Harry Potter Party 8yr - Recovery at Hogwarts
Ariane in Wellington, New Zealand
July 2008 Winner
Just after our son's seventh birthday he had an accident, and so has spent the most part of the year, at the hospital as an inpatient or outpatient. From the ER to the wards, I read Harry Potter to him so he could mentally be at Hogwarts instead of thinking about the painful procedure (to this I will always be grateful to J.K. Rowling for her imagination!). When he turned 8 we were determined to give him a really special Harry Potter party. We used some ideas from this site and few of our own, and I tried to squirrel away things over the months to make it a bit cheaper.
INVITATION: On parchment paper I printed out an invitation using the Hogwarts logo at the top. The letter was an invitation to mid term classes at Hogwarts followed by a celebration banquet for the newest Head Boy. I enclosed a list of school supplies which I copied from the first book, and adjusted it to suit the shops we had in Diagon Alley. We sealed it with wax and the letter H seal and wrote in a fountain pen the name and address on the front and hand delivered it.
DECORATIONS -DIAGON ALLEY SET UP - FLOURISH AND BLOTTS I bought off an online auction some life size cut outs of Harry, Ron, Hermoine, Lucifus Malfoy and Gilderoy Lockhart, which were from the dvd launch of the Chamber of Secrets. I colour photocopied Gilderoy Lockhart, to feature in the window of Flourish and Blotts. On poster board, I painted windows, and boards to look like a shop front window. I then cut out the windows, and on separate poster board behind the windows stuck Gilderoy Lockhart and painted books to appear in the shop window, then I stuck a sign in the window saying Gilderoy Lockhart in store today at 2pm signing his bestseller Magical M. I printed up a cover of Magical M to sit in the front of the window with a quill next to it for the signing. It looked really realistic. I stuck this on the wall next to the doorway of a bedroom, and opened the door and had a little table sitting in the doorway. I draped a large tablecloth and pinned it from the door to the wall so that they couldn't see into the bedroom. On the desk I had copies of Quidditch through the ages and Fantastic beasts and where to find them which I bought really cheaply new off Amazon.
MADAM MALKIN'S ROBES- I painted another shop front window and cut out the windows again, but for the window scene for this shop I laser color printed the robes from the life size cut outs, and chopped their heads off the pictures and replaced it with coat hangers. I had three robes and I put signs on each one. For Lucifus Malfoy the sign said Corporate Robes as worn by Mr L Malfoy, for Gilderoy Lockart the sign said Dress Robes as worn by Mr G Lockhart and for the Hogwarts robes, I had a sign which said Mid term sale on all school robes. It looked fantastic. Then in the doorway next to the shop window, I had a rack of black robes and black hats which were on their school supply list.
OLLIVANDER'S- I bought a bulk lot of wooden incense stick boxes off an online auction, which looked perfect for wand boxes. My son had been shown how to make a wand by rolling paper really tightly and gluing it down, then using a glue gun dribbling glue on the paper to form the handle and the markings. Then you paint the handle and markings with gold, bronze and silver metallic paint. It looked so effective that my son insisted on me making wands that were similar to all the character's wands in the books. Then I placed them in the wooden wand box with tissue paper and put them on the table, with a little spell book. My son had written down his favourite spells from the books and I printed them out and put them next to each wand box.
GRINGOTTS BANK- Finally for Gringotts bank, I used all the wizard money from the board game of Diagon Alley that my son had, and stacked them in piles of galleons, sickles and knuts. We had a set of working old scales and then I bought a whole lot of little organza pouches for them to put the money in. My stepdaughter dressed up as a gobblin by using a green cape and those latex ears you put on your own ears, she looked cute. Arrival- My husband dressed up as Hagrid and met all the students at the Leaky Cauldron. I had a plastic tablecloth from Christmas that were red bricks like a chimney that we hung across the doorway into the corridor where Diagon Alley was. Hagrid touched the bricks with his umbrella and took them shopping down Diagon Alley, where there were shopkeepers on each stall. They stopped off at Gringotts bank first then bought their supplies. They loved it, especially the wands! Then they went to the lounge to the great hall for the sorting hat ceremony, where I met them dressed as Professor McGonagall. I had taped the sorting hat calling out the house names off the movie and dubbed it so that it would play as they sat on the stool, but we missed the queue in all the cheering so Hagrid had to improvise and tell the hat off for speaking out of turn, and I had to skip through to the beginning again. Then I pinned on a laminated badge of the house that they were in. Finally I called up my son, and gave him the head boy badge, and said that never in Hogwarts have they seen such bravery and courage in the last year (I nearly got choked up at this bit) and pinned the badge on him. My son had special velvet and gold satin lined Hogwarts robe from the UK and he wore the Gryffindor tie and his Nanna had knitted him the Hogwarts school jumper to have the proper uniform as head boy.
BANQUET (PARTY SNACKS)- After the sorting ceremony they moved to the dining room, where the banquet was to begin. Above the table I had collected a whole lot of soft toy owls and had glued to their claws letters, and suspended it from the ceiling with fishing wire. Above the head boy's seat was Hedwig holding onto a firebolt broomstick which was a birthday present. They had little plastic wine goblets which I had painted with decorations on it using window paint. Then they all sat down and I brought in the magical chocolate fountain. I had hired from a wedding hire shop, a massive three tier chocolate fountain, and covered the base with a velvet material with stars on it to cover up the controls. Their eyes just about popped out of their heads when it arrived. To stop any spread of germs Hagrid said that no fingers must touch the chocolate or your fingers will turn to worms, and they did exactly what Hagrid said ! I made up lots of platters of fruit and marshmallows, wafer biscuits, cream puffs, candy and anything that could go in chocolate and handed out lots of toothpicks.
HOGWARTS CLASSROOM SET UP- In the corner of the room we had already had a castle build out of wood with a wooden drawbridge. I hung purple flags across the top and stuck the Hogwarts crest on the outside of the castle and used the cardboard cutouts of Ron and Hermoine to stand out the front of Hogwarts.Harry was standing on the drawbridge at the entrance. It was a perfect backdrop for the group photos. On the walls around the room my son and I had painted the coat of arms for each house and put streamers and balloons of the house colours around it. I hung up his polar fleece blanket from his bedroom which had the Hogwarts crest on it, to cover up the bookshelf. Then I split the room up into four classrooms for Divination, Potions, Herbology and Transfiguration.
CLASSES- HERBOLOGY- After the banquet I played the theme song of the movie really loud and said this was to let you know when to change classes. I told them that all the teachers were away on mid term break and left Hagrid and myself (Professor McGonagall) to take all the classes, with strict instructions from Professor Snape, Trewlaney and Sprout on lesson plans. Herbology was first. I had got lots of shallow dishes and bought the Crystal Rain from a gardening shop (you use to put on your plants when you are away and it gives it moisture). I had soaked it for a couple of hours and put food colouring in each dish, so when it turned into a gel like jello consistency it was bright yellow, red, blue and green. Also on the table were blue goblets with bean seeds (which are pink with spots so look quite magical!). I said that wizards grow their pot plants in Rainbow Soil not dirt like muggles! I had given each of them a plastic jar and in a scroll had instructions of looking after your seed when you take it home. I said that they had to layer their pot with different colours like a rainbow and put the seeds in the pot. Hagrid would judge the most rainbow looking pot and award points for that house. They loved it and were fascinated by the consistency of the crystal rain, and made beautiful layered pots.
CARE OF MAGICAL CREATURES- By this time the sugar rush of the chocolate was kicking in, so Hagrid took them outside to find his magical creatures. They had to work in teams of their house, with one person holding the collection bag and another person had the list of escaped magical creatures, which had a photo of the creature and how many points it was worth to recover it. I had bought these squishy balls which have little spaghetti legs and when you squeeze it, they light up. They were in all shapes and sizes so I made up all these names of the creatures, like Crinkle Sprinklers, Spaghetti Sisters, Quaklers etc. They were all really squishy to touch and were just bought from the dollar shop, but they all had eyes on them, so looked like creatures. Then at the bottom of the list was Fawkes, Dumbledore's Phoenix. It was of utmost importance that it was returned to Dumbledore's office before he returned, so was worth the most points. Each team had to send a captain to try and find Fawkes, while their teammates cheered them on. They loved it, and Hagrid made a big deal of how they could bite etc, the girls at the party squealed with delight and the boys made gross noises! Then as a team they had to add up how many points they had collected from all the creatures they had captured. It was a great team activity. The music played and they went back inside for
DIVINATION. I had set up a deep purpley/blue mink blanket on the floor with cushions, and miniature teacups and saucers in a circle. In the middle of the circle was a plasma ball, (which I had used a cloth to cover the controls again). My son had to try and guess what each gift was first by putting one finger on the ball and the person who gave the gift had to put another finger on the ball. I created really cool coloured lightning bolts across the ball. After the gifts were unwrapped, we had the tea drinking ceremony. The children had to put a scoop of Earl Grey tea leaves in their cup and I brought around the teapot of hot water. They had to stir it clockwise three times, then take a sip. Some of the girls didn't like the smell and said they weren't drinking it, so Hagrid piped up that they could eat some Flobberworms instead. They all squealed and quickly sipped their tea. Then they had to tip out their water and leave the tealeaves in the bottom of the cup. I said that Professor Trelawny had left strict instructions on reading tealeaves but as I (Professor McGonagall) didn't always agree with her teachings, said imagination like Ron and Harry's was of uptmost importance in this class. I said everyone had to look at their tea leaves and make up what pattern the leaves looked like, and the students with the best story got the points for their house. Some of them said cat or dog, but some of them had wonderful stories of a caterpillar turning into a moth and flying into a bat cave. The music rang and then it was time for potions.
POTIONS CLASS- I had bought big plastic cauldrons and printed out on parchment paper different potions to try. In the middle of the table was a huge number of bottles with different magical ingredients, and measuring spoons, cups etc. The recipe that they really liked was the one with the popping candy with made a really loud noise. The other one they really liked because they had to put their hands in was the cornstarch and coloured water. It is liquid yet solid and shattered when it's hit.
TRANSFIGURATION- the final class was transfiguration, but we did levitation instead. I set up chairs around a round table, and had them all sit around it. One person was a timekeeper and I had the Levitating Board Game, (which I'd bought off an online auction!). It's a game with a little ball and you have to get it through all these hoops by turning a dial and controlling the flow of air which keeps the ball in the air. They had to see how far they could get around the board, and the person who completed the course got the points for their team. They all had a couple of turns and thought it was real magic because the ball was magically in the air.
FINAL ASSEMBLY- the music played and then had to meet in the lounge to find out which team won. By chance Gryffindor won (my son's team) which was a pure fluke, and for a reward they got chocolate frogs in cellophane bags with the trading cards. Then they had the cake, which I had made. It was with the quidditch towers cake topper which made it easy for me! We all sang Happy Head Boy to you.
FAVORS (besides all the things they had bought at Diagon Alley) they had little red noodle boxes with Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans picture on the side of it, and filled with jelly beans. It was wonderful and for those few precious hours it was Hogwarts! The grown ups and children alike, spoke as if it were Hogwarts using wizard terms adding to the magic of the day. Apparently the parents have told me that their children are still wearing the capes and practising their spells days after the party!