Hello everybody! Sorry for my mini Haitus, I was busy planning a huge party…My little sister just turned twelve, and so of course, a Harry Potter Party was in order. After creating a large Pinterest board, DIYing and buying decorations, creating a lot of food, and organizing some activities, I am positive we threw the Ultimate Harry Potter Party.
We split the party-goers into the four houses, each adult was a head of house, and held a house-cup. All the different activities we did gave the houses a certain amount of points, and the house cup went to the house with the most points. Even kids who weren’t Harry Potter Fans became competitive and determined to win!
The party starts at the beginning of the book: We visit Harry’s bedroom.
If you have a ‘cupboard under the stairs’ like we do, this one’s easy: Just throw in a sleeping bag and a pillow. A little work for a lot of delight.
Now, it’s time to collect some supplies for Hogwarts!
The Leaky Cauldron
I bought white balloons and drew owl designs on them. (Sharpies worked just fine.) Then, I attached the front of Harry’s letter to the ribbon that was tied to the balloon. Just one piece of paper was light enough that the balloon would still float.
The Howler and the Wanted Poster both came from a book about the film production of Harry Potter that I already owned.
Here’s the Leaky Cauldron’s table! There are a bunch of Wizard world newspapers that I printed out, and I pulled out some Quill pens so that the guests could leave messages for the Birthday Girl.
You can’t be a wizard/witch without a wand! I bought twelve glasses/wands here, set a table and chair up, and it turned into a Mini Ollivanders.
Flourish and Blotts
The best place to buy all your books, obviously. I just put out all my favorite Harry Potter related books, and soon enough, a mini book store was created. (It should be noted that I would not let any of the children buy the books because I could NEVER part with my darlings.)
Free invisibility cloaks! I used glue dots to secure some hangers for this little joke.
It’s not the wizarding world without some owls. This shop was so cute, filled with stuffed animals! The perfect place to find a companion.
Platform 9 3/4
Pack your trunks! After collecting all your supplies, it’s time to head to Hogwarts.
I have finally fulfilled a dream of going through platform 9 3/4! I bought brick wall paper, cut it so we could have two even halves, hung it draped over a curtain rod between two walls so the brick was on both sides, and pasted the “9 3/4” label on. Everyone had a great time running through.
The Whomping Willow
As the kids ‘arrived at Hogwarts,’ they saw the Whomping Willow! Or, rather, they saw crumpled brown paper strategically taped with some green leaves, masterfully twisted and manipulated to resemble a tree. This is probably the decoration that took the most work. It wasn’t expensive, but it took some time to hang everything just right. And yes, that is a little dragon you see perched up there. 😉
This is one of my favorite decorations! We used red paint to mimic blood, wrote with it on clear, plastic, wrap, and hung it up with tape. It was all of the spook without any of the mess!
Luckily, no one attempted to flush themselves down our toilet.
It’s not a party until Moaning Myrtle shows up.
The Restricted Section, the Staircase, & the Gryffindor Common Room
We closed off rooms we didn’t want the kids to go into with a “Restricted Section” sign. (Of course, that never did stop Harry Potter.)
We bought some ‘Castle Wall stickers’ to decorate the stairway with. Careful! The stairs like to change.
Little touches like these help to sell the party. Lumos and Nox was above every light switch.
Did you forget the password again Neville? The entrance to the Gryffindor common room was easy to recreate by printing The Fat Lady and “Password?” out in a Harry Potter esque font.
The Great Hall
Welcome to the great hall! This was the kid’s favorite room, probably because it was where all the food was…
This scoreboard was made with a lot of construction paper, House Symbol printables, and “Score” sheets. It helped us track who was in the lead for the house cup!
I tried to recreate the scene where Harry gets all those letters by hanging envelopes with his address from the chandelier using string.
Here are all the ‘Golden Snitches’ displayed. Find out how to make those in the food section.
Here’s another view of the Great Hall! The poster was bought online.
I tried to give all the food a Wizarding twist, and it became what might be known as a “sugar overload.” Whoops. (All the labels are mini chalkboards)
Bertie Bott’s (Jellybeans)
I used normal Jelly Beans, as they were much cheaper than the actual Bertie Botts (and also because I didn’t want the kids to go home and tell their parents that their friend’s sister tried to feed them booger/vomit/grass flavored food….)
Owl Droppings (Malt Balls)
Although initially everyone was a little disgusted, this one got a lot of giggles!
Dementor Kisses (Hershey Kisses)
The sweetest soul-sucking kiss you’ll ever get.
We had to show our Hufflepuffs some love! We also had Pizza Puffs, but those were eaten before I could even take a picture.
Homemade Chocolate Frogs
These were a huge hit! I put a couple out for the party, and we sent each kid home with one as a party favor. We made these with a mold, and used a knife to cut away at the edges so they’d be perfect.
Dragon Scales (Blue Corn Chips)
Hagrid would be horrified.
Golden Snitches (Ferrero Chocolate)
These were easy to make and looked great. Just glue some wings to Ferrero Chocolate (We used glue dots), and you have a set of snitches. Be sure to catch them before they disappear!
Yum! We made our butterbeer using recipe #5 found here. It was the simplest and cheapest way to make it, and it still tasted delicious. Our Butter beer was served cool, which was refreshing after playing Quidditch.
Emergency Dementor Chocolate
Using the printable found here, some Hershey bars were turned into emergency chocolate in case of dementor attack! Although none of Azkaban’s guards turned up at the party, the bars were devoured.
Broomsticks (Cheese and Pretzels)
These brooms were made with pretzel sticks and frayed cheese sticks. They were a nice break from the WATERFALL OF SUGAR that the kids had already had.
This was the longest activity at the party, and it was the perfect way to get the kids to go around the house and see all the decorations. I also had them make mini-films, so they could have fun all together. We watched their videos while eating the food!
I gave out points for finishing first, for having all the items, and for how cool the videos they made were.
I bought a pack of white socks for this “Dobby Homage,” but as I was putting it up, I realized it might be fun to let the kids decorate them. I gave them each a sock, some markers, and let them go wild making art. Afterwards, my dad (while doing a solid Snape impression) judged all the socks and gave out house points to his favorites.
Pin the Scar
A note to the wise: Play this BEFORE you give the kids cake! We tried to play this after desert, and when I told them that I’d be spinning them so that they wouldn’t know what direction they were in, and at least four girls told me flatly that they would puke. Whoops.
Although my game didn’t include any spinning, it was still so fun- everyone got pretty competitive about who could pin their scar (which was created by printing out a clip art scar and writing the girl’s name on it) closest to Harry’s actual scar. I couldn’t find a poster of Harry that I liked, so I just drew one myself. I’m certainly no artist, but it was pretty easy to create a semi-recognizable Harry.
This was DEFINITELY the favorite activity. We had great weather the day of the party, so we were able to go outside to play. The Quidditch hoops were created with Hula Hoops and a whole lot of tape, and we used only three hoops for Half-court quidditch. Here is our version of how to play Quidditch, courtesy of my dad:
Parkin DeRosa House Rules of Half-Court Quidditch
Each team has four players, with one designated the Seeker (adjust to taste/size of yard). All players play offense when they have the quaffle (any plastic or plush-type ball bigger than a baseball and smaller than a basketball) and defense when they don’t.
Offensive team gets one point for any shot through a goal. Defensive team gets quaffle after allowing a goal, or intercepting the quaffle, starting at the back of the half-pitch. A team earns two points for capturing the golden snitch (see below). The first team to five points wins.
To move, must hold one arm in “broom ahead” position (i.e., straight out, in the direction of movement).
Players may catch or throw balls (quaffle or bludger) with the non-broom hand. Use of two hands on a ball equates to falling from the broom, and player must give up the ball, tag up and the back of the half-pitch before flying back into action.
Defensive team may use the bludger (plastic ball larger than basketball, such a beachball) to confound the offense by 1) hurling it directly at offensive player, 2) hurling it at the quaffle in flight, or 3) holding it aloft to block a shot or pass.
The referee has the golden snitch in pocket. When one team is ahead 3-0, or either team scores a 4th point overall, the referee takes a position on the periphery of the action, as equidistant from the opposing seekers as possible, holds the snitch up, and announces that it is in play, and then runs madly about to evade the seekers. The first seeker to tag the referee gets the snitch, which is worth two points.
This was a simple activity, but the kids had a lot of fun: Using only your wand, keep your balloon up. If you use your hands, head, or other body part, or if the balloon fell on the floor, you were out. It turns out everyone was really good at this, so I made it more challenging, shouting out that they had to jump on one foot or walk in circles. Finally, when there were only two kids left, we called it a tie.
Then, it was the end of the party. Ravenclaw won the house cup (WHOOP WHOOP) and everyone had a great time.