As previously discussed, I am in love with Harry Potter- the books, not the person. You can see just a glimpse with this House Points Incentive Activity we made. But the crown jewel of all my Harry Potter Crafts and Activities is this party. For her 11th Birthday, my niece was allowed to have some friends over for a sleepover. When my sister asked her about who she wanted she said, “Can I go over to Auntie Jessica’s instead and have a Harry Potter Party?” Is that the sweetest thing you ever heard? So my sister called me to see if it was okay. I was thrilled. And got straight to work!
The master plan was that my niece’s birthday party was like an open house to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We would do an activity from most of the main Hogwarts classes, including Divination, Ancient Runes, Charms and Potions. As they went, the children would get a report card, which they could take home at the end. So the first thing I needed to do was to invite her to the Hogwarts School Open House. I know that a teacher from Hogwarts would visit Muggle parents to invite students to Hogwarts, but I thought the more traditional sending of an owl would be more exciting for her – especially since Prof. McGonagall was probably busy. I typed up a fancy letter, soaked it in tea to give it that parchment look and, after it dried, tucked it under a stuffed owl on my niece’s bedroom floor. You can see a copy of my letter here: Harry Potter Party Hogwarts Letter. One thing to note is that my niece had only read up to book three at the time, so I didn’t put in much that was past that point, and for sure didn’t put in any spoilers.
The decorations are always my favourite part. I like to start off with thinking about what I already have that can contribute to the theme. In this case I had a lot. I had Gryffindor baby blankets that I knit, my son’s Halloween costume (Draco Malfoy) from when he was 2-years-old, my deathly hallows necklace, a pen disguised as Harry’s wand, my copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Professor McGonogall Chocolate Frog card and my trunk of Harry Potter books. Of course candles and lanterns also improve the magical mood!
I made these envelopes by printing off the Hogwarts crest, cutting them out and glueing them onto envelopes. Then I addressed them to:
“Harry Potter, The Cupboard Under the Stairs, 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey”
I then suspended some from the ceiling with fishing line, stuffed some into the grill of the fireplace, and left some on the floor.
I have to show you this picture, circa 2013, because he is SO CUTE!!There’s also so much you can do just with signage. I colour printed these. and used rolled tape to stick them up.I found this Boggart sign at bethscrafts. She has tonnes of great ideas there!
I totally randomly found the Harry Potter sign in the background at Goodwill for about $1 the week before the party! I cannot for the life of me find where I got this printable S.P.E.W. sign! If someone can help me out with a link that would be awesome! I printed this S.P.E.W. sign, then soaked it in tea to make it look like parchment.
And Now it’s Decoration Craft Time!
- Wine Glasses
- A crest of each house. I printed black and white crests and coloured them myself. Then tape them on the glasses.
- Put candy in each glass. Blue for Ravenclaw, green for Slytherin, red for Gryffindor and yellow for Hufflepuff. Obviously the Gryffindors should be winning, with Slytherin as the losers!! (My opinion. Disagree? That’s what the comment section is for! But be kind! 😉)
- Toilet paper rolls (if they’re brown wrap them in white paper
- Glue battery operated tea lights into the tops
- Drip glue from a glue gun from the top down the sides to look like dripping wax.
- String them from the ceiling, or a light fixture, etc. with fishing line to make them look like floating candles.
Hogwarts Letters coming from the fireplace (or letterbox):
- Envelopes addressed to the Birthday Child, with the Hogwarts crest on the return address. Some envelopes will sit on the ground upside down. These don’t need to have the crest or be addressed.
- Soak the envelopes in tea to give them the parchment look.
- Hang them with fishing line from the ceiling, let them be falling from the fireplace, with some on the ground too.
And of course you’ll need to decorate the bathroom, which plays a surprisingly important role! I tried to make it like in The Chamber of Secrets by putting Moaning Myrtle in the toilet, hanging a stuffed cat from the towel rack with “The chamber of secrets has been opened” written on the mirror in red lipstick. If you want the tutorial for that Gilt Picture Frame, here it is!😉
Of course the first thing you need to do when attending Hogwarts is get sorted into your new house. I made a Hogwarts Sorting Hat out of cardboard, brown ribbon and a brown shirt. I’ll put up a proper tutorial soon, because I was shocked at how well it turned out. We sat in the living room and I read the Sorting Hat’s first song to the kids, while wiggling the hat around as if it were saying it.
Then I put the hat on each child’s head and they pulled a piece of paper out of a glass. There were many papers in the glass. Each one said a different word: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. Whichever house they pulled out was the house they were sorted into. However, they insisted on pulling a new one out until they got the house they wanted!
As I mentioned before we spent the afternoon and evening doing a sampling of each class. I provided my niece and my son with report cards, and of course they were graded with O.W.L. grades. You can see my Harry Potter Report Card here. (This won’t rotate! 😫 Sorry!)
We started with Divination because it was tea time. I decided to do tea leaf reading because I had extra loose leaf and it seemed simple and fun. I began by reminding my niece and my children that the Bible says that divination is not okay (Leviticus 19:26), and that we aren’t supposed to do it in real life. This activity is just for fun, and we do not expect to actually learn the future from it. Then we poured the tea, drank the tea, turned our cups upside-down in our saucers and pulled up tea leaf reading images on Google. It was a lot of fun- though very difficult- to see pictures in the leaves. This is also when we had Hagrid’s birthday cake. Mmmm!
We made slime for our potion which was a huge hit. We used a recipe that included borax. This recipe had no ill effects, except that now I have huge container of borax with no use for it…except maybe 100 more batches of slime.
We had our telescope set up in the backyard, but it ended up being cloudy, so we didn’t actually get to do it. It was a bit disappointing, but we had so much planned that it didn’t seem to have an adverse effect. We just signed the report card and moved onto the next activity.
For Charms we made wands out of chopsticks. It was awesome!
- Use hot glue to make designs on the chop stick. Let dry.
- Insert Unicorn Hair, Dragon Heart String, Phoenix Feather, or any other magical element, such as Hair of a Veela-kidding. We’re Muggles, am I right?
- Spray paint brown.
The Study of Ancient Runes:
I found a rune chart on Google Images and made a code for my niece to solve. It led her to her present. You can check it out here: Harry Potter Ancient Runes.
History of Magic:
After dinner, and after the littlest ones went to bed, we watched the beginning of Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone. It was so cute, they held their new little wands while watching with their house point candy, popcorn and juice.
Now there is A LOT you can do with Harry Potter and food, but I completely did not meet the mark here! We set the table all fancy, letting the kids use wine glasses, multiple plates and cutlery, and we turned down the lights, but we had store bought pot pie and tourtiere. BUT it was delicious and really enabled me to focus on the activities. I think for our party it was the perfect choice, but if you’re into cooking and have lots of time there are SO MANY great ideas out there!