I love birthdays. I love Harry Potter. So when my 7-year-old said he wanted to have a Harry Potter birthday party I was thrilled. What could be better? The combination was going to be magical.
We had the party last week and magical it was.
I may have gone a little overboard. I don’t normally do this much for birthdays. (At one point in my party planning I had to ban myself from Pinterest. I kept pinning more and more ideas and stressing myself out that I hadn’t done enough.)
Believe me I did plenty. Enough for this busy mama anyway.
Why did I do it? I couldn’t resist transforming our house into a mini Potterworld. And seeing the kids’ reactions was priceless. It has been my favorite party we’ve had to date.
Here’s what we did.
We let the kids gather in the front yard until everyone had arrived. That way they could go through platform 9 ¾ together.
We taped a brick-patterned paper backdrop that I bought on Amazon to the doorway and the kids had to go “through” the brick to get to Kings Cross station.
There they all waited in our Hogwarts hallway before we guided them to the Great Hall. I printed off a bunch of poster/bulletin-board decorations that I found on Pinterest for the hall.
I also printed off a picture of Moaning Myrtle for the bathroom. I used red lipstick to write about the chamber of secrets opening on the bathroom mirror.
My mother-in-law painted a few refrigerator boxes to look like brick for a Christmas party she did last year. I borrowed the “walls” for our great hall. I made floating candles (tutorial here) , house banners (free printables here ), and our very own sorting hat (out of paper mache.)
Each guest found a spell card (download our spells card here), Marauder’s map (we used this map) and Snitch (we painted Styrofoam balls gold then stuck craft feathers in them) waiting for them at their place in the great hall.
We sorted the partygoers into four different Hogwarts Houses houses. I downloaded a Sorting Hat app from the Google Play store that said random phrases after you pushed a “sort” button. But my oldest son really wanted to be the sorting hat. So we typed up some of the random phrases from the app and my son hid behind our refrigerator box walls and used a microphone and karaoke machine to announce the house that each child was sorted into.
We also hooked up our video baby monitor so that he could use it to see the exact moment when the sorting hat was placed on someone’s head.
After everyone was sorted, I announced that our guests were unprepared for their stay at Hogwarts and that we were going to have to pick up a couple of things at Diagon Alley.
Our first stop was Ollivanders where we picked out and painted our very own wands. For the wands, we used chopsticks that I also bought on Amazon. I used hot glue before hand to make designs on the wands. I’ve blogged about this before. You can check out a better tutorial here. This time we didn’t wrap any beads in our hot glue, just kind of clumped it on heavy in spots, thin in others.
I didn’t have any paint shirts so we cut arm and head holds into large kitchen garbage bags and used them as makeshift paint shirts for the kids.
While waiting for our wands to dry, we stopped at the Quality Quidditch Supplies shop to select brooms. My boys and I made brooms several weeks ago out of bark, sticks, hot glue and string.
Each guest got to choose which broom fit them best.
Then we had a show down on the quidditch field.
My husband hung two purple hula hoops on one side and two red ones on the other to set up the field. We used a vollyball for the quaffle, a few light-weight plastic balls for bludgers and my husband as the snitch.
We found muggle quidditch instructions on this site. It was great fun. They ran so hard with their brooms between their legs trying to toss the balls through the hoops and trying to catch the snitch, all without being hit with a bludger.
After quidditch we went back to the great hall for cake, ice cream and butter beer. I used the top recipe on this site, the one labeled Harry Potter Butterbeer Recipe #5 recipe. It was absolutely delicious! My son opened his presents while we enjoyed our treats.
By this time our wands were dry. I handed them out to each guest while we waited in the hall. We were looking for the Room of Requirement. We wanted to use it to test out our wands while practicing the Patronus Charm.
We found the room with a dementor inside! (A balloon wrapped inside a black tablecloth.)
The kids practiced shouting “Expecto Patronum” to scare the dementor away. I made a slideshow video of several different patronus images I found online. Then I set up our video projector so it would shine the image after the kids shouted their charm.
My husband sat on the top bunk in the Room of Requirement and helped the dementor “fly” away when the Patronus appeared.
After each child tested their wands and patronuses we found a secret passage to Honeydukes.
There the children got to take a handful of Potter-style candy. I used labels from this site for the jars and this site for the candy bars.
When the guests had their fill of candy, we headed out front to wizard duel until their parents arrived.
We used these rules for the dueling. We altered the rules a little, but they were still kind of complex for the kids. After trying a few times we decided to let them duel however they wanted and get rid of the rules. Well, nearly all of the rules. We kept the ban of unforgivable curses in place. If anyone used one of those then they forfeited.
I’m not going to lie, this party was a lot of work. But, it was also a lot of fun. I only wished it would have lasted longer. And that my house really was Hogwarts.