*Disclaimer: Some of these photos are a bit blurry. Blame ‘old’ technology. Or maybe it’s shaky hands. Anyway, hopefully you’ll get the general idea.
When my youngest told me she wanted to have a Harry Potter birthday party for her eighth birthday, I have to admit to experiencing serious heart palpitations. Which, I soon found out, is a common reaction. Enter my frequent saviour, Pinterest. Bonanza!
This project ended up being both a blessing and a curse of my own making, which I’ll explain later. My lovely daughter adores doing crafts which makes me so happy and we do have so many hilarious moments together but I do find I have to balance my more anal personality characteristics with her eager, slapdash manner of approaching crafts. So, divide and conquer.
The first project M took on was cutting out house badges, ones we didn’t ultimately end up using because they were a bit small but they gave her something to do and she loved it. The badges we ended up using I found here(link).
Platform 9 3/4
The first thing I took on was the platform 9 3/4 sign, the idea I got from Here which is obviously a far superior specimen, but I did say REAL DIY.
I didn’t really follow those directions though, as usual I made it work my own good enough way with what I had on hand. Simplify, simplify. I bought the wooden sign at the dollar store and gave it two coats of red acrylic paint on each side. I probably should have done a third coat but you know, the munchkin gets the impatience from somewhere. Then I used a basic stencil for the general letter outline, and as you see I didn’t bother measuring to properly centre the words. So I guess I’m not that anal – pretty sure it’s the MS because before I would have enjoyed doing the math. Anyway, using a very light pencil I filled in the letters and extended them according to the photo from the above link. I used the same paint for the border, then I just printed up the numbers, glued them on and gave the whole thing a couple of coats of mod-podge.
I made the ‘brick wall’ with a white tablecloth, red paint and a sponge, the idea for which I got from here(link).
The Great Hall
House Banner – http://unicornhatparty.com/tagged/printables/page/2
Munchkin painted the paper towel and toilet paper rolls with two coats of white paint after I made the wax drips with the hot glue gun. I admit to touching up the second coat, just a bit. 😬 We found tall battery-powered tea lights at the dollar store and I stuck pieces of double-sided foam tape squares onto the candles, without removing the paper from the other side so that they were removable. Check out this amazing example Then I used black streamers and balloons and a silver star garland cut in pieces to complete the ceiling. Oh, and a Dementor in the corner. Of course you can see the masking tape holding everything together but who’s looking? Right?? Haha!
To discourage the kids from going upstairs, I made the stairwell Aragog’s lair, then we also pushed an armchair against the bottom of the stairwell. Of course, once the girls got comfortable, there were a few who had to push the envelope and see if death really lurked upstairs. The death lurking in my glare acting as MacGonagall was enough to deter them. 👿 I used a spider decoration we have for Halloween that has tulle ‘web-things’ hanging down, then got a couple more spiders from the $ store and hung them from the edge. TIP: I used fishing wire to hang the spiders. To make sure they stay up, tie a few knots at the top of the fishing wire then do a criss-cross of masking or painting tape below the knots, so the fishing wire doesn’t slip.
The sign in the photo below reads “The third floor corridor is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death. – Albus Dumbledore” the idea for which I got from here, but I just typed it up myself using ___ font which I got here.
On the glass of the stairwell I used lipstick (from my wedding actually – ha!) to write “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened… enemies of the heir beware”. I could have spent more time making the letters look more like in the movie but it was one of the last things I did and I was just, D-done. I wanted to write this on the bathroom mirror, of the basement bathroom that I reno’d three years ago but I, ahem, haven’t installed the mirror yet. I did at least print up Moaning Myrtle and stick her on the toilet seat, and munchkin painted a rubber snake white that we put in the bathroom as well. I think the details were lost on most of the kids but we had fun doing it.
I also tried hot gluing these cute spiders onto the glass which I had read somewhere would work, but they started popping off after a few hours. I was wishing I had done it the day of the party because that would have been kind of cool but I didn’t have time to redo the day of. I used the little spiders in various places but my favourite was on the stair divider, I wedged their little legs into the burlap to mimic the spiders in the movie.
In order to keep my own brain organized, I made a schedule for the party and displayed it with Hedwig, a white owl I happened to find at Value Village for a few bucks, and the cauldron where I put the house badges for the sorting ceremony. I used the cauldron to gather up any supplies during the party like their ‘school bags’, their ‘textbooks’ and their candy bags for Honeydukes so that it was easy to organize and hand out as the guests were leaving.
I made little signs to put on doors that we wanted them to stay out of and found some great newspaper pictures here that I printed and tea-soaked before gluing to black poster board. I noticed that I lost a lot of the ink because I left them in the tea for too long so they look a bit faded but the munchkin decided she liked the effect.
I used our library as Diagon Alley for the beginning of the party, where the guests came to pick their wands (Follow this link for a great tutorial), their ‘Hogwarts: A History textbooks, a photocopied book with some HP activities from here and covers made of brown cardstock that I printed (here’s that file). This kept the guests busy while waiting for everyone to arrive. They also got their school bags which were just brown craft paper bags that I stuck the Hogwarts logo on that they needed for the Dementor piñata in The Defense Against the Dark Arts class.
I was lucky enough to have my lovely daughter and her friend helping with the party so after the all the guests had arrived they flipped the sign before closing the door and transforming the library into Hogsmeade, consisting of Honeydukes (I found the sign and labels here, found more glass containers at VV which was also an investment in my quest to get rid of plastic in our house), The Three Broomsticks where they could select between Pumpkin Juice (orange pop) and Butterbeer (cream soda – again we had plans to try out some of the great recipes out there but by the time we got to the party I had to simplify. We also had a big jug of ‘Elixir of Life’, otherwise known as H2O. Strangely, none of the guests asked for any. 😉 The labels for the drinks are available here.
I went to Bulk Barn and picked out candy that I thought would fit the labels, then I just made it work. From left to right, here’s the list of labels and candies I used.
Acid Pops – sour gummy worms
Mad-Eye Moody Balls – chocolate peanut butter balls wrapped in eyeball foil. Bonus of the munchkin’s birthday being in October, but maybe they’re always available.
Frogs – jelly frogs
Drooble’s Best-Blowing Gum – gumballs
Fainting Fancies – candy corn
Chocolate Wands – made these with pretzels dipped in white chocolate then rolled in sprinkles. Not sure exactly where I saw this idea on Pinterest, lots of people have pinned these. Delicious!
Jelly Slugs – gummy worms
We used the garage as the classroom and I didn’t worry about decorating it too much, some black streamers, the Dementor piñata and the potions bottles. I have an old bottle collection so that came in handy for the great potions labels I found here. Munchkin also cut some out and made some bizarre, ooey-gooey, sparkly potions in little glass vials from the dollar store. I hot-glued the lids on after to keep the yuck inside.
The first class was Charms and I kept it super simple, teaching them the Winggardium Leviosa charm and they used their wands to keep balloons in the air. They liked this activity and there was lots of giggling but it only held their attention for about ten minutes until I had to give them challenges to keep it going a bit longer since I had roughly planned for twenty minutes per class. I think a younger crowd would probably run with it for longer.
Platform 9 3/4 sign –
House Badges – http://www.dealwisemommy.net/2012/06/harry-potter-crafts/
House Banner printable – http://unicornhatparty.com/tagged/printables/page/2
Potions labels –
Food labels – http://justsweetandsimple.blogspot.ca/2011/07/harry-potter-party.html
Moaning Myrtle printable – http://umeandthekids.com/harry-potter-birthday-party-ideas/
WEBSITES WITH LOTS OF AMAZING HARRY POTTER RESOURCES