We determined the party would be structured as classes at Hogwarts so his friends could be divided into houses and, as best as we could, allow them to become wizards for the day.
For the invitations, I created a letter from Hogwarts, similar to the one welcoming Harry his first year. The letter, on buff resume paper with green writing, read:
of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmistress: Minerva McGonagall
Dear Mr. (Name),
We are pleased to inform you that you have been invited to a party for (my child) at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Guests will have the opportunity to take sample classes at Hogwarts. Wizarding robes are not required, but may be worn.
The party begins at one o'clock in the afternoon on December 3. Hogwarts will be disguised as the Muggle home at (our adress). We await your owl no later than November 30.
I hand-delivered all invitations while the children were in school and asked caregivers who were home to tell the invited child an owl dropped the letter off for them.
A few parents emailed me their RSVP with the subject "owl."
Because I made many items for the party myself, preparation was a week-long process. I made:
- Chocolate frogs, in boxes with wizard cards which I also made. For the frogs, I used a candy mold with frog designs (found at craft stores) in it and Dove chocolates. I found ideas for the wizard cards through the Harry Potter Wikipedia, and printed them on business card paper.
- Banner decorations representing the four houses. I used brown grocery bags (free!) and painted the designs. To give them a grander appearance, I added streamer to the bottom of each.
- Scarves for each child to identify them with a house. Fortunately, the fleece I used was on sale at 50% off, so I didn't spend as much as I could have on this project. I simply just cut the fleece into the number of scarves I needed. No sewing, nothing fancy.
- Sorting hat to, um, sort the children into houses. I used a black witch hat from a party store and wrapped a ribbon around it, allowing extra ribbon to flow down along the sides. I strengthed the ribbon with duct tape, because the ribbon had a dual purpose. To make the hat talk, I put cell phone on speaker phone and placed inside the ribbon. My husband, on his phone and in another room, provided the voice for the hat.
- Broomsticks and poster for games were made from things around the house. Baseball bats became broomsticks with partially shredded brown paper taped to the ends. A large paper shopping bag was cut to the size I needed for a revised popular party game.
- While butterbeer was provided by a friend, I created pumpkin juice by blending pumpkin ice cream and milk into a milkshake.
- Finally, I also made the cake.
As each child arrived, they were greeted by an assortment of treats from Honeydukes to try. We had the chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans (Jelly Belly Kids Mix) and pretzel wands (pretzel sticks). We had movie extras playing in the background.
Once everyone was there, we started the sorting ceremony. The hat sung the song from the book, then, each child was called up to be sorted. The hat discussed each child's qualities before revealing in which house they belonged. When they got their house assignment, each child got the appropriate scarf.
After being sorted, all the houses went outside for "Flying Lessons." This was a relay race in which the children had to run from one hoop to another with a "broom" between their legs. The winning team got to chose which lesson they went to next.
Next, the houses split, with half the kids going to "Potions Class" and the other half going to "Transfiguration Class." Once the first round of classes concluded, the children switched classes.
In potions, the kids each had a cup of water and got to experiment with putting in different powders, from Pop Rocks to Jello. For transfiguration, each child was given a foam marshmallow and asked to turn it into a creature using pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes and foam shapes.
Then, there was cake. The cake was a sheet cake which was made to look like the cover of the Sorcerer's Stone, only with my son on the cover instead of Harry. This was accomplished by painting a sugar sheet found at a craft store with gel food coloring. Food markers were used to draw the initial sketch. The gold lettering and snitch were drawn on last with gold-colored Wilton Sparkle Gel.
The last class with all students was held upstairs after the cake was consumed. It was upstairs because the class was Astronomy, which some of the kids thought was astrology at first. A poster of the constellation Orion hung on the wall, and I briefly explained what constellations were, and pointed out the names of the stars in Orion, like Bellatrix. I then pointed out one star was missing in the picture, and it was the kids' job to blindly place the star on the image-- to "Pin the Star on Orion's Belt" (played just like "Pin the Tail on the Donkey"). Stars were star labels, like the gold stars teachers put on tests.
It was then time for the children to go home. Each got a goody bag with a smal Harry Potter Lego set (also found on sale!), a couple "fun packs" of Every Flavour Beans and a chocolate frog. My son claims it was his best birthday ever.
Other Harry Potter Hubs by Samantha Sinclair
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