Harry Potter Party 7yr - Make a Wand
Amee in Culpeper, VA, USA
November 2006 Winner
My son decided that he wanted to have a Harry Potter themed party for his 7th birthday, so I set to work finding as many ideas as I could to put this together. I got lots of great ideas from this website and combined those with some I'd gathered elsewhere and think we managed to pull of a fantastic Harry Potter party.
For invitations I purchased parchment paper and downloaded several Harry Potter (& related) fonts from websites. Then I used the following wording at the top of the paper just below a downloaded Hogwarts crest graphic: "Hogwarts School of Wiitchcraft and Wizardy, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, Order of Merlin First Class, Grand Sorcerer and Chief Warlock, Supreme Mugwump International Confederation of Wizards". Below that on the paper, was the following for the body of the invitation: "Dear (child'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 Potions, Transfiguration, Care of Magical Creatures and Charms. There will also be a special Birthday Feast in honor of Gryffindor House's newest Head Boy (birthday child's name), International Confederation of Prefects, Honorary Junior Mugwump. The birthday feast will feature treats from Honeyduke's Sweete Shoppe in Hogsmeade. Classes will begin at the stroke of 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon on (party date). Please take the Hogwarts Express train to our address, currently disguised as a Muggle (non-wizard) home at (address of the party location). 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. If you miss the Hogwarts Express and must arrive by way of Muggle vehicle (car), feel free to dress in non-wizard clothing. Gryffindor House colors of scarlet and gold are recommended, but are optional. If you are unable to respond by Owl, please reply via the Muggle telephony system at (your phone number)with a yes or no response. We look forward to your arrival at Hogwarts. Sincerely, (birthday child's parent's name),Deputy Headmistress of Frolic and Feasts, Hogwarts Academy." Each parchment paper was then folded and put in a brightly colored envelope which had the invitees name and "Master" or "Miss" before it. We decorated the envelopes with wand, castle, and crown stickers.
DECORATIONS: Luckily, my brother-in-law runs a local Parks & Rec Center where he has a huge Halloween festival each year and luckily my son's birthday falls 5 days after Halloween. So thanks to my great brother-in-law, we had loads of skeletons, ghosts, rats, snakes, witches, and more to use as decorations throughout the house and in our front yard. I also purchased several things for 50% off after Halloween at Walmart and a local fabric store which we used to decorate with. At a local consignment sale I happened to find 3 brand new Harry Potter kites which I used as decorations on the wall in one "classroom" and on our mailbox so the parents could find our house better. I also purchased 1/2 yards of red, blue and black fabric from Walmart. I downloaded the two house crests, as well as Hogwarts' and printed them on card stock which I then cut out. Using my trusty glue gun, I attached each to the appropriate color (Gryffindor got red/burgundy; Ravenclaw had navy blue; Hogwarts got black). Then I hot-glued gold trim around the edges. I taped these around the house and one of the Hogwarts ones went on the front door. I also used a lighter blue piece of fabric to make a "flag" for my mini flag holder by my front steps. Using blue foam numbers 9 3/4, I hot glued them onto the fabric and hot-glued an "edge" so I could put the banner on the pole. Then using silver glitter glue I write "Kings Crossing Station, Platform" above the numbers. My brother-in-law loaned my his two fog machines so that one was hidden out front and covered the steps as the kids came to the door and one was inside so that it covered the floor as they entered Hogwarts.
"HOUSES": Because my son invited so many friends, I divided the kids (ahead of time) into two houses -- Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. I downloaded the crests from both houses and printed them with the child's name in the Harry Potter font on white card stock. Then I cut each out and as the kids arrived, each got their name tag and was thus "divided" into the two houses (this helped avoid my son having to pick which friends were able to be with him in Gryffindor).
ROBES: I wanted each child to have a black robe to wear for the party but since they are expensive, I purchased the genuine HP robes for my son & daughter and two nephews and then purchased packs of men's X-large black pocket t-shirts at Walmart. They came in a 5-pack for $9.92. Then I cut each shirt up the middle. When the kids arrived I then gave them their official HP robe (they loved these) and put their house nametag on their robes making it look very official.
THE PARTY BEGINS/CRAFTS: While we waited for all the kids to arrive, I ushered the kids in to Diagon Alley which was our living room minus the coffee table. I had purchased black owl vinyl tablecloths for 50% off after Halloween and spread these on my living room carpet for the kids to sit on. On our big screen TV I had HP's "Chamber of Secrets" playing on DVD for them to watch. Once most of the kids arrived, I officially welcomed them to Hogwarts Academy and explained that we were there to celebrate Hogwarts newest student, my son. Then I explained about the two houses and the sorting hat and read the Sorting Hat rhyme. They thought this was all very cool. Then I explained that every witch or wizard has to have a hat and a wand to be official. I had purchased dowel sticks which my father sawed in half and I spray painted them gold. My sister had party hats leftover from a previous party which I spray painted black. I bought large foam stars and gave each child two (front and back). I also bought glittery stars and gems, plus sticker stars, hearts, wands, castles, and crowns and separated them into black Halloween bowls. On ebay I had purchased 18 packs of official Harry Potter stickers which I used for goody bags and these two crafts. I put some glue on a plate with Q-tips for spreading and put the kids in a circle on the tablecloths on the floor. Then each child got two foam stars and was instructed to decorate it however they chose. I used permanent marker and wrote each child's name on one of the stars then with my sister's help (it was a family effort!), we stapled the stars around the edges and slipped the gold dowel sticks in the middle of the stars. And they had great looking wands! We then gave them their party hats and told them to decorate those as well, writing their names on the inside of the hats. When they were done with both, we collected them and set them aside to let the glue dry (and to prevent sword fighting with the wands) until the end of the party.
CLASSES: We had four classes -- Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, and Care of Magical Creatures. We used the divided groups of kids to do two of the classes at one time. While I did Care of Magical Creatures in the front room of our house, she taught Potions in the breakfast nook of our Kitchen. Then the classes came together for Transfiguration and Charms in my front room.
POTIONS: The kids loved this class and I admit I was skeptical about it at first but it worked out so well. Using a combination of ideas from this website, my mother had the kids help her make a "good luck" potion in a glass pumpkin candy jar. She used red plastic cups which were labeled with appropriate Harry Potter items and had each child add something to the potion. Use the following (add them in this order to make the potion work correctly): 1-- Mandrake Root = large pretzel sticks (use for stirring the potion); 2 -- Basilisk Venom = red cabbage juice (start with this red liquid that can be very difficult to find); 3 -- Boomslang = powdered laundry detergent (turns liquid green); 4 -- Leech Juice = vinegar (turns liquid pink); 5 -- Horn of Bicorn = baking soda (turns liquid blue and makes it foam/bubble); 6 -- Powdered Root of Asphodel = pop rocks (adds more fizz and makes it snap & pop); 7 -- Shrivel Figs = yellow raisins (no real effect but it's cool looking); 8 -- Blood worms = gummy worms (no effect, the kids just think it's neat); 9 -- Hinky Punk Hearts = sundried cherries/cranraisins (no real effect); 10 -- Scorpion Stingers = Lemon Peel (again, no real effect, just neat); 11 -- Creepy, crawlies = Halloween gummy bugs (we got these at the local Hallmark store for 75% off the day after Halloween and they were spiders, scorpions, worms, and bugs). Once it was all added together (and be forewarned, it does stink at the end), my mom poured some into a special evil cup decoration and had each child rub a tiny bit on the top of their hand for good luck. The kids loved it!
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES = While my mom was doing Potions, I had the other "house" with me for a game of "Where's Hedwig?" I explained to the kids about Harry's snow-white owl, Hedwig and explained that Harry had somehow lost him and was going to have to go into the Forbidden Forest to find him. I had printed a picture of Hedwig on card stock and cut it out. I also printed pictures of other animals (cat, dog, frog, chicken, duck, sheep, pig, etc. -- don't use Cow, the "mooing" gets confused with the "hooting".). One child got to be Harry Potter and was blindfolded while I gave each of the other children an animal picture. When I said "one, two, three - go!" the "animals", including Hedwig, made their appropriate animal noise and the blindfolded Harry Potter had to walk around the room and try to find Hedwig among the animals. The kids loved this game and we played it over & over until each child got to be Harry and Hedwig.
TRANSFIGURATION: This was fun but really needs an exact number of kids attending the party to work well. I printed pictures of Harry Potter characters from online -- Harry, Ron, Herimione, Dumbledore, etc. -- on card stock and cut them into squares. Then I used the same pictures to make 8x11 "cards/sheets" for each child. Each child got a pin and an 8x11 card. I lined them up against the wall with their backs to me and pinned a character to their back. I explained that they were going to go around to all the other kids and see who the other kids had pinned to their backs. When they saw a character, they were instructed to mark through that character on their card. When all but one of the characters were marked through, they would discover who they were and thus win the game. They really liked this game but again, it's hard if someone doesn't show up because you have to have the kids mark through a character on their card and remove that character from the pile or each child will end up with two characters at the end, thus not knowing who they are.
CHARMS: The very last game was a Harry Potter version of freeze dance which my daughter does each week in one of her dance classes. I explained to them the curse "Immobulus" and that if said it meant that no one could move. My husband had downloaded Harry Potter music (thank goodness for the internet!) and when I played the music the kids danced in place. When I stopped the music, I yelled "Immobulus" and all the kids had to stop. We did this until 3 kids were left and try as I might I couldn't get them to move, so I gave all 3 a prize. This is a fun game but it's important to have enough adults to help monitor who does/doesn't move. One thing we did to help the kids who got out feel better was to let them help "judge" who had/hadn't moved. Of course we also had an adult back up who they claimed moved, but it made them feel like they were still part of the game.
FOOD: When all the games were done it was time to eat. I had used one of those magazine Halloween cookbooks to make 3 sweet snacks for the kids…ghosts on broomsticks, peanut butter witch cookies, and sugar owl cookies. For the ghosts of broomsticks, I bought a box of Fruit Roll-ups and cut it into small squares (maybe an inch or two) and then cut tiny slits in 3/4 of the square. Then I wrapped each little square around the end of a small pretzel stick. I melted white chocolate and dropped it by tablespoon full on the "broomstick" and shaped it like a ghost riding a broomstick and used mini chocolate chips to make two eyes and a mouth. Use wax paper on a cookie sheet to put these together and let set for several hours a room temperature or put in the fridge for 20 minutes then peel them off the wax paper. The kids loved these and they looked really cool. For the owl cookies, I bought 2 packages of sugar cookie dough and cut them into slices. I put two slices together, touching, side-by-side and pinched one edge on the top to make it look like an owl ear. I used whole cashews and put them in between the two slices, thus connecting them and baked them at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. When they came out I immediately put unwrapped Hershey's kisses in the middle of each slice thus making the owl eyes. These cookies were neat and so appropriate with the Harry Potter theme. The witch cookies were the most work. I used Nutty Butter Cookies for the face of the witch. I used tubed green frosting the hair and white tubed frosting for the "glue" to hold the pieces of candy making her face on. You need chocolate wafers (and this is the hard part) for the witch hat. You have to cut the wafers in half so that they're thinner and then cut each thinner wafer cookie into 3/4 the normal size for the hat's rim and then cut the other half into the pointed shape of the hat. You pipe the frosting on the top of the cookie and put the hat's rim and pointed part on the cookie (the frosting will dry and make it stick) and pipe on the green hair (I actually did the hair first and it worked well). Then pipe on the white frosting to make the eyes, nose and mouth. You can use any candy--coated chocolate for the eyes and mouth as long as their mini-size, I used Hershey's mini kisses. For the nose, use candy corn, point up. They ended up looking cute but were a lot of work for a cookie that the kids liked but didn't "wow" over. I also served goldfish, pretzels, cheese puffs, doritos, Halloween candy (pumpkins and candy corn), and bought a Spells & Potions talking cauldron from Hallmark after Halloween for $5 that I filled with -- you guessed it -- discounted Halloween eyeball gumballs and smarties. My sister made veggies & dip but had mini carrots sticking out of the dip to look like a hand. I had soda, juice boxes and pumpkin juice (orange sherbert & Sprite, which the kids & adults loved). I bought Harry Potter paper products from Ebay and served the food on this. While they ate, I showed the rest of the Harry Potter movie.
REPORT CARDS: I printed "report cards" for each child to carry around to their classes. On each I had the four classes they'd be attending and a clipart graphic from online. They took the report cards to each class where the professor (or her assistant) stamped it with a Halloween stamp showing successful completion of each class. At the end of the party, the kids "turned in" their report cards and got to choose a prize from the black cauldron so that every child got a prize at the party regardless of if they won the game or not. PINATA: After the food, we headed outdoors where my brother-in-law and husband had set up the wizard hat pinata I had filled with leftover (or discounted) Halloween candy. I bought a larger (thicker) dowel stick that I spray painted gold for the hitting stick. Each child got two "whacks" at it and then they gathered candy to put in their HP loot bags. We put these with their wands and hats until the end of the party.
CAKE: Then it was back inside for cake which was Harry Potter that I bought from Walmart. They did a great job and I served ice cream with it while the kids watched some more of the movie.
THE END: Then it was present time and prize time. Each child got a goody bag filled with Halloween trinkets and HP novelities such as a sheet of HP stickers and HP lightning bolt tattoos. The kids had a blast and my son said it was the best party he'd ever had!