Idea No.


Harry Potter 7yr - Golden Snitch Hunt



June 2002


Erin in Ridgefield, WA  U.S.A.

June 2002 Winner

Harry Potter

Harry Potter birthday party for a 7 year old!  My son Alec celebrated his 7th birthday at Hogwarts Academy this June and everybody had a magical time!  I read ALL of your HP party ideas and gleaned most of my ideas from a mix of several posted on this site as well as other HP sites on the web.   

INVITATIONS:  First I mailed out invitations to the parents of kids--EXACTLY like the one that Harry received from Hogwarts, even made my own Hogwarts letterhead.  I left the names off, and calligraphied each name ("Dear Mr. H. Potter") and hand signed them all from Minerva McGonagal, Deputy Headmistress.  I also wrote in fancy calligraphy on front to the child, then "Bedroom at the top of the stairs" (or wherever their room is in their house)and their address and county.  The back was sealed with real wax, which most kids haven't seen at this age yet, and they thought it was very neat. I instructed the parents to put the Hogwarts letter on their child's' bed and tell them an owl brought it through their window!  Some believed this and were very thrilled, even wanted to send their RSVP back via mail but couldn't quite figure out how.  One girl told all of her friends that she has actually been accepted to Hogwarts because of our "acceptance" invitation, and she will be going this fall.  Her mom said she is going to be heartbroken when she finds out she isn't really going there to learn to become a witch! 

ARRIVAL:  We instructed the kids to arrive at Platform 9 3/4 where Hagrid (my big, bearded husband fit the bill well enough for young kids!) met them and escorted them to Hogwarts.  We have an arched entryway with columns that I strung a rope across and made a sign that said

HOGWARTS EXPRESS:  Platform 9 3/4.  Then I hung colored streamers (using the four House colors, of course) down across the rope and we told the kids they needed to take a running start and run straight through the streamers to reach their awaiting train.  Once on the other side of the streamers, they waited on our porch, which was Platform 9 3/4.  I was going to make chocolate covered pretzel rod wands, but the forecast was 97 degrees (it eventually reached 99--very hot for outdoor activities at 1pm!)  My husband suggested using frozen Popsicle's (long skinny ones like Otter pops) instead, and we had a cooler on the porch with water as well as the Popsicle's for very hot and thirsty kids (and adults too)!  They all loved the Popsicle's, esp. since they could practice their spells (which we had a print out and could remind and/or teach them of the fun ones) then eat the wands and get another.  One mom came with orange sprayed hair (as well as her daughter and son, too) and helped out as Mrs. Weasley!   We waited outside on the front porch until everyone arrived, fortunately it was only for ten minutes.  Then, my mom (Prof. McGonagall) was inside and would open the locked door to Hogwarts Great Hall only when everyone successfully said ALOHOMORA!  They enthusiastically performed the spell and all came into our large foyer where there in the center of the room sat an old, wrinkled black witch's hat atop a covered stool--the Sorting Hat!   

SORTING HAT ACTIVITY:  We had got props of HP stuff from Hollywood Video, very effective and impressive to the kids.  We had hidden a walkie talkie underneath the covered stool, and my husband was upstairs, out of sight and earshot, where he first read the sorting hat song right out of the first book.  (We tried to keep most of the party themes to the first book as some kids hadn't read any further, or had only seen the movie of Harry {Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone).  Alphabetically, Prof. McGonagall called off each name, which I had already written down traits from a house as listed in the poem, and one or two of each child's' personality traits.  My husband was really good at add-libbing the "hmms and aahhh yes, right's", as well as adding things like, "a good swimmer" (to those who took swimming lessons with our son) and "a great baseball player" (to those who played baseball with our son) and so on.  After each child got sorted into a "house" we all cheered and my mom (Prof Mc) tied a black cape with their house color tie around their neck.  She sewed 13 capes for our party!!  The first years loved this activity best out of everything, even though it took awhile to wait for everyone's turn, they were so patient!   

FLYING LESSONS/BROOMSTICK RELAY:  Then we moved onto flying lessons, led by myself--Madame Hooch!  I spray painted four broomsticks gold and wrote with black permanent marker a name on each:  Cleansweep, Firebolt, Nimbus and Comet.  (Everyone wanted to fly on the Firebolt!) Then the four houses got into four rows and had a chance to command their brooms "UP!" then ran broomstick relay races.  The kids looked great in their matching black wizard/witch capes, "flying" across out front lawn! 

GOLDEN SNITCH HUNT:  Afterwards, Hagrid led the First Years through our little stand of eight foot high trees (our "Forbidden Forest"!) into the back yard where the golden snitch was hidden among a bunch of golden wizard (chocolate) coins.  I had spray painted a small Styrofoam ball gold and stuck two small pretty feathers in the sides for the snitch.  The kids found lots of candy coins but couldn't find the snitch anywhere!  Turns out since it was hidden in a tree, the wind caught the snitch and it actually did fly to a nearby field where a Ravenclaw second year found it!!  He didn't want the prize he earned as much as he wanted to keep that "very cool snitch"! (We gave it to him as a souvenir).    GIFTS:  Then we took a break from the heat and went inside where a fan cooled us all off, and opened birthday presents.  Our dog was behind a closed door near the gift unwrapping room, with a picture of Fluffy, the 3 headed dog, and a sign that said "Beware of Fluffy" taped to it.  She played her part very well, barking loudly whenever anyone got near the door!  

THREE BROOMSTICKS:  Then, the students went into our large eating nook that had a sign that said "The Three Broomsticks" and enjoyed a neat HP playing Quiddich cake and some Butterbeer (I made labels up and glued them to clear bottles of IBC Cream soda--it worked perfect!)  We also had lots of Jelly Bellies on the tables and told them they were Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, with all the gross flavors included:  vomit, grass, sardine, earwax, etc.  

WIZARD WANDS:  After cake and ice cream, we gave each student their own wand (a glittery colored pencil with house color ribbon sting pinned into the eraser--making these was easy and cheaper than buying them all wands, plus there were the four house colors this way!)   

SPELLS and INCANTATIONS CLASS:  We taught more spells and charms that they could use with their new wands.  Be sure to remind them to "swish and flick!" 

WIZARD STOMP GAME:  Then, back outside for a balloon stomping game.  Everyone got a small inflated balloon tied onto one ankle.  We encouraged them to use spells on each other while playing this game! They were instructed to try to pop others' balloons while keeping their own from being popped. Once they popped a balloon, they got to keep the magical wizard coin inside and step off the patio playing area.  The last wizard remaining with his balloon unpopped won a prize--a pretty wand filled with glittery gel.   PETRIFICUS, MOBILUS!  We still had extra time before parents were coming to pick up kids, so we played the wizard version of Red Light, Green Light.  The first years enjoyed this impromptu game (the only one without a prize) as much as all the others. 

GOODIE BAGS:  For bags, I just decorated plain gold and silver bags with their name in calligraphy and some stickers.  Inside, I placed a photocopy (from a coloring book) of their house badge, and wrote their name and personality traits in calligraphy around the outside.  They put in their wizard wand pencils, gold candy coins and play money coins (collected from the snitch hunt and wizard stomp game--I had extras on hand for those who didn't win one), stickers and a special "Dementor Relief" candy bar.  I just took off the Kit Kat wrapper and put a computer made cover over the silver foil bar.  And, of course the black capes were theirs to keep too!  A lot of planning and set up, but it was by far the best (and most elaborate) party our son has ever had (or been to!)  The adults helping out were all lovers of the Harry Potter series, so it was fun for us to play along as well!

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