Harry Potter Birthday Party
Guests were invited by receiving a "Letter from Hogwart's." Truth be told, I used the text from the letter as my guide, then taylored the content to our home, our birthday girl and our RSVP details. One guest even returned her RSVP by Owl Post and left a scroll and owl on our doorstep.
Our guests did not enter through Platform 9 3/4, but they could have! We just ran out of time for this detail.
We didn't have time to make the real cake, but we did make a chalkboard sign with the birthday girl's name.
Wizards were invited to bring new socks to free the House Elves (which were donated to our school for families in need - In Minnesota, socks is one of the most needed items for families). Just print out this sign and place a receptable beneath it.
Flying Letters from Hogwart's
This decoration was easier than it looks! We found free printables online, then took fishline and sewed through the paper in different directions to give the impression that the paper was flying.
A Visit to Gringott's Bank
Wizards began the party by stopping Gringott's Bank. The money would help them purchase their wands from Olivander's and their candy from Honeyduke's. Here is a sign for your bank.
Olivander's Wand Shop
After each wizard withdrew their money from Gingott's, they visited Olivander's Wand Shop. Remember, the wand chooses the wizard (so there are no disagreements). The wands were handmade by me, the birthday girl and her sister. We used the technique of small dowels, a hot glue gun, and three colors of brown paint. We used this post to inspire us, but then finished the project using methods that worked best for us.
Pumpkin Juice & Polyjuice Potion
There are MANY recipes out there for Pumpkin Juice, but if you simply don't have the time, we printed out labels and applied them to Izzy's fruit drink cans. Orange was Pumpkin Juice, and Green Apple was Polyjice Potion.
This momma didn't have time for homemade butterbeer either (and I have a picky eater, so I worried that my birthday girl would be disappointed). So, I chose her favorite rootbeer and applied a label (found online).
With their remaining money, wizards could shop for candy. (This was also a way to monitor their sugar intake and ensure that each wizard had a fair shot at the candy selection). We decorated the store with printable signs found online. And the candy containers were things we already had in our house. It can be just about anything. And we provided snack bags for the wizards to collect their purchases. I used black bags because I had them in my Halloween supplies, but regular lunch bags work too - or use any small handle bags that you've collected from recent purchases.
We hosted this party in September, and by then, the Halloween Candy was in stores. This was the best size for the candy store, and pre-packaged candy is the most sanitary anyway. I have noticed that snack-sized candies are more readily available in big box store candy sections year round.
Dinner & Party Game (not pictured)
The birthday girl likes pizza, so there isn't anything magical about that, but we assembled around the table for a party game. You know that Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans? Well, the party guests knew all about them, so we played a round of Mystery Beans. Each guest was given one bean on a plate. They were told that the bean could be a gross flavor, or a yummy flavor. Here's the twist - I didn't buy the Bertie Bott's. I only bought the true Jelly Bellies so EVERY guest received a YUMMY bean. Each took a turn to taste that bean. The anticipation was excruciating (and hilarious). My favorite was the boy who had popcorn and thought it was snot - it was hilarious (a little torturous, but not really).
Outdoor Movie Night
We decorated the trees with floating candlesticks, which was pretty amazing, but the mosquitos were a "buzz-kill" and we relocated the movie night to inside. We already had some battery-operated tea light candles, and I used plain pieces of printer paper to make my own tubes. Because they were going to be in the trees, I didn't spend much time making them look like real candles. I attached fishline to hang them in the trees.
Before the Wizard's returned to their Common Rooms and Towers, they visited the Owlery to adopt their Owl to take home. Name tags were provided and guests could choose one, or name the owl themselves. I simply typed up names on a sheet of paper, cut them into strips, punched a whole in the strip and attached a string.
A Note from Hagrid
Hagrid left a note for the wizards. It says, "Please name your owl. This owl is now your responsibility. --Hagrid" The owl also serves as the wizard's parting gift. At the time of the party, I visited a variety of local shops to purchase enough of these TY Beanie Boo Big Eyes Owls.
Think outside the box. Gather things from your home that have a wizardry feel. This lantern is part of our family room decor. The frame is from IKEA and I borrowed it from another room. I printed out a picture of this poster (but pick any free printable) and used poster putty to hang the frame on the way - it's only temporary after all! One more detail - I always decorate the bathroom that the guests will be using with things that will give the guests a giggle. For example, during a Star Wars party, I found a meme that said, "Wash your Hans" so printed it out and put it by the handsoap. For this party, I put a sign on the bathroom door called, "The Room of Requirement and printed out travel posters for Hogsmead and Hogwart's and put them on the wall.
Marauder's Map and Spiders
A dear neighbor (also our babysitter) gifted her Marauder's Map and Hermione Wand to the birthday girl, so we hung the map on the wall. Halloween is a great time of year to pick up giant spiders, so we added those to the wall as well.
As a reminder, any party looks as good as it does thanks in part to the many talented moms and dads out there who have planned parties before us. Pinterest is a great place to be inspired, but nothing is 100% reproducible. You must take those ideas and make them your own! Please check out my Pinterest board for your own party! There are so many ideas we didn't even use!