Harry Potter Party -9yr- Time Travel Adventure
Sarah in Wooster, OH U.S.A.
September 2014 Winner
INVITATIONS: We used snowy owl balloons to deliver Hogwarts Acceptance Letters to the doorsteps of our guests. The balloons were weighted with goody bags full of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and Hogwarts Express tickets. We invited the guests to attend classes and a Great Feast at Hogwarts. We explained that the Hogwarts Express would be enchanted to look like their Muggle cars and the candy was a complimentary treat from the witch's trolley for them to enjoy on the ride. The invitations were printed on antique parchment paper and tied into a scroll at the owl's feet.
DECORATIONS: We disguised the front door as a castle entrance. With invisible string we hung floating candles and glow-in-the-dark stars over the feast area. We set out colorful potion bottles, broomsticks, cauldrons, candles, spell books, and mythical beast figurines and stuffed animals. We made a divination tent with a canopy (usually used for outdoor shade) draped with lace curtains and strings of lights. The Honeydukes table was decorated in pink and green streamers.
COSTUMES: My family dressed up as the Hogwarts Professors. My teenage son was our dementor. Upon arrival, the guests chose robes from Madam Malkin's store. I cleared out a walk-in closet to be the shop. They received wands next in a wand choosing ceremony. I used a cup with a secret light up button on the bottom and let the kids try out the wands. If the cup flashed lights it meant the wand "chose" them. The Sorting Hat talked to each child (through a cell phone on speaker stuffed inside it) and placed them in houses. They received house badges for their robes and cloth wizard party hats.
Activities/Games: The students were given class schedules and class supplies (Hogwarts journals with feather quill pens and invisible ink uv light pens). Professor Lupin started teaching the Patronus charm in Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Professor Trelawny interrupted class with a message that Snape wanted to see Lupin right away because of the full moon. Lupin acted suddenly ill and had Trelawny take over his class. She helped the children discover their Patronus's with her crystal ball. A dementor appeared and the students used the charm to ward him off.
Next, in Transfiguration, Professor McGonagall instructed the children to transfigure balls of glow-in-the dark polymer clay into sculptures of their Patronus's so their protectors could guard their dreams at night. On the way to Potions, the class schedule got "interrupted" with an emergency. Professor Dumbledore explained what had happened. He said that Peter Pettigrew had snuck onto Hogwarts ground and had stolen a whole nest of Nargle Eggs from Hagrid's Menagerie of Magical creatures to feed to Voldemort's snake! Hagrid's other pets tried to chase Pettigrew, but he used a blasting curse against them, scattering them everywhere, and then he transformed into a rat and escaped. Dumbledore implored the students to be brave and go back in time to capture Pettigrew and save the Nargles and the magical creatures. They were given time turners for this special mission (we'd bought them in a variety of colors).
Snape had them make color-changing courage potion, and the color the potion turned for each child determined which time turner chose which student. Our potion required hippogriff sweat (sprite) a dash of exploding griffin eyelashes (pop rocks) powdered lionfish spines (clear kool aid powder) and acromantula venom (white cranberry juice). These were mixed into cups with drops of food coloring on the bottom (dried in advance and hidden with ice). The students sipped their potions. Snape tested the effect by telling them the secret that Professor Lupin is really a werewolf and that he had never made it in to see him for his wolfsbane potion, so he was dangerous that night.
The students were brave and set their time-turners back three turns (per my request they took me with them). While the students were making the potion, the other classrooms had been set back to the way they were before they arrived at the party. I filed the students through those rooms and they noticed their Patronus's had turned back into balls of clay, their notebooks had gone blank, etc. (of course I just used extra props). I took them out the back door. We had the back yard fairly well lit but also gave out little lanterns. The students had a list and worked as a group to gather owls, cats, pygmy puffs, dragons, and Nargle eggs. They were also competing to see who could find the rat and turn him over to the dementor. Soon they heard themselves in Defense Against the Dark Arts, shouting "Expecto Patronum!" (We'd audio-taped the class and fed the recording out the window). The students eavesdropped on their "other selves" for awhile but we didn't let them back inside to catch themselves!
They heard the part of the recording where Lupin excused himself from class, and a few minutes later Lupin (redressed as a werewolf) came out to cause mayhem. The students had fun thinking up spells to use against him, like the tickling curse. Once all the creatures and Nargle eggs were gathered I took the group around to the front door. I pretended to check to make sure their other selves had already left before letting them inside. They saw that their classrooms had gone back to the way they were before they went back in time. Their adventure of being two places at once had been a success!
Classes resumed for Care of Magical Creatures. Hagrid divided the Nargle eggs evenly among the students. (They were water balloon size painted paper mache eggs filled with adorable plush baby monsters and confetti.) The students gently hatched the eggs and then made nurseries with beds and blankets for the Nargles using boxes, colorful felt, faux fur, scraps of cloth and pieces of the Nargle shells. They put pieces of faux mistletoe inside for the Nargles to enjoy. Professor Trelawny hosted Divination as the last class of the day, with amusing tea reading and crystal ball predictions about what the Nargles would get up to in the future. We dimmed the lights while inside the whimsical canopy and had a bunch of floor pillows inside for comfort. Trelawny used a plasma nebula energy ball for this class and let the children take turns with it. Dumbledore then gathered everyone for the celebratory feast.
PARTY SNACKS: We served Black Lake tuna sandwiches, Troll Eyes (meatballs with a round slice of cheese and a slice of olive on top), Hippogriff eggs (deviled eggs), Star Wands (rainbow fruit kabobs with star-shaped pineapple chunks on top), polyjuice potion (bean dip) with dragon scales (tortilla chips) and herbology roots (veggies). The beverage table was set up with butterbeer, pumpkin juice, and make-your-own potion ingredients of dragon blood (cranberry juice), bat spleens (fruit gushers), mermaid tears (lemonade) powdered root of asphodel (crystal light powder), pond slime (smashed kiwi), baneberries (blackberries), Star Dew (honey) and dragon heart strings (red licorice straws). The kids improvised a contest for the best-tasting potion. During the feast, Dumbledore awarded the brave students house points and gold galleons, and the wizard who found the rat received an extra galleon. The Honeydukes table featured pumpkin pasties, licorice wands, chocolate frogs, snitch truffles, sugar quills, acid pops, fizzing whizbees, dementor-recovery chocolate, Droobles best blowing gum and Dumbledore's lemon drops.
CAKE: I made Pygmy Puff Pasties and Hagrid Cake (a replica of the cake Hagrid made for Harry but with my birthday girl's name). For Pygmy Puffs, I made round cake balls, covered them in marshmallow and coconut shavings, and sprayed some pink and some purple with food color mist. I used gumballs for eyes, good n' plenty for noses, pointy ears made from fruit leather, and gushers for feet.
Favors: The wizards went home with their robes, wands, Hogwarts journals, feather quills, invisible ink pens, time turners, Nargles and their nurseries, gold galleons, and glow-in-the-dark Patronus's. They got to stuff their cloth wizard hats full of the sweets from the Honeyduke's table. Nobody wanted to leave but on the way out, Hagrid gave them goody bags for their own magical creatures waiting to welcome them home. The pet treats and toys were put in starry cello bags, tied with ribbons, and labeled in Harry Potter font as containing Hagrid's special recipe treats for your beloved canine (or beloved feline) friend or feathered friend for one guest who owns a bird. I couldn't have pulled this magical party off alone and am so grateful for the help of my family!