Harry Potter Party -7yr- Classes and Potions
Nete in Sparta, New Jersey, USA
My daughter loves Harry Potter so it was natural that she chose that for a theme for her birthday party. We invited about 28 children, and 22 ended up at the party so I had to be a little creative to keep all the guests entertained.
The invitations were printed on parchment paper using the Magik font (found at Mugglenet.com) with the Hogwarts Crest (also found in the internet) on top and the following description: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster, (Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorcerer, Chief Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confederation of Wizards) Dear Mr. X Y; We are pleased to inform you that you have been invited to Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for a special Birthday Feast in honor of Gryffindor House's newest Head Girl, Alex, International Confederation of Prefects, Honorary Junior Mugwump.
The birthday feast will feature a cake and treats from Honeyduke's Sweete Shoppe in Hogsmeade. The Feast will begin at the stroke of 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon on Sunday, May 20th, 2007 and is expected to last 2 - 3 hours. Please take the Hogwarts Express train to the Clubhouse, address, in Sparta, currently disguised as a Muggle (non-wizard) House. There you will find the magical door visible only to Hogwarts students, friends and families. The surrounding area is well-protected by Memory Charms, so it will be safe to practice magic indoors and outdoors, weather permitting (please wear sneakers). If you miss the Hogwarts Express and must arrive by way of Muggle vehicle (car), feel free to dress in non-wizard, comfortable clothing. If you are unable to respond by Owl, please reply via the Muggle telephony system at (999) 999-9999. We look forward to your arrival at Hogwarts. Sincerely, Nete Deputy Headmistress of Frolic and Feasts, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
The wording was inspired by another entry here at this website. We rented the clubhouse at our development and we decorated the door with brown packaging paper painted with red, white and brown poster paint (aka tempera) to look like the brick wall to Hogwarts Express on platform 9 3/4.
The birthday girl had a blast helping with the wall. Inside I had another poster also made of packaging paper sitting across the door to a conference room saying Third Floor, Out of Bounds. There was a plastic owl sitting high on a shelf overlooking the festivities. We had a portable DVD player playing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone while the guests arrived. I tried to get the soundtrack for the movie at the library, but didn't get it in time for the party. The class schedule was also up on the wall for everybody to read with allotted times for each class and which house had what class. I think the parents loved that they could see what was happening and when. The guests had to first be sorted into their houses.
The main room had a highbacked plump chair ready for the sorting hat. I made the sorting hat out of a paper bag, crumpled up and a couple of crayon marks to imitate eyes and mouth. Behind the chair we had a baby monitor receiver and in another room we had the monitor that Dad spoke into when the sorting hat was placed on a first year guest. We had a list of the guests in alphabetical order and presorted so Dad knew where they were going to be. Dad got into it rattling off fun facts about the guest, like I see a lot of mischief or there's cleverness here ending with loudly announcing the house they were in. Some of the guests were sitting there with a scrunched up face and fingers crossed on each hand for their favorite house and happily nobody complained.
After each guests found out what house they belonged to, they got a pupil's hat (handmade in felt from a sewing pattern and a wire glued in the tip so it could be kinked like in the movie) and a sticker with their house crest on it (made on the computer with downloaded crests). After sorting the houses went two and two to classes. Gryffindor and Slytherin houses went to a Defense against Dark Arts Class in the main room. That class was freeze dance where a friend's Harry Potter crazed teenager, dressed up as Hermione would invoke spells like Petrificus Totalus or Immobilus as she stopped the music. Rawenclaw and Hufllepuff had potions with professor Snape aka Dad. He was dressed up in a black cape and handed out the recipe for potions to each group of two or three.
I had five easy kitchen pantry staples potions ready, taken from the internet or a science fair book: The Volcano Potion with Mandrake Powder (baking soda) and Aceto (vinegar with red food coloring) The Invisible Brick Potion with Dragon Bone Powder (cornstarch) and Aqua (water) where a finger moved slowly through the mix will feel like a liquid, but feels solid if moved quickly or jabbed into the solution. House Elf Fireworks with Aqua (water) and Toad Slime (vegetable oil) mixed with Red Eye of Frog (red food coloring), Liquid Sun (yellow food coloring) and essence of blueberry (blue food coloring) Swirly Divine Potion with Bovidae Taurus liquid (whole milk), a drop of Red Eye of Frog (red food coloring), Essence of Blueberry (blue food coloring), and Ichor of Worm (green food coloring) Burn-Heal potion with Aqua (water), Toad slime (vegetable oil), and Crystals of Natrium (kosher salt).
Each potion had an incantation they had to say as they mixed the potions. The kids loved the potions and after they had made their assigned potion the looked at the other guests potions. A couple of the guests decided to enhance the potions with some of the other ingredients, fortunately we had no overflows or spills. After 15 minutes the houses switched so Gryffindor and Slytherin did potions while Hufflepuff and Rawenclaw did Defense against Dark Arts.
The next sets of classes were Quidditch and Charms. The quidditch was on a tennis court outside where we hung a hula hoop ring up on a basketball stand. A playground ball was the quaffle and had to be thrown to team members. You could not run with the ball or the other team would get it. Two balloons were bludgers that had to be kept up in the air. If they touched the ground, everybody would sit down and count to 50 very fast. The snitch was thrown in last, a gold painted ping-pong ball with two colored craft feathers stuck in it. The points were as in the HP books, 10 points for each time the quaffle went through a hoop and 150 points for catching the snitch. I didn't take into account that some of the boys were playing basketball and had to quickly add a rule that they couldn't score until at least one girl had touched the quaffle.
At charms class they played charades with incantations of what the other should do think how the boggart comes out of the closet in HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban (number three). Here the guests got their second favor, a magic wand, made from dowels sprayed with a gold paint. It was fun to see the kids imagination go wild for what their opponent should be charmed or jinxed with.
After everybody had a chance at Quidditch and Charms it was on to Care of Magical Creatures and the Hunt for the Sorcerer's Stone. Charms was a game of Where's Hedwig? Each guest except the seeker drew a card with an animal on it and they had to make that animal's sound and the seeker had to listen for Hedwig the owl and identify the cardholder. The Hunt for the Sorcerer's Stone was outside too and started with finding a poster with Flamel's goblet on fire. The question was, how to put it out (with water) and that was the clue for the next station by the swimming pool. Here they had to find six potions hidden around (jars of food colored water). Once they found all six potions, the question was what color Flamel's flame was orange and what colors made orange (red and yellow) the potions with that color had a sticker underneath with the name of the next station the Forbidden Forest.
At the Forbidden Forest (a grassy area and trees nearby) the guests had to find Bowtruckles, five of them. The Bowtruckles were branches with blobs of spray painted gold, they like to lie in the sun, and a pair of googly eyes glued on. Each Bowtruckle had a word on it that the guests had to puzzle together for the last clue Go To The 3. Floor. In the conference room behind the Third floor banner with, I had set up a mirror with a sign on it saying The Mirror of Erised and a lot of black loops hanging off the top of it. These were homemade necklaces with tumbled stones, bought at the local Rock n Gem store, wired with a jewelry gold wire and hung onto a fake leather cord. Each kid pulled a loop and that was their third and last favor, their own sorcerer's stone. With the six classes completed recess was at Hogsmeade in Honeyduke's Sweete Shoppe.
The shoppe featured a store bought birthday cake with Harry Potter on a broomstick holding the golden snitch (amazingly the local supermarket still had the HP decorations from the last movie), gummy worms, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, fruit flavored twizzlers, homemade pretzelwands dipped in chocolate and homemade brownies. I had the ingredients for making cold butter beer (Cream soda and butterscotch ice cream syrup, recipe from one of the HP fan sites) but the guests wanted apple juice instead. After the trip to Hogsmeade it was time for one last class, Divination, where the birthday girl would hold a gift and the guests would divine what was in it. Some of the guests got really into it and started suggesting the wildest things.
After divination it was time to take the Hogwarts Express home with their wizard's hat, magic wand and sorcerer's stone necklace. The guests had a really good time and I have already heard that some of our guests want to have their own Harry Potter party when it is their turn. It was a lot of fun to plan the party after all I am a Harry Potter fan myself but 22 kids age 4 to 8 can wear even a teenager out.