Last year for my younger sister's birthday, I came up with the idea (and was kindly assisted by my lovely Mum) to throw her a surprise Harry Potter birthday party.
Now I've been a fan of the books ever since they came out. I was one of those kids that read it before it was popular, when it was just a book with some odd looking kid on the front looking at a train. My first and second books are from the first ever print run, and I'm proud to say I was into Harry Potter before it was cool.
So it's been my dream to bring the books to life in party form! So if like me, you're also a big fan of Harry Potter, I'll put up everything I did and perhaps you can recreate it sometime! Or just enjoy the pictures and my hard work from your couch :P
I really wanted to create a fun party reminiscent of our kid party days. I wanted there to be dress ups, prizes, a little competition and team activities and games. So this was my take on it...
The main parts of the party were the Decorations, the Food, and the Games/Story for the evening. So I'll structure this post accordingly.
First of all I sent out this invitation to all 10 party goers:
HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDRY
Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore (Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)
Dear Chosen Guests,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary equipment. Term begins on August 20.
Thank you for sending prompt acceptance confirmation via owl. As we are privileged to have a surprise guest for the first evening’s festivities, please ensure you arrive no later than 7pm. Please park your brooms and flying cars down the road/around the corner from the castle to ensure they are not visible to any curious Muggles (or the surprise guest!). Or if coming by Hogwarts Express please ensure you catch an early one so you don't interrupt the evenings festivities by a tardy arrival.
Also please ensure you come adequately decked out in appropriate wizarding attire- Muggle clothes will not be accepted. Bring any wizarding related paraphernalia if you have it, and of course don't forget your wands!
First years, we look forward to meeting all of you and introducing you to the magic of Hogwarts! And I'd advise against eating too many sweets on the train, a great welcome feast awaits you upon completion of the Sorting Ceremony.
Our whole downstairs was used and split into various Hogwarts locations. When people walked in the first Harry Potter film soundtrack was playing loudly to set the scene.
Here is the intro to our house. As you can see we stuck pictures of Harry Potter and movie posters on the walls everywhere (collected from magazines over the years/the internet).
We stuck signs up everywhere to show what each room/area was supposed to be. Here are some examples of signs and their locations:
Toilet: 'To the Floo Network'
Door to outside: 'Care of Magical Creatures'
Stair cupboard: 'Harry's Cupboard under the Stairs'
Front door: Platform 9 3/4 - Hogwarts Express
Dining room: The Great Hall
Mirror: The Mirror of Erised
Study: Dumbledore's Office
This was a little table we had at the entrance, with a 'Welcome to Hogwarts' sign over it. The castle comes from a gorgeous Harry Potter pop up book. The Harry Potter cards all came from a Quidditch card game we had lying around. We placed little magical soft toys everywhere, the one on the right is a Hedwig toy. I also purchased little trophies for the house winners to take home (I'll explain later).
Below is a picture of our dining room which we labelled 'The Great Hall'. We used a tablecloth with stars all over it, lots of candles, lots of gold to give it a grand feel and little magical sequins of bats and stars (left over from halloween).
The huge Hermione poster was kindly lent to us from our local newsagent, as they had lots around the time of the final film release. They also gave us a Harry and a Ron. They really helped to create ambience.
Below you can see the Ron poster, and a big spider web with 'Aragog' in it and lots of little spiders (very realistic and VERY SCARY for me to go near!). This was just purchased from a cheap discount store around Halloween time.
Below is a Quidditch pitch made from a green tablecloth and masking tape. We used this in a game which I'll explain later.
We called this area of the room shown below 'The Library'. On this table we had every book JK Rowling has ever published and all of the films.
Below is our Lounge room, which we made into the Gryffindor Common Room. We threw blankets and pillows over all of the couches, and put beanbags over the floor. Also you can see the Harry poster we borrowed. On the ground below him is the Harry Potter version of Cluedo we own. On the TV we played the movies throughout the night. You can see some more Hogwarts related soft toys placed around the room.
The below photo is of our Divination section of the room. We put tea cups with tea leaves in them, tarot cards, incense, goblets, a magic 8 ball, a book of quotes, and more soft toys.
The below picture of our kitchen leads on to the food section...
Here is our take on 'Honeydukes' sweet shop in Hogsmeade. This is what we created and the magical names we assigned everything (look closely at everything in the picture):
Butterbeer Jar - We made this with Creamy Soda and I discovered if I put some Werther's Original Butterscotch flavoured lollies into it it frothed up a lot and got creamier. You could always add alcohol to it, or Butterscotch liquor but we wanted an alcohol free version.
Quaffles, Bludgers and Snitches - We used Red (milk), Black (dark) and Gold (white) Lindt balls for this.
Acid Pops - Sherbet Lollipops
Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans - Jelly Bellys in various flavours
Basilisks - Snakes and Sour Worms
Rainbow Pop Rocks - Nerds of every colour
Fizzing Sherbets - Flying Saucer sweets with sherbet centres
Spiders in Spiderweb - We made chocolate spiders and placed them on colourful fairy floss
Comet Cakes - Made from a special Harry Potter cake mix pack. They had blue icing with little stars and patterns on them.
Gringotts Bank: Galleons, Sickles and Knuts - Gold chocolate coins all placed in an open wooden treasure chest
Magic Wands - Chocolate wafer sticks
For the sit down dinner we served:
Gillyweed Quiche - Spinich and Ricotta Quiche
Merpeople Cuisine - Bacon and Cheese Quiche
Herbology Plants - Salads
Frozen Potions - The ice cream cake we served
We also called all soft drinks served one of these names: Polyjuice Potion or Liquid Luck.
Games/Storyline for the evening:
When everyone arrived for the party, and after surprising/scaring my sister, I got everyone to sit down and begin the first game...
Game 1: The Sorting Ceremony
I made everyone a little loot bag with the Harry Potter emblem and their name on the front. I also made some little Harry Potter house badges (printed and laminated) and placed them in an upside down witches hat. I got everyone to pull a badge out of the hat, and whatever they received was the house they were sorted into. I also made laminated bookmarks with each house description on them to give to everyone once they had been sorted into their house.
After the sorting there were about 3 people in each house, and these formed the teams for the night. Each game would give the players the opportunity to win house points. I drew up this House Points board to keep track throughout the night.
Prize: Badge, bookmark and loot bags (everyone gets them).
Game 2: Golden Snitch Seek
We purchased some lemon lollies that looked like snitches, and hid them around the house. Everyone goes on a hunt to find them, and then at the end the amount each person collected for their house is summed. The house with the most wins. We gave points to 2nd, 3rd etc, just lesser amounts.
Prize: Lollies found (everyone gets some).
Game 3: Bertie Bott's Bingo
From a game Mum created for us as kids, we had laminated cards with a list of crazy Bertie Bott flavours on them. Flavours were called out until a team had a complete card and they won. We paired up with someone from a different house for this game.
Prize: A choice of wands for the winners.
Game 4: Wizard Chess Trivia
We used a Twister mat (it's the house colours!), and used some postcards of Harry Potter film scenes (free with a newspaper promotion) and got the teams to guess which film number they were from. The correct film was listed on the back of the card. If you were correct you got to move forward a circle. The game was done in house teams, and the aim was to be the first house to make their way up and back again along the Twister mat (they started at the circles on the ends length wise).
Prize: Choose one thing from selection in treasure chest (see Other Points section below).
Game 5: Magical Chocolate Frogs
Essentially Pass the Parcel to Harry Potter music with wrapped chocolate frogs in each layer. From the Quidditch card game I mentioned earlier, there were Chaser, Bludger and Seeker Cards. We hid these in the layers. We assigned the 5 Chasers with 10 points, the 3 Bludgers with -10 points, and the 2 Seekers with 20 points. So house points were awarded for the overall house team based on what cards the individual team members received.
Prize: The chocolate frogs
Game 6: Quidditch Pong
Using this table:
We played this in conjoined house teams (2 houses in a team vs the other team of 2). The aim was to stand on each end and try to get a ping pong ball (the quaffle) into any of the three coloured cups (goals) at each end. You get three chances each round, and recieve 10 points if you get a ball in (need 60 to win game). After each team member has had a chance to throw the ping pong ball, they elect a Seeker who stands 3m away and tries to throw the snitch into the big vase in the middle. You receive 50 points if you get the snitch in, and the game ends.
Prize: Winning team gets Lindt Balls (mentioned above in sweets section)
Game 7: Spell Sort
From another game Mum made for us as kids, we had a list of spells and what they do all jumbled up. Everyone paired up with someone from a different house. You had two minutes to place the correct spell with what it achieves. The team with the most correct wins.
Prize: Choose one thing from selection in treasure chest (see Other Points section below)
After all of the games, we then added up all the house points and determined a winner! The winning team all received a little trophy with the words 'Hogwarts House Champion'.
- We used party poppers to add to the surprise element when my sister arrived
- Everyone was dressed as a character. For my sister I bought her a Harry Potter t-shirt and Liquid Luck necklace, and laid out an outfit for her to put on when she arrived.
- I tried to buy the Harry Potter Scene It DVD game but didn't have time. I think it would make a great addition to a party like this.
- The prize selection in treasure chest included such prizes as Harry Potter wands, pencils, notepads, stickers, magical items and lollies.
- Op shops, discount shops, novelty party stores and the internet are the best places to find all of the things I've used for this party.
- I found it fun to paint my nails Harry Potter colours! I painted all of the different house colours on different fingers (but for the life of me can't find a picture of my creation!)
So there you have it! This ended up being an enormously long post! Well done to those who read it all, or even if you skimmed parts of it :)
Have you ever thrown a Harry Potter party or wanted to? What are some other themed parties you've thrown?
Hope you enjoyed this post!