I may be a muggle, but boy do I love me some Harry Potter. Our oldest read the entire series several years ago. John Paul just began book three and a few months ago, when he asked if we could do a Harry Potter themed birthday party, I’m pretty sure I even scared he-who-shall-not-be-named with my YES!
My Pinterest page got a workout and John Paul and I had an absolute blast putting all this together. Happy 9th birthday, John Paul!
It all started with these. At first, I cringed a bit when I mapped all the addresses and saw where we would be driving, but you know what? The benefit that I never accounted for were all the smiles we got. People don’t just “drop by” other folks’ houses anymore. So, to see the sheer joy when we pulled up with an owl and an acceptance letter from Hogwarts was priceless. I got to know some great moms a bit better, we set up a few playdates and happily drove to the next house. It may have just been my favorite part of the party planning. The supply list? White balloon, sharpie marker, twine, invitations and about 30 minutes. I freehanded the owl using one I found on Pinterest, designed the letter and signed Professor McGonagall’s name.
9 3/4 Platform
When the boys arrived, we recreated a bit of the 9 3/4 platform, along with a little broomstick parking for our Quidditch match. One of the moms painted a broom and added “Nimbus 2013″ for her son to bring. *love* For the 9-3/4 platform, I purchased some brown fabric, dipped a large sponge in red paint and got to stamping. Just make sure you put a drop cloth down before painting. Fortunately, I took that advice from several other sources. We used an inexpensive tension rod to affix the wall to the door frame. I just couldn’t bring myself to cut the sheet, so we left it as is.
We gathered the boys together for the sorting ceremony. We affixed a walkie talkie to the bottom of the stool and my husband was our “hat.” He was hilarious. The boys each received a house shirt with the applicable tie. At first, I thought I would have time to design these, but then I turned to Etsy. I printed the ties out on transfer paper using an inkjet print and then ironed them onto the shirts (just inexpensive Hanes t-shirts from Target). Lesson learned here? Use an injket printer, not a laser one. Um, yeah, I learn the hard lessons so you don’t have to y’all.
I borrowed a cauldron from a neighbor and inserted some dry ice for a little dramatic effect. The boys claimed this as one of their favorite classes. There was an awesome idea on Pinterest to put a few drops of food coloring in each cup, let it dry, then add ice. When the boys came to class, we added “hippograf saliva” (Sprite in a colored bottle) to their cups and each cup turned a different color. For a little extra, we threw in some pop rocks. Why did I underestimate the power of colored Sprite and pop rocks on nine-year-old boys? Total hit. The best part is they really thought it was a potion and it wasn’t until we told them to drink it that they hesitantly took a sip. HA! So fun and so, so cheap.
Magical Creatures Class
Boys love to run, so we gave them their chance in Magical Creatures class. Michael’s had an assortment of mini dragons and jungle animals, so we hid them throughout the backyard and then set the boys off in search of them. Lesson learned? Supervise your 3yo when he offers to help hide the creatures. That little stinker found some good places. It’s a good thing he remembered where they were hidden!
One can’t really call it a Harry Potter party with a Quidditch match, right? Oh, I wish y’all could’ve seen my oldest and I at Academy asking the store clerk, “Soooo, where’s your Quidditch aisle?” After we told him about the match, he helped us find a quaffle, two bludgers and a perfect golden snitch. We made the rules super easy (found from Flax & Twine) and the boys really did pick them up lightning fast.
1. The broom must stay between your legs at all times.
2. Pass the Quaffle from player to player. You can take no more than three steps with the ball.
3. If hit by a bludger, you must freeze for three seconds.
4. If you catch the snitch, you win.
We used two hula hoops, manned by parents as the goals for the quaffle. We teamed them up by house since we had four boys in each one. It worked beautifully and the boys had a blast. We completely lucked out with awesome, awesome February weather. 65 and sunny, no wind. Y’all do not know how much I prayed for pretty weather.
Great Hall Feast
After all that house sorting, potion making, creature hunting and quidditch playing, I had some very hungry boys on my hands. We transformed our dining room into the Great Hall. We adorned the walls with the house flags made from felt and I crafted the Happy Birthday banner by scanning in the chapter pages from book one and then adding the letters in different colors. I removed all the chairs, added the table leaf and had them all stand for dinner. It made things so much simpler.
On the menu? Butterbeer (yum-O!), Slytherin Snakes, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Ollivander’s Chocolate Wands, sandwiches, cookies and golden snitch cake balls by the fabulously talented Polkadots. I know, when I saw those snitches I may have passed out, too. The kids kept asking, “Can we eat the glitter?” And I replied, “Only if you want to see what happens after you do.” I spray painted a styrofoam ball red to act as my quaffle, cut off the bottom and then stuck all the snitches in it. Way easier than making a cake and having it fall apart! Hedwig even adorned the table.
After some feasting and happy birthday singing, we sent the troops over to the party favor table.
The boys enjoyed a little taste of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes by filling their bags with puking pastels, levitating lemon drops, pop rocks and, of course, wands. I’m only sad Fred and George weren’t on hand to pass them out.
This is always my favorite part of the party. I’ve talked about this before. If party details were a love language, then it would mostly definitely be my top one. I must say that my husband was such a trooper. Every night the week of the party, after getting the kids in bed he turned to me and said, “What do you need me to do tonight?” I love you, sweetheart. Thanks for helping make this party so special for John Paul.
My buddy Jayme, a fellow party lover, had her husband build this for her son’s circus party. I asked if we could borrow it and transform it a bit. Love the way it turned out. Oh, and those “wands” were just birch from Michael’s that my husband cut into one-foot pieces. A sidenote about that table that holds the wands and shirts. My paternal grandmother was a huge lover of books (especially all things Hogwarts) and gave us our very first Harry Potter book. In it, she penned a sweet note. When she passed away two years ago, my parents gifted us this table from her house. In a way, it felt like her spirit was there. She would’ve loved this party.
With some inexpensive yard stakes from Home Depot, a quick coat of black paint and a silver paint pen, I transformed these into directional signs with our favorite Hogwarts hotspots.
Beyond all the party details, the shimmery snitches and the empty butterbeer mugs, a big hug from the birthday boy and a, “Mom, this was the best party ever” was all my heart needed to hear. It was a fabulous day celebrating a fantastic kid. John Paul, you are loved. Happy birthday, big man.