Harry Potter 8yr - School of Witchcraft
Heather in Libertyville, IL USA
January 2009 Winner
My son, Austin decided he wanted a Harry Potter party for his eighth birthday. I got a lot of ideas from this site as well as came up with some of my own ideas.
INVITATIONS: I used brown paper and designed them in power point. I was able to get the Hogwarts seal and the seal of the four houses from the Internet. I watermarked the Hogwarts seal as the background for the letter. At the top I created letterhead with the Hogwarts seal and in large letters across the top Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along the bottom in color were the four seals of each house: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin and Ravenclaw. The wording of the invitation read: Dear (boy's name), We are pleased to inform you that you have been invited to Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for special mid-term classes in honor of Head Boy Austin's 8th birthday. Your class schedule will include orientation and matriculation, transfiguration, potions and herbology, care of magical creatures, divination, and defense against the dark arts.
There will also be a special birthday feast featuring treats from Three Broomsticks and Honeyduke's Sweet Shop in Hogsmeade. Classes will begin at the stroke of 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, September 16. Shopping at Zonko's Joke Shop will conclude classes at 6:00 in the evening. Please take the Hogwarts Express train to Hogwarts Academy currently disguised as the Muggle home at (my address). There you will find the magical door visible only to Hogwarts students friends and families. The password is flibbertigibblet. The surrounding area is well-protected by Memory Charms, so it will be safe to practice magic indoors and outdoors weather permitting. Please respond by OWL to (my e-mail) or Muggle telephone system (my phone number) with a yes or no response. We look forward to your arrival at Hogwarts. Sincerely, (my name) Deputy Headmistress of Frolic and Feasts, Hogwarts Academy. It was great as many of the kids came with the password and said it as we opened the door.
COSTUMES: I engaged my mother and father as professors. My father was Professor Dumbledore and he wore a black robe that he had from his job as a clergyman, a grey beard and moustache and a tall pointy magician's hat. My mother was Professor McGonegal and she wore a navy blue magician's costume that went with the hat. They were both introduced to the boys as they arrived.
ACTIVITIES: 1) As the boys arrived, they were welcomed into the great hall (family room) and were given the opportunity to try Bertie Bott's every flavor bean. These are really jelly bellies with unusual flavors such as grass, sausage, and pepper. I would pass one flavor around in a bowl and give the boys an opportunity to try each flavor. Some of the boys were really adventuresome and some just laughed at the different flavors. This was a great opening activity as we waited for everyone to arrive.
2) I had a sorting hat (from Birthday Express) on a small table in the great hall with a cell phone underneath it. I explained to the boys that the first thing we needed to do was assign them to a house. One by one, I called the boys up to the sorting hat, and my husband who was upstairs on another phone asked the boys their name and read some of the sorting hat rhyme and then assigned them to a house. The whole time the boys were trying to figure out how the sorting hat was talking. When the boys were assigned to a house they received a pre-printed nametag with their house crest and their name. We had approximately 15 boys and we assigned them to Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw. My son said no one would want to be in Slytherin.
3) Next I gave each of them a plastic three ring binder, which was the color of their house, red for Gryffindor, yellow for Hufflepuff and blue for Ravenclaw. I explained the notebooks to the boys as follows: inside the notebook is a class schedule listing all of your Hogwarts classes. Each house has a different class schedule so you will need to read your schedule to know where to go next. Right now you are in orientation and matriculation. For each class you complete you will get a special sticker (Each sticker followed the theme of the class). If you complete all the classes you will get a special graduation sticker and your magic wand. There was a section in the notebook for each class with an explanation of what each class was and pictures that represented that class. I also included Harry Potter coloring pages, word searches and cross word puzzles.
4) I then gave the boys bowls of stick-on foam stickers of dragons, and signs (beware, keep out) and plastic bags with foam letters spelling their name and stickers with their house crest and Hogwarts crest printed on it. They used these to decorate the outside of their notebooks. Some of the boys got really into decorating both sides of the notebook. When they were done I gave them their first sticker, for completing orientation and matriculation. It was a sticker of books representing the start of school.
5) Next all three houses went into the basement where I had hired a magician to come and perform for transfiguration class. He was very funny and wove the Harry Potter theme into his act. He showed the boys some magic tricks and gave them some trick coins and things to take home with them. After the magic show was over, he made swords for the boys out of balloons. I then gave them their second sticker which was a black cat representing magic.
6) Next the houses split up and each one went to a different class. The boys turned to their class schedule to see where to go next. Professor Dumbledore taught divination. He brought the boys into a dimly lit room (our den) that had a small table and covered chair. He had a magic eight ball. Each boy got to take turns asking a question and shaking the magic eight ball for an answer. Then I had found some information on palm reading on the Internet. He showed the boys what each of the lines on their hand stood for and pretended to read their palms. In their notebooks, was a page of information about how to read palms as well. Finally, Professor Dumbledore gave the boys a balloon and they had to sit on them to pop them. Inside the balloons were fortunes that they took turns reading and they taped them in their notebook, so they could remember them. The boys really liked this and there was a lot of discussion about whether the fortunes would really come true. At the end of this class, they received an astronomy sticker (planets, stars).
7) At the same time, Professor McGonegal was teaching (in our downstairs kitchen) a potions and herbology class. We bought a pop rocks potion for each child, which comes with a test tube to mix the pop rocks and water. Of course, it really fizzes, but you are able to drink it which the boys thought was really cool. We told them it was Felix Felicis, which their notebook explained once consumed, this potion gives the drinker a sense of confidence and a tremendous sense of opportunity, everything they try will succeed. Then they made another potion, Veritaserum. It was the baking soda and vinegar mixture that is on this Web site. We told them not to drink it, but if they put three drops on someone it was the most powerful truth serum available, all innermost secrets would be spilled. Finally, they each received a small plant to pot in a small potter. We had a huge bucket of dirt that we filled with worms. The boys took some dirt from the worm bucket and dissolved it in a little cup of water. This became worm tea. The worm tea was pored on the plants to help them grow stronger. The boys loved the worm bucket. At the completion of the class, they each received a sticker of test tubes representing the potions.
8) At the same time, I hired an animal company to come and bring reptiles and talk about their care. This was the care of magical creatures class. Luckily it was warm, so they were able to be outside in our backyard. They brought about 5 or 6 different reptiles (snacks, lizards) and the boys were able to hold them and/or touch them. They loved this and I sent each child a picture with an animal in the thank you note. After this class, they received a reptile sticker.
9) The final activity was defense against the dark arts. We had bought a dragon pinata and hung it outside on the swing set. The boys loved taking turns trying to break it with a wooden sword that my son already had. They had candy bags to put their candy in and I always leave some out to throw at the children who aren't able to get in the crowd. After this activity, they received a dragon sticker.
PARTY SNACKS: For dinner, they went to Three Broomsticks (our kitchen) where they had pizza, fruit on plastic toothpick swords, and pieces of cheese cut in the shapes of stars and moons. After dinner, they received a food sticker (hot dogs, French fries). For dessert, they went to Honey Dukes Sweet Shoppe (our deck) for Harry Potter cake and ice cream. After dessert, of course what else, they received a dessert sticker (ice cream, cake).
DECORATIONS: For each different class or location, I had made a big sign with the name of the place or class. The signs matched the pages in their notebook so they always knew what they were looking for even some of the younger boys who couldn't read. They brought their notebooks with them from place to place because they couldn't wait to get the next sticker. For the Three Broomsticks, I had children's sized tables and chairs lined up across my kitchen. They were covered with black plastic and sprinkled with silver stars and moons. Then the Harry Potter plates and cups were set at each place with silver plastic silverware. It looked very cool. There were so many things associated with each activity like the animals, we didn't really need many more decorations.
FAVORS: At the end of the party, it was time to go shopping at Zonko's joke shop (our dining room). I had a variety of magic tricks, candy (chocolate eye balls), and silly putty lined up on the dining room table. I had the boys all sit in our family room and gave them pens and magic markers to do the activities in their notebooks. One by one, I called them into the dining room, gave them a small black shopping bag and let them pick from the treats. They really liked this part, I then gave them their final stickers which were a shopping bag and a graduation diploma. Throughout the party, the boys kept asking or trying to guess what the next sticker would be. This was a huge hit. After receiving all of their stickers, they then earned their magic wand. By this time their parents had come, so after they got their magic wand, it was time to go. The boys had a great time.
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