My 10-year-old loves Harry Potter. She devoured all seven books. So, for her birthday we threw a Harry Potter party and went all out. It was a ton of work, but also a whole lot of fun, and a party my daughter and her friends will remember for years. Her favorite book is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (book 3), so several of the details are from that book in particular.
In the Harry Potter world, invitations have to be delivered by owl. I found a cool idea on Pinterest showing owls drawn on balloons. I have to admit I was really nervous about drawing on a round surface with a permanent marker since I’m not a great artist. But it was actually much easier and turned out much better than I expected.
We printed a personalized letter from Dumbledore to each invitee. Here’s a free printable of the invitation letter. The invitations were so cool that every person we invited came to the party (which was a little more than I was expecting!)
When the guest first arrived, our garage was open and set up as Diagon Alley. Yes, our garage is messy and full like most garages, but that just added to the busy, eclectic feel of an old market street, I hope.
Our guests’ first stop was at Gringott’s Bank. Each signed her name and got 3 (chocolate) gold coins to spend at the various shops. After shopping, each guest came back to get 2 more coins to keep.
Jane ran Olivander’s wand shop. I’ll post next week about how we made the wands. We had an old shoe organizer with all the wands in boxes displayed inside. Each guest picked a wand and tried it out. If the lamp (which has a foot switch that Jane controlled) turned on, the wand fit the wizard. If not, the guest had to pick a different wand.
The Leaky Cauldron was just a small table with a black table cloth. We set out water bottles and fun size chocolate bars (in case of dementors) for each guest to take.
Blots and Flourish is where each guest bought her school spell book and filled out a sorting hat questionnaire. My amazing husband, who is also an amazing designer, created the spell books. You can download a free printable of the spell book pages and cover.
There’s a free printable of the questionnaire at Puddle Wonderful Learning’s Harry Potter Party: The Great Hall and the Sorting Hat Ceremony. Also, you can see how we made quills with feathers and tips from pencils below.
Platform 9 3/4
Once everyone had arrived, visited the shops at Diagon Alley, and purchased their school supplies, we all went to the front door, which was decorated as Platform 9 3/4. I had an old trunk set up on our porch with a smaller suitcase, a broom, and a stuffed owl in a cage to as a decoration.
The front door had an old shower curtain painted to look like a brick wall and split in the middle. I got the idea from Harry Potter Party: The Ultimate Guide to Recreating the Magic of Hogwarts. Each “Hogwarts student” had to run through the brick wall on their own.
Hogwarts Express and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans
We set up chairs to look like 2 train carriages next to a window as the Hogwarts Express. The kids played Jelly Belly’s Bean Boozled game. They had to eat a jelly bean not knowing if it was a yummy flavor or a disgusting flavor (like smelly sock flavor).
Don’t you just love their faces? I figured we’d do one round, but they wanted to keep going! We went through three rounds! If you play this game, make sure you have a small trash bag very close so kids can spit out the nasty flavored beans. Very close.
Once at Hogwarts (our family room), each student was sorted into either Gryffindor or Ravenclaw House. Having only two houses was a great idea — thanks, Audrey! No one felt left out or part of a “bad” house. I’m going to post about how I made the Sorting Hat next week.
We made quills from some cheap pheasant wing feathers and pieces of a push point pencil. We just hot glued the tip onto the quill, and the quills worked like pencils.
Since this post is starting to get very long, I posted all about the classes in another post: A Harry Potter Party at Hogwarts. The classes are the biggest part of a Harry Potter party, so there’s a lot to share.
To end our time at Hogwarts, we took a field trip to Hogsmeade for butterbeer, cake, and presents.
For butterbeer, I found a recipe for homemade cream soda with real vanilla beans and cream. That was a waste! If I were to do it again, I’d buy a 2-liter bottle of cream soda and add a little whipped cream to the top of each glass. Easier, cheaper, and the kids would be just as happy.
For the cake, Audrey found a Harry Potter cake on Pinterest that I tried to copy. The Hogwarts seal in the middle is a graphic I found online and printed on freezer paper. Then I added yellow swirls around it that I tried to make gold with glitter powder. Mostly it looked like shiny yellow frosting. I also put a Golden Snitch next to it made from a yellow ball we had and two feathers glued into the holes (feathers left over from making quills).
The kids also stopped by to pick up some chocolate frogs that Audrey made from a chocolate candy mold and some leftover candy, and a pack of their own Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans before they left to go home.
Our Harry Potter party was a magical experience that no one in our family or our guest will ever forget. Please use any ideas you like for your own party. And be sure to read more about the classes, the wands, and the sorting hat.
This post was shared on some of my favorite link parties.