Harry Potter -10yr- Theatre Party
Lisa in Atlanta, GA USA
Sophie's 10th Harry Potter Birthday Party - This was the big week of SNOW in Atlanta. Sophie was off from school Monday through Friday - and we spent a good part of that time preparing for the big party. The party was for 25-30 kids.
INVITATION: Sophie drew a photo of herself in a Hogwarts outfit, we scanned it in and used it along with Hogwarts language inviting attendees to the first day of the new term at Hogwarts.
DECORATIONS: We run a professional theatre, so we had the theatre and two other large open rooms for activities. The theatre was the Great Hall at Hogwarts and (sort of) Diagon Alley. Room 101 was the potions room. The Rehearsal Studio was Hagrid's Hut. The lobby was where we kept drinks and food. Simple decorations - we had a banner for the Great Hall. Tables for each of the four houses - tables had plastic tablecloths the color of the house. A sign annoucing this was Hogwarts.
COSTUMES: Jeff was Jeverus Snape (Severus' brother). I was McGonagall (sort of). Sophie wore the dress she loved at Kid Gap - flowing, sparkling grey. Our friends were two wizards. The kids were encouraged to come in their favorite Hogwarts garb - and many of them came with robes and other Hogwarts items. One boy even brought a long list of spells and what they did that he had looked up and prepared! (He was active in using the spells).
ACTIVITIES: My husband Jeff built an amazing Sorting Hat. Jeff built wands for each of the kids and Sophie painted them. They were made out of old spindles from a staircase and dowls. Each individuallized. They came in a long brown bag (wine bag from local grocery store) with Ollivander's logo on them. I created an elaborate chess-like board game with challenges on the back of each square for teams to accomplish. I created potions recipes and gathered potions. We had about 10 activities planned - and ended up only having time for about half! Another couple who were friends were great sports and helped out as Wizards for the day. All the kids got Harry Potter capes made out of black trash bags with the Hogwarts logo on them (printed on label paper and stuck to the bags). There were HP word games to play as kids arrived. Then everyone learned the rules of the day. You could win house points (jelly beans). Then we let kids choose their wands. I played the Wand seller at Ollivanders. We had a table with all of Jeff's wands in long paper wine bags. The kids had fun choosing and Jeff flashed the lights when they chose the right" one. (This took quite awhile with nearly 30 kids but they were into it. Then we did the Sorting. Jeff was backstage and talked into a baby monitor which came out on the other end in the hat. He knew a little about each of the 25 children - we had predetermined who would go to which "house" but he would say why they belonged there. Then we played the Challenge Human Board Game. Each house had a Head Boy/Girl - they would move on the board. This game was a lot of work to put together but turned out the kids were a little young for it. We had all 4 houses play at once - but that was too much wait time between turns. We played for about 30 minutes then moved on! Next they split in half and 2 "houses" went to Potions and 2 went to "Care of Magical Creatures". Potions was a huge hit. I had gotten a lot of common household items and pulled cool containers dishes bottles from the props loft. All of the stuff had magic potion labels (dragon blood bicorn powder etc). I had prepared potions that bubbled changed colors that had names and ways of preparing that I got from another HP party on the birthday party site. BUT - the kids immediately got in there and started mixing and had a blast. Some things fizzed and foamed some changed colors raising (bat brains) floated and fizzed. All had fun. My doctor had given me specimen jars and my neighbor had given me baby food jars - so they could take their potions home! And many did. Downstairs in the studio the kids made Can Owls in Hagrid's Hut. Sophie had seen the Owl idea on a website and adapated it to something she liked. She enjoyed teaching her craft to the group. A can with construction paper wings and face. We are still using ours for pen and pencil holders. We had planned to play Quidditch outside but there were still sheets of ice in the back lot at Horizon! (I had about 6 different types of Quidditch I found online and had adapted a version from those for us.) I had also prepared an elaborate FIND THE CREATURES outside scavenger hunt with stuffed animals turned into magical creatures. Each had points attached to it. They were going to work in teams one with the most points wins. But it was too icy out back to play the game. The Giant Chess game I made was amazing - there were squares of paper in plastic paper protectors - on one side the name and photo of a location in Hogwarts. On the other hidden side a challenge activity to do. A giant dice made of a box to roll whether to move forward back or sideways and by how many. The challenges were things the kids would do (with a few "go back" "go forward" thrown in). But there were too many kids to play it effectively (had to wait for a turn too long even in teams of 4) and these kids were too young for it - better for 12-13 year olds. It was so much work I thought about publishing it online so others could use it! The biggest hit was definitely potions - they could have stayed there for a couple of hours. Before cake we counted up who had the most house points. Hufflepuff won and everyone in that house got a special party favor.
CAKE: After all the activities we gathered for cake and ice cream and presents. I had gotten a photo of Hogwarts and then had a cake printed with the photo on it - the kids LOVED this.
PARTY SNACKS: We did a Pumpkin Juice with orange sherbert and gingerale and sprite. It was in a large cauldron like bowl. I had a lot but ran out half way through the party. I would have done dry ice to make it steam if we hadn't run out of set up time. Served it with a large ladel. I kept the snacks simple as it was an afternoon party and we had lots going on. Typical kid party food - fruit veggies trail mix individual bags of chips and cookies (to avoid lots of hands in bowls). Juice pouches sodas and water.
FAVORS: They took home their Wands capes potions and the Owl Cans. I had planned some special Gift Treat Bags for the kids but ran out of time preparing them so I decided to finish making them over the rest of the weekend and deliver them to the kids at school. Sophie and I made "chocolate frogs" out of gummy frogs dipped in melted chocolate - delicious and odd. I had about 6 different kinds of candy and made labels for them that turned them into candy items that are mentioned in the Harry Potter books. Fizzing Whizzibees (Pop rocks). Favorites were the wax bottles of candy juice. They were cheap - if I'd known how popular they would be I would have gotten lots of those. Use Brown Paper bags with handles and created a logo for the bag that I printed on paper and stuck to the bag. It was a huge amount of work but a blast. If I were advising someone to do it the hits would be potions and wands. We saved the real clean-up for the next day - a good 8 hours work of cleanup! But it was worth it - a fun and memorable party. Just have to remember to plan fewer activities - we had enough activities for 8 hours!"