Harry Potter 10yr - Sorting Hat Microphone
Eleanor in Kenilworth, N.J. U.S.A.
November 2010 Winner
My daughter was turning 10 and is an avid fan of Harry Potter so it was easy to pick the theme. I started to plan about 6 weeks in advance. The first thing I did was to ask my dad to be Professor Dumbledore, my mom to be Mrs. Weasley and my sisters were Prof. Trelawney and Filch. I got my husband on board as Filch and I planned to be Prof. McGonagall. After scouring the other Harry Potter ideas on this website (thank you so much for the ideas!) and brainstorming I compiled a list of the best for us and here is what I came up with.
INVITATION: I used the wording from Harry's official invitation to Hogwarts and printed it onto plain white paper. Then I poured tea into trays and soaked the paper and envelopes for a few seconds until they were stained. I bought red sealing wax and a letter H stamp from the craft store and sealed the envelopes. We invited the whole class 21 plus 2 neighborhood kids! I asked the teacher if she would announce to the class (at the end of the day) that she had received a delivery from an owl before she handed them out!
DECORATIONS: I had my daughter make 3 signs (Platform 9, Platform 10 and Platform 9 ¾) for the front of the house using cardboard and acrylic paint. I took an old cream colored sheet and some brick colored paint we had. I used a large rectangular sponge and had my daughter press the paint on at intervals. Then I shredded it by cutting strips about 4 inches wide all along it. This was hung by a shower curtain rod inside the front door entrance so the kids could run through the brick wall. I bought 8 black plastic tablecloths for .25 each that were left over from New Year's and used those to close off rooms. Divinations was in the living room. I rearranged the furniture and made a little sitting area with the loveseat and a small round table in front, with pillows all around it for the class to sit on. I bought some black fabric on clearance for the tablecloth and some purple tulle that I hung from the ceiling with thumb tacks in an arch shape. For the crystal ball, I took down one of our globe light fixtures and stuck jewel type stickers all over it, then used a flameless candle inside. Charms was in the basement where I set up a desk with the same black fabric covering it and a small lamp.
There was a black plastic tablecloth behind the desk to separate it from the other room so I taped house badges all over it. Potions was in the kitchen. All I did there was turn down the lights and put some candles on the tables. The Great Hall was in the family room, which I spent the most time on. We have 2 folding banquet table that I set up in a row to look like one long table. I used more of the black fabric as a tablecloth and purchased gold plates and cups from Party City, Harry Potter napkins from Oriental Trading, little gold stars from the Dollar Store were sprinkled all over the table, and flameless candles ($2.50 for a pack of 6) from Walmart. Hubby and I hung our white Christmas icicle lights from the ceiling with thumbtacks.The biggest expense here was the house banners I bought from Costume Craze, 3 banners because we did not have a Slytherin house. They were about $11 each plus shipping but worth it. I did not let my daughter see the Great Hall until the feast began and she had tears in her eyes when we finally let the kids in. I played the Sorcerer's Stone CD for the feast. As for other decorations, my daughter made notices that she posted on the wall, such as schedules for shopping at Hogsmeade, quidditch tryouts, and Weasley items that are forbidden at Hogwarts.
ACTIVITIES: For the Sorting Hat Ceremony, we used part of the basement that has a wood burning stove and we called it the Gryffindor Commons Room. My husband (Filch) tended to the fire. I hung burgundy and gold streamers from the Dollar Store and lit some candles. Honeydukes was in the living room. I cleaned out my tall bookcase entirely and filled it with the favors. I used a few glass dishes I own, plus I bought 3 candy jars and a crystal dish from the local Goodwill store. We placed a sign inside that said Please take only one of each as quantities are limited. Fluffy is watching. We placed a plastic statue of Fluffy that my daughter had next to it. Then I covered the bookcase with a lime green plastic tablecloth so the kids couldn't see it until it was time for the favors. My daughter made a Honeydukes sign based on the logo we found online and we taped that onto the outside. As the students arrived, they played Name that Bertie Botts in the Gryffindor Common Room (I had found the Bertie Botts at my local Shop Rite.
When everyone was there, we had the sorting hat ceremony. I bought the hat from Amazon. We used the microphone on the Karaoke machine and a neighbor hid in the other room while I called out the students names. He had the same list with the kids pre-sorted into houses and he would pretend to think before calling off their house. I gave each child a robe (XXL black Men's T-shirts from Walmart cut up the front) and a badge (printed from the internet, laminated, and a safety pin duct -taped to the back.) The kids loved it! After the Sorting Hat, Prof. Dumbledore gave a welcome speech, wished my daughter Happy Birthday and warned them to steer clear of the Dementors that had been spotted nearby, and not to practice magic in the hallways between classes. Then classes began according to a schedule I had handed out. Each class was 20 minutes. Prof. Dumbledore signaled the change of classes by banging a gong my sister had brought from home. Potions was Felix Felicis (pop rocks with vinegar and baking soda). We used little black cauldrons I ordered from Oriental Trading. I had put a drop of food coloring into each one beforehand, with only one of them being green. I told Gryffindor (my daughter's house) that it only works if it comes out green and then I made sure my daughter had the green one.
Then we made troll boogers, which was corn starch mixed with green water (troll bath water). I think this was their favorite activity! I told them no one has been able to determine if it is a solid or liquid and that was their job. In Charms, I had set up a feather on an invisible string and my sister taught them Wingardium Leviosa. My oldest daughter was hiding in the other room to pull the string. This is also where their wand selected them. I had set up a pumpkin with a light bulb inside from our Halloween decorations with the cord to light it stetching into the other room. I hid the cord by placing the pumpkin right up against the curtain separating the rooms. When a student picked a wand, they had to point it at the pumpkin and say Lumos. My oldest daughter would not plug in the pumpkin on the first try so they had to pick another wand until they picked one that lit the pumpkin. I made the wands out of tree twigs that I spray painted silver, and I wrote Ollivander's on them. The last activity in Charms was to teach them the Expecto Patronum spell to ward off dementors. In Divination, Prof. Trelawney told fortunes and read palms. I had a sheet prepared for her with each students name and likes and dislikes. She first asked their name so she could check it off the attendance sheet, then she would read what I had written and tailor the fortune to it. She had mystical music playing in the background, and the kids loved it!
GAMES: After classes were over, the whole school went out to Hagrid's Hut (our shed which was decorated with as many pumpkin decorations as we had). My husband and neighbor were out there waiting and served them Butterbeer (Cream Soda). When they came back into the house, my oldest played Immobilus (freeze dance) with them in the basement. This gave me a chance to help Mrs. Weasley get the food into the Great Hall. While they were playing, my husband dressed up in an old Scream costume and went into the basement. The kids went wild shouting Expecto Patronum! and he left. He made the mistake of coming back because the second time one of the boys poked him in the face with his wand.
COSTUMES: This is probably where I spent the most, but rationalized that these could be Halloween costumes after the party. I bought 3 graduation robes from ebay, 2 black robes for Profs. Fitch and McGonagall, and 1 blue one for Dumbledore. I found a large black wizard hat at Party city for Dumbledore and a wizard beard from Amazon. My sister, who was Prof. Trelawney, raided her closet and came up with a long black skirt, lots of scarves and jewelry. I bought her a pair of funky pink glasses at Party City.
PARTY SNACKS AND FOOD: For the feast, we put one hotdog on each plate and then had 3 platters in the middle of the table filled with mini hamburgers, chicken egg rolls, chicken wings. For the adults, I ordered a tray of subs and bought a veggie platter . Good thing too because one of the children told me he is a vegetarian and wanted just some carrots. There was too much food for the kids and I had a lot of left-overs.
CAKE: I ordered a plain white half sheet cake from Costco for $16.99 and decorated it myself. I ordered a Harry Potter cake topper from Amazon and wrote Happy Birthday on it. I also made pumpkin pasties with a mold I ordered from Amazon. It had space for 6 mini pumpkins. I used Betty Crocker cake mix and added about 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. When the cakes were cool, I frosted them with orange tinted icing and put a small green candy on the top for the stem.
FAVORS: I made chocolate frogs the week before the party with a mold I had ordered from Amazon. My daughter made chocolate frog cards from pictures she printed off the internet. Then we wrapped the cards in cellophane and put them in treat bags with the chocolate frogs. We also had Pixie Sticks, Licorice Wands (Twizzlers), Unicorn Pops (rainbow lollipops from Party City), Mad Eye Moody Gumballs (I found a bag of Halloween scary eye gumballs at Toys R Us), Pretzel Wands (we dipped pretzel sticks in white chocolate and then sprinkles), Professor Dumbledore's Favorite Lemon Drops (Lemonheads), A gift from Hedwig (chocolate covered raisins in a treat bag), and Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans (I bought a large bag of Jelly Belly beans and mixed in some of the Bertie Botts and then put into treat bags), and diappearing ink from Zonko's Joke Shop. For treat bags, I bought lime green paper bags at Party City and decorated them with a Honeydukes logo. We called the students over to Honeydukes by house so there would be less commotion.
The kids had such a good time. My daughter told me that the kids couldn't stop talking about it at school! Some of the moms have even asked me for party planning advice and I just tell them about this website. Thanks so much - I am not a creative person so I could not have done it without your ideas!