Harry Potter -11yr- Quidditch Games
April 2016 x
Joni in Broomfield, CO, USA
My daughter is a huge Harry Potter fan so we decided a few years ago we would have a Harry Potter party the year she turned 11.
For the INVITATION, we printed an official-looking Hogwarts acceptance letter on parchment paper with green ink in a wizard font (free download LUMOS worked best on my Mac) signed by Professor McGonagall: We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A special pre-term birthday celebration will be held from 5 until 8 in the evening on the 2nd of April in honor of our newest witch (birthday girl's name). Transportation to Hogwarts will depart from King’s Cross Station (our address) Platform 9 ¾. Proper school attire should be appropriate for indoor or outdoor wizardry classes. Wizard’s or witch’s work robes and hats are optional; muggle dress will be allowed. We await your owl or if necessary you may RSVP by muggle telephone/text (my phone number)" We sealed the letters with wood cut-out owls I found at Michael's for an authentic "owl delivery."
DECORATIONS: We posted a Hogwart's Express Platform 9 3/4 sign made from red posterboard and a Hogwarts crest on the bricks outside our front door. We raided our Halloween boxes for Cauldrons spiders Skulls Potions bottles broomsticks and anything that looked wizard-like. We had a stool with an amazing Sorting Hat my friend made from a witch hat and paper maché sitting on it. On the same wall we hung a Hogwarts banner and a knight's shield and armor from our costume box.
We bought 4 plastic tablecloths from the $ store and cut one fourth of each of them to make house banners--Hufflepuff (yellow) Gryffindor (red) Ravenclaw (blue) and Slytherin (green) taping a house crest onto each banner. Inexpensive easy and looked great! We continued the house colors theme with streamers in the entry great hall and kitchen (one set each of blue/white (couldn't find silve or gray) black/yellow green/white and red/yellow.
One of my favorite decorations was our Hogwart's Inquisitor signs on the stair wall (from the 5th movie). We made frames with brown construction paper then made original signs to look like the ones from the movie e.g. "By order of the High Inquisitor students gathering in groups of 3 or more will be asked to eat cake" and "Whenever you see the witch (birthday girl's name) you must wish her Happy Birthday." These looked fantastic! In the living room next to the entrance we set up a lighted deer (Christmas lawn decoration) as Harry's stag patronus.
We decorated the great hall table with numerous candles fancy platters gold plastic goblets with jewels (I bought at oriental trading co. years ago) gold chargers and paper goods in the house colors. We also had a table with jars of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (jelly bellies) and Licorice Wands and a cauldron full of mini yellow cupcakes labeled "Cauldron Cakes."
We decorated the kitchen/craft table with a cauldron holding craft supplies and mini bird cages for a later craft and we played music from the Harry Potter soundtracks.
ACTIVITIES: I greeted the guests as they arrived dressed as Professor McGonagall. Many of the guests also wore Hogwarts robes and some even brought wands and brooms. My older daughter spent several hours making wands from chopsticks beads hot glue and paint--they looked fantastic! She dressed up as Ollivander and had each child try to cast a spell with a couple wands. When they held the correct wand another daughter in the room next door would start playing magical music.
Sorting came next. The birthday girl went first then I called the others in alphabetical order with a parchment scroll à la Prof McGonagall in the movies. I told them the sorting hat would take their wishes into consideration so most of them whispered their desired house as they came up. Even with letting them choose we ended up with a pretty even number in each house. They sat on the stool and I placed the sorting hat on their head saying things like "very brave" or "this one is loyal" before shouting out their house. Once they were sorted they each received a gift bag in their house color and we went to the kitchen to decorate them with markers house crests and characteristics of their house--these became our party bags to take home the crafts and favors.
While the kids decorated we finished preparing the feast. I wanted it to be like a real Hogwarts feast so we served chicken drumsticks Ollivander's finest edible wands (bread sticks) corn on the cob and grapes (dragon eyeballs) on big platters in the center of the table. We also found a simple recipe for butter beer to serve in the golden goblets--it was a big hit! Before the feast began Professor Dumbledore (my husband in his graduation robe and long white beard and wig) gave the start of term speech.
Now it was time for CLASSES:
Care of Magical Creatures - We made owls from small pinecones cotton balls feathers pipe cleaners and felt. I found mini birdcages in the Michael's dollar section and the kids had a blast creating their own magical creatures. They each turned out unique and adorable!
Charms - First we learned "Wingardium Leviosa." We had two adult helpers hold a hairdryer pointing straight up with a ping pong ball sitting on top. We taught the girls how to wave their wands then in pairs they practiced casting the spell. When they got it right we turned on the hair dryers and the ping pong balls levitated in the air until they ended the spell! Next they learned the summoning charm Accio. Once they had practiced they each took turns casting the spell and my daughter hid behind the sofa and tossed them a pair of Harry Potter earrings we found at Hot Topic.
Quidditch Tryouts - I told the kids each of the houses needed new quidditch players in the fall and wanted to get a look at the new students' skills.
Quidditch Relay: We lined up in two lines (Gryffindor/Slytherin; Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff). Each team sent one person at a time to "fly" on their broomstick carrying a quaffle (playground ball) toward the far end of the pitch. On the way we had helpers throwing bludgers (small soft balls) at them. If they were hit they were supposed to stop and throw the bludger back. At the far end an adult held a hula hoop to each side. The kids had to throw the quaffle through their hula hoop retrieve the quaffle fly back quickly to their team and pass off the broom and quaffle to the next child. This game was a big hit!
Snitch Relay: For seeker tryouts we switched teams and had the girls line up in the entrance hall. In another room an adult hid 2 "golden snitches" (yellow plastic easter eggs filled with gummy snakes and closed with 2 yellow feathers sticking out the sides). The teams each sent one player at a time to find a snitch then we had a short delay while we hid the next two snitches. The team who finished first most often won. While they played I took pictures of each of the girls wearing the sorting hat to send with their thank you cards.
Potions - My husband was Professor Snape and even gave the speech from his first potions class. He had a tray holding a skull and various labeled potion bottles. Using "boiled mandrake root" (elmers glue and water) and "dragon spit" (warm water mixed with borax and a little food coloring) they made "Skreet Repellent" (aka Slime). Slime recipes are easily found on the internet. The kids were amazed as the liquid ingredients combined into the elastic polymer - just like real magic!
CAKE - We took a break from classes for Pudding (also known as dessert in the U.S.). I told the kids I had run out of time and asked Hagrid to make the birthday cake. We made a round chocolate cake and decorated it with pink and green frosting like the one Hagrid made Harry in the first movie misspellings included subbing my daughter's name for Harry's. Super easy and looked authentic!
Transfiguration - Dressed as Professor McGonagall I taught this lesson with the help of Professor Snape since we would be handling dangerous chemicals. I took a random Transfiguration spell from the movies (Vera Verto) and told them we would use it to transform plastic muggle containers into wizard rockets. Wearing safety goggles the kids measured a little "gilly water" into a small plastic film canister. They then added a small piece of "boomslang skin" (alka seltzer tablet) sealed the lid tight set the container upside down on an outdoor table and stepped back to say the spell. It usually took 3-4 tries of saying the spell (123 Vera Verto) which added to the excitement when the rocket eventually took off into the sky. Definitely an outdoor activity but it was thrilling to see our wizard rockets blast 30+ feet into the air! Search film canister rockets on the web for full instructions.
Defense Against the Dark Arts - In the room with Harry's patronus I set up our four sided Light Bright toy. I separated the girls into the four House teams. They used the Light Bright to design a patronus and then we practiced casting the spell Expecto Patronum. I said it was highly unlikely we would run into any Dementors inside Hogwarts castle. Meanwhile my daughter sneakily unplugged Harry's patronus (the Christmas deer) and dressed up as a Dementor wearing all black draped in a black tablecloth and holding our skeleton hand salad tongs (Halloween decoration) under the tablecloth. She looked really creepy! She started to come into the room and the girls had to cast their spell well enough to chase her out again. Very exciting! The girls each received a chocolate bar labeled "In case of dementors open immediately!"
For our final class History of Magic we had a "Start of Term Quiz" with questions based on the Harry Potter books and movies. We knew we might run out of time so we planned this as an extra activity. We ended up sending it home in their party bags.
FAVORS - The girls took home the owls they made in their cages the dementor chocolate bars licorice wands the golden snitch they found the Harry Potter earrings from Charms class some of the slime we made (labeled Skreet Repellent) various candy that fit the theme (chocolate dragon eggs gummy snakes etc.). The party was a magical success and all of the kids felt like trained witches and wizards by the end of the night!"
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