Every parent has proud moments. The first time your child walks, talks and pees in the toilet are ranked pretty high. One of my proud moments, the day my son finished his first Harry Potter book. Harry Potter is pretty important in our house, and now that my kids love the story, it’s even more important. So when my son asked for a Harry Potter party for his 8th birthday, I was thrilled. We were able to do it homemade style and the kids had a blast!
First, the invitations. Of course, we had to use Hogwarts acceptance letters. This was actually cheaper and easier than regular invitations, since we just used off-white paper and envelopes. I wanted to include a wax seal on the back, but we just stamped the back of each envelope with a red “H”
When the guests arrived at the party, they came through Platform 9 3/4 into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I made the brick wall with an old white sheet, red paint and a sponge. The sponge worked as a stamp, making a brick pattern. After I hung it over the door (using tacks), I cut a slit from the bottom so the kids could bust through the brick wall. The sign is just a piece of poster board with pre-made letter stickers and a 9 3/4 printed off the computer.
When they came in, it was time to be outfitted, receive their wands and be sorted.
I wanted to create a robe for each child to pick up from “Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occassions,” but making 18 robes just didn’t sound super fun to me. So my Mom, Sister-in-law and I sat down one night and made 18 of these capes in black. They were pretty simple and came together easily.
Then they stopped at “Olivander’s Wand Shop” for a wand. This was my son’s favorite part. He spent weeks collecting sticks from parks that looked like wands. This was also cheaper and easier than buying or making wands.
After they were outfitted for Hogwarts, they had to be sorted. This was tricky. We were worried some kids would be sad if they weren’t in Gryffindor, so that’s where we put them all. I printed the Gryffindor Crest on cardstock 18 times, cut them out and had them laminated. Then I cut out the laminated crests and attached a pin back with adhesive. They then drew the badges out of the “sorting hat,” (aka, an old Halloween witch hat).
Our day at Hogwarts consisted of three classes; Care of Magical Creatures, Potions, and Defense Against the Dark Arts. Each of these classes consisted of simple games, but each was made a lot more fun by the fact that it was Harry Potter style.
Class 1: Care of Magical Creatures
We played a version of “hot potato,” but with a dragon’s egg (a big, blue, plastic Easter egg). The kids sat in a circle and passed the egg around while we played music from the Harry Potter movies. The person holding the egg when the music stopped was out. Before we began, I explained to the kids that they had to really care for the egg. Dragon eggs are fragile and if you drop it, mama dragon will come breathe fire on you (don’t worry. I didn’t emotionally scar anyone… that I know of). I also explained they had to pass it quickly as dragon eggs are very hot. The child who lasted the entire game left with a lovely pack of dragon stickers as a prize.
Class 2: Potions
This was the favorite class of the party. Each child got their own mini cauldron (click here for link) and stir stick. We then filled squeeze bottles with all different kinds of drinks including root beer, half and half, various juices and more. Each I used sticker labels to name each liquid. Some were actual potion ingredients and some I just made up and pretended they were from Harry Potter. Each child was instructed to make their own version of Felix Felicis, also known as the happiness potion. They each got to make their own drink, stir it, and drink it with a small straw. They had so much fun doing this. Some drinks were fun and some were downright repulsive. At the end of the party, they got to take their cauldron home.
Class 3: Defense Against the Dark Arts
In this class, the kids got to learn how to protect themselves against dementors; meaning we smashed a dementor pinata. Since dementors are just black, raggedy creatures, this was extremely easy. We got a soccer ball pinata and draped black plastic tablecloths over the top. Then I shredded the bottom to make it look more like rags. We used a baseball bat and made each child point the bat at the dementor and shout, “Expecto Patronum!” before hitting the pinata with the bat.
After school, the kids were rewarded with a trip to Honedukes Candy Shop. This was probably the most fun for me. I went to my local candy store and re-created Harry Potter candy.
We had the following:
Chocolate frogs – Since authentic Harry Potter chocolate frogs cost $4 a piece, I decided to make my own. I got this mold from Amazon and just added melted chocolate chips.
Jelly Slugs – Gummy Worms
Bernie Botts Every Flavor Beans – Knock-off Jelly Belly jelly beans
Licorice Wands – Red Vines
Golden Snitches – White chocolate Lindt truffles (this was my sister’s idea. She’s kind of a genius).
Lemon Drops – Just plain old lemon drops
Peppermint Creams – Jr. Mints
Golden Galleons – Chocolate coins
Caramel Creams – Just what it says
Taffy – Salt water taffy
This was what we did instead of “party favor bags.” I printed some Honeydukes labels on my computer and stuck them on brown bags I got at a craft store. The kids took their bags to the table and were able to shop for candy. I had parents behind the table handing out the candy as I was sure it would be total chaos to just let the kids run free.
We ended the party with cake and presents. The cake was fabulous. I asked our grocery store bakery to do this design and they were happy to help.
My son was thrilled. Because we had so many kids, the party was only an hour and a half to keep them all busy and keep the craziness down. It worked perfectly. The kids were finishing cake when parents showed up. In the end, we were all exhausted but had a magical time.