Hogwarts Banquet 7yr - Course Book of Classes
Elizabeth in Beaverton, Oregon USA
March 2007 Winner
We turned our home into Hogwarts for the ultimate Harry Potter party with 17 first graders and one little brother attending.
INVITATIONS: On a 1/2 sheet of ivory paper, in green ink, I printed the invites using Monotype Corsiva (standard font on Word.) At the top I printed HOGWARTS SCHOOL of WITCHCRAFT and WIZARDY (Times New Roman, with the of" and "and" in italics). The letters were addressed to Mr. or Miss X. Lastname. "You are invited to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for a banquet in honor of Pablo ___'s seventh birthday. The celebration will occur on Saturday December 9th from 2-5pm. Mr. Harry Potter and all other Hogwarts students shall be on a chaperoned trip to Hogsmeade therefore the entire school will be available for Mr. ____ and his guests. In addition to a feast of sweets guests will be taken on a tour of the school where professors will give introductory lessons in Care of Magical Creatures Charms Divination Potions and Quidditch (weather permitting.) All guests should meet at the Leaky Cauldron (address here) currently disguised to appear as a Muggle home. Professors will then escort them to Diagon Alley to purchase their school supplies and then on to Hogwarts. If you are unable to send your reply by owl please use the Muggle telephony system to call ### no later than December 1st. Yours truly Prof. Minerva McGonogall Deputy Headmistress (aka Pablo's mum Elizabeth)" This was folded in half and stuffed in a matching envelope. Also enclosed was a school supply list (see "HP and the Sorcerer's Stone" book for template.) Using the same paper and letterhead as the invite it read "~Supplies Necessary for Pablo ___'s 7th Birthday Party~ Uniform: 1 plain black cloak
Course Book: 'An Introduction to Hogwarts' by Bruja Gatanegra (a made up name that's Spanish for 'Witch BlackCat') Other Equipment: 1 wand 1 cauldron (black standard size 2)" At the bottom of the list I wrote: "Please note: All supplies may be purchased on the day of the celebration using Wizard Gold. (A sufficient deposit has been made into your account at Gringotts Bank. Bring this list with you to make your purchases." I sealed the envelopes with green sealing wax with a few small brown fluffy feathers sticking out so they'd appear to have been delivered by owl. I addressed them by hand in green ink. Mr. X. Lastname Room at the Top of the Stairs (or wherever the guest's room was in their house) rest of address. I omitted zip codes and added "USA". I delivered the invites while kids were at school. Many parents got in on the act and told their kids they were owl delivered. Kids and parents were so excited over 1/2 the kids arrived 10 min. early and the rest were all on time.
ARRIVAL: Theme music from the HP movie soundtracks played while guests were greeted by Professor Dumbledore aka my husband. He wore a long maroon graduation gown zipped closed with a 4 wide navy blue belt with an ancient looking metal buckle over the robe. Over this he wore a huge navy blue graduation gown (I'd ripped out the zipper and hemmed the opening and pulled the sleeves up a bit on the top side stitching them in place so the maroon sleeves showed partly.) He wore a long gray wig and beard half-moon specs and a hat I made out of maroon fabric bunting trim and fleece. He looked like the real thing! Until everyone arrived guests waited in the living room decked out with a sparkly Christmas tree lit candles and shiny multicolored stars on bendy wire (bought in 9 ft lengths at the craft store) swirling through our regular décor. Gifts were set on the dining table and coats piled in the office. The rest of downstairs was hidden from view with shut doors and huge pieces of black fabric.
DIAGON ALLEY: Dumbledore brought the guests upstairs to our bonus room. The door was closed and covered in craft paper I'd painted to look like a brick wall using red paint and a sponge. He tapped the bricks and the door was opened from inside "Welcome to Diagon Alley!" he said and the kids poured in. We'd completely cleared out the room (walls too) and brought in shelves and tables to create an alley of shops. I drew and painted shop signs using brown paper grocery bags getting ideas off the bonus material from the first two HP DVDs. A CD I burned using "Hagrid the Professor" from the Prisoner of Azkaban soundtrack and music from a Christmas Revels CD played on repeat. At the far end of the room was GRINGOTTS BANK. A green sign hung above a white table with a gold tray on it full of money. We wrapped 10 gold coins (bought from OTC) per child in tissue paper and taped a nametag on the bundles. (The kids spent all their money so we can reuse the coins.) The table also held a gold-framed photo (from internet) of Griphook the Goblin at his banker's desk. Above the table hung the Gringott's engraving taken out of the first HP book.
Next was MADAME MALKINS ROBES FOR EVERY OCCASION where kids were measured by Madame Malkin (my friend wearing purple robes and a huge black flowered hat.) I sewed 20 capes out of black felt and ribbon using my son's superhero cape as a pattern. It was a simple design taking 5 hours to make using 13 yards of 72" felt I got for 1/2 price. Felt doesn't fray so no hemming. The capes were folded on cubby style shelves next to a huge mirror. Other capes hung in the shop window display. EEYLOPS OWL EMPORIUM was just for show. We had several wooden birdcages with realistic stuffed owls inside bought after Halloween on clearance at Pottery Barn of all places. FLOURISH AND BLOTTS took a long time to set up and clean up. We took the jackets off every hard cover book in the house and stacked them in lopsided piles on the bookstore shelves. We even had "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and "Quidditch Through the Ages" both books from the series written by JK Rowlings. The kids probably overlooked them but our party was full of details like that. Kids bought text books I made using covers of different colored construction paper (so kids knew which one was theirs). The cover was emblazoned with a Hogwarts crest and the first few pages contained edited school history both from www.wikipedia.com. The rest of the pages were filled with spells the kids learned instructions for projects we made and rules for Muggle Quidditch.
A friend dressed in HP garb manned this shop and POTAGES CAULDRON SHOPPE. I copied the words for the sign right out of Sorcerer's Stone. Guests bought black plastic (trick-or-treat bucket) cauldrons I'd bought for $1 each at the party store at Halloween. QUALITY QUIDDITCH SUPPLIES was just for show. Last was OLIVANDERS WANDS. I manned this store dressed in a long black dress and gray cardigan. Shelves were packed with boxes and a velvet pillow with a wand on it. I made 20 wands out of wooden dowels Home Depot cut to different lengths for me. I sanded the ends so one end was pointier than the other and stained them different wood colors. I made labels out of ivory paper using the font "Papyrus". Each label stated the wood length and core substance. (ie: "Holly and Dragon Heartstring 9 3/4") At the bottom in small print was "Ollivanders Wands Makers of fine wands since 382 BC". I got ideas for woods from JK Rowling's website and by googling "Celtic Woods". No two wands were the same. I made a big deal out of each child being chosen by their wand speaking Ollivander's words from the first book and rang jingle bells when the wand chose the wizard.
ENTERING HOGWARTS: I snuck out of Diagon Alley and changed into my McGonogall costume (a long green robe open over my high-necked black dress with a dragon brooch added wire rimmed glasses and my hair stuffed in McGonogall's hat I bought at a costume store. The kids knew right away who I was. Dumbledore explained to the kids while in the bonus room that they had special permission to apparate into Hogwarts. (I didn't want to spend the next month vacuming "Floo Powder" glitter out of my carpets.) Once they were in the hall I gave McGonogall's welcome speech from the 1st book and took the children downstairs. They dropped off their cauldrons and books in the office and followed me through the living room to THE GREAT HALL. The night before we moved all the furniture out and rolled up carpets to reveal wood floors. Our kitchen (stone brown and black) and family room transformed into the Great Hall with a brick fireplace at the far end and two long rows of tables and benches flanking a center aisle. Black tablecloths were set with gold chargers white and gold plastic china crystal goblets gold candlesticks and gold votive holders with stars cut out of them. Above the fireplace we covered our paintings with black fabric and a Hogwarts Banner I purchased at www.alivans.com. A life-life owl perched on the mantle and another on the top of our built-in shelves. The shelves and walls were covered in house banners. Each house had a 72"x36" felt banner in their house color (Gryffindor: scarlet Hufflepuff: gold Ravenclaw: blue and Slytherin: green) with the house banner bought from alivans.com pinned to the center of it. The banners were $12 each but they were worth it. The sorting hat (purchased) sat on the mantle. When the kids followed me in appropriate music from the soundtracks played. We passed a bulletin board with school notices on it such as a Quidditch practice schedule notices for Charms Gobstones and Dueling Clubs and a lost and found notice (Neville Longbottom can't remember where he left his Remembrall.) SORTING
CEREMONY: The sorting hat (a puppet too) spoke the sorting hat poem (my dad's voice recorded on tape.) I called the kids to the front of the room one at a time reading their names off a scroll made from paper bag. Wearing the hat they were sorted into the 4 houses. Ahead of time I knew the bday boy wanted to be in Slytherin and one guest would freak out if he wasn't in Gryffindor so I placed them accordingly. We clapped like crazy as each kid was sorted and the adult helpers (now dressed in black robes and witch hats) pinned house badges to their cloaks. I printed badges from www.amazingmoms.com trimmed them and backed them in colored card stock then laminated them. No one made a fuss about which house they were put in. After this Dumbledore welcomed the kids said happy birthday to Pablo and dismissed the kids to their classes. They lined up according to house and we marched them to the garage (to "Hogwarts Forever" from the soundtrack) for
CHARMS: The garage was cleared out and walls were covered with black sheets and spider webs. There were two long tables for the kids to stand at. In front of the classroom was one long table set up for potions then covered in a black sheet. On top of this were candles a spellbook and a fake jack-o-lantern that lights up. As the kids entered we played "Lockheart's Theme" from the soundtrack. The kids were taught 3 charms used in the books. "Incendio" creates fire. Dumbledore an amateur magician lit flash paper as McGonogall practiced the charm. Wow! Then a few volunteers bday boy his brother and one friend each practiced the charm on the jack-o-lantern which was rigged to a fog machine and operated by remote control. After they tried a few times it lit up and fog poured out. Everyone wanted a turn which would have taken too much time so we had them do it in groups according to house. The next charm was Wingardium Leviosa which levitates objects. We used a trick scarf from the magic show supplies. The kids were amazed. Finally we taught Alohamora which unlocks doors. They practiced on linking chains from the magic trick stash and then when it was time to go to the next class we all found ourselves locked in the garage. Only when the bday boy did the alohamora charm with a swish and flick of his wand did someone from inside the house unlock the door and run away. Pablo loved it! Now we split into two groups. Half put their coats on and headed outside for one class while the other went upstairs to the Tower (room at the top of the stairs) for
DIVINATION: The room was cleared and remaining furniture was draped in scarves and candles. I snuck up ahead and changed into a Professor Trelawney costume. (I took off the McGonogall items and put on tons of beads rings huge glasses a messy wig scarf and a shawl) I welcomed the kids speaking Trelawney's words from book 3 as Patronus Charm from the 3rd movie soundtrack played (eerie music). I sat at a round table with a crystal ball on top (a Japanese glass float sitting on a gold stand) and read the kids fortunes. The funniest one was Practice your alohamora charm because next month you will be locked in the girl's bathroom! The bday boy was told he was about to have a large number of gifts given to him. The fortunes were printed in their textbooks. When they got home their parents could help them chose fortunes to write in their paper fortune tellers we folded in class.
The groups then swapped and the other class was CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES: Outside at a wood table on our covered deck the kids read from their textbooks about Puffskeins. (Make sure to include in the text the part about Puffskeins eating sleeping wizard children's boogers. That was a big hit.) Since the Ministry of Magic forbids the exposure of Magical Creatures to the Muggle world the kids made model miniature Pigmy Puffs to take home. They reached into a basket of pompom balls (and rubber spiders) to choose a pompom. They glued googly eyes and paper feet (with their name on the bottom) to their creature and these were left to dry on a tray. A large iguana sat on the table for decoration.
QUIDDITCH: The Ministry of Magic forbids Quidditch to be played anyplace where a Muggle has a chance of seeing so we played Muggle Quidditch a game with rules made up by JK Rowling. We had 5 person teams. My hubby made two Quidditch hoops one at each end of the pitch (field) each sticking out of the grass about 6 feet with lots of ribbon wrapped around the hoops. The 2 Chasers on each team tried to get a single playground ball (the quaffle) through their opponents hoop for 10 pts a goal. The 1 Beater on each team stood on the sidelines throwing super soft balls at the other team. If you got hit you had to drop any ball you had and freeze for 10 seconds. The Seeker for each team tried to capture the Snitch (a small rubber ball) from behind the opponent's hoop and bring it back to their side of the pitch without being tagged by the Keeper. Each team had 1 Goal Keeper guarding the hoops and trying to tag the Seeker. If the Keeper tagged you you had to drop the Snitch and return to your side of the pitch. Capturing the Snitch ended the game and was worth 50 pts. We had the kids practice their jobs and then played 2 games which went by quickly since the Seekers were really good. It helped having a whistle for the referee and one adult keeping track of points and fouls for each team.
Our last class was POTIONS: Back in the garage Dobby the House Elf music played and the sheet covering the potions set up was removed showing 50-60 odd colored and shaped bottles and jars with labels I'd made holding everything from Hippogryff Musk to Dragon Scales to Blood Worm Tonic. In the center was a large bubbling cauldron and candles lit the room. The kid's cauldrons had been placed on the tables next to clear measuring cups and craft stick stirrers for each student. This was my son's favorite class. We read a note left by Prof. Snape saying we needed to brew a Deflating Draught. Crabb and Goyle had accidentally touched Swelling Solution and were in the hospital wing with giant feet and noses. I used the threat of detention with Snape (taken from this website) as a way to keep kids in line ha ha. We mixed all sorts of stuff which bubbled (vinegar and baking soda) and changed colors adding Scorpion Stingers (dried cosmos seeds) that the kids were afraid to touch. No matter how many times we told them what the ingredients really were they believed they were really Porcupine Quills and Tarantula Venom. All of a sudden the fog machine acted up and I yelled that something had gone wrong and we needed to evacuate. Later I told the kids the cauldrons had all melted. That saved us from having to wash them out at the party and now we can reuse them.
BANQUET: Back in the Great Hall we sat down for the feast. Adult helpers had poured apple cider in the goblets and brought gold and crystal trays and bowls full of frosted and sprinkled cupcakes ghost shaped gingerbread cookies frosted white donut holes and Skittles to the table. Dumbledore led a short prayer and we sang Happy Birthday as Pablo tried to blow out relighting candles. We let the kids eat all they wanted while I took photos of each group of kids sitting under their house banner.
PRESENTS & GOODIE BAGS: We washed up and moved to the living room next to the sparkly Christmas tree. Pablo sat in a special chair and pointed his wand at the person whose gift he would open. That child got to sit in a chair next to Pablo while everyone else was on the floor and sofa. Pablo opened gifts as Hedwig's Theme played in the background. One gift was a huge box with a card from Harry Ron and Hermione. It was full of 18 Honeydukes Sweet Shoppe Party Samplers which Pablo passed out to his guests. I stuffed plain white Chinese take-out boxes purchased inexpensively at a restaurant supply store with wizard sweets and made labels for everything using my computer and giant label paper from Office Depot. (There are no shapes on the labels so you can cut out any size/shape stickers you want.) I found a realistic looking candy mold at a cake-decorating store and made chocolate frogs with wizard cards inside. Important: Wrap the chocolate in wax paper so chocolate doesn't smudge the cards. I printed photos of wizards from the movies on sticker paper (www.harrypotterreal.com/movies Click on cast) and stuck them to pentagon shaped cardstock I'd printed blue with gold stars etc. Then I wrapped them in blue wrapping paper and stuck another sticker on the package. Looked like the real thing minus the wizards actually moving around in the photos. Labor intensive but worth it. The kids couldn't believe they actually got chocolate frogs. Other candy included Licorice Wands Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans (I used regular Jelly Bellies) Whizzing Worms (sour gummy worms) Droobles Best Blowing Gum and Acid Pops (lollipops) all with wizard candy labels. I twisted glittery star wire around the box handle and voila! Kids also took home their cloaks and badges wands textbooks Pigmy Puffs and fortunetellers. I'm glad we had 3 hours for the party because we even went overtime.
When parents picked up their kids they toured our Hogwarts and said they wished they were kids and could have come to the party too. My son's teacher told me that kids who'd come to the party wrote how amazing it was in their journals. What a memory. Happy party planning! (NOTES: I thought 18 kids inside for 3 hours would be tough but whenever it got too noisy Dumbledore would yell "Silence!" and got everyone's attention. Also I had a detailed to-do list for each of the adult helpers at the party plus we each had a book of matches so every room was set up and shut down on schedule and we never left candles burning unattended. Time consuming to plan but worth it as the party ran like clockwork. Another helpful hint: I burned a separate CD for each room that would have music playing in it and each room had it's own CD player.)"