My birthday was yesterday, and this year I really wanted to celebrate! Multiple parties, themed events, and general merry-making all week long. Since the actual day fell on a Thursday though, some tweaks were necessary. I informed Rachel that my deepest birthday desire was a Harry Potter party, it's what I would have seen in the Mirror of Erised, and she set to the task with alacrity.
The festivities went down last Saturday night, and it was amazing! We had a Honeydukes counter, an Azkaban Wanted poster photo spot, a Sorting Hat ceremony, wands, house scarves, themed drinks, and many fabulous rounds of 'Who Am I?' played with Harry Potter characters. The pièce de résistance of the night was, hands down, my incredible Snitch cake made by Rachel's mother! I have never before had such a gorgeous and detailed cake! I nearly cried.
It was a costume party, and everyone was instructed to come as a character from the books. We had Hermione, Slythern Harry Potter, Ginny Weasley, Filch, baby Harry Potter, along with a dead Lily and James Potter, Voldemort, two Professor Trelawneys, a young genderbent Hagrid, Hedwig, and my mom came as Rowena Ravenclaw! I was so impressed with the variety and enthusiasm of costumes, it made my heart absolutely soar! If you have a Harry Potter party then I highly recommend that you make it a costumed affair!
Rachel scoured the web for tons of games and activities, but only a few were feasible. The Sorting Ceremony was one of the best parts of the night. She printed off a piece of paper with each House name enough times to cover all of the guests. She chose a heavy yellowed paper, the Harry Potter font, and cut each House name out onto its own slip. Then she burned the edges and stuck all of the slips into a goblet. It was a nice mix of Sorting Ceremony and the name pulling from the Goblet of Fire! She even had a Sorting Hat! So, we each took turns with the hat on our head while fishing around in the goblet for a slip of paper. After that, we were given a corresponding house color scarf (made by Rachel!) that we wore for the rest of the night.
We had the Harry Potter soundtracks playing in the background, and the first movie playing on the TV for a total Harry Potter audio visual experience. The majority of the night was spent snacking on our Honeyduke's haul, non-themed chips, veggies, and pizza, and refreshing ourselves with Butterbeer, Amortentia, and Veritaserum. Rachel found what is said to be the Butterbeer recipe from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and made a giant batch of it, complete with foam. For a greater drink variety it was easy and fun enough to turn Sprite and strawberry soda into Veritaserum and Amortentia, respectively, simply by adding new labels to the bottles. We did bare bones hand drawn things, but I know the web is crawling with awesome printables that we just didn't have time for! (A quick search for 'harry potter party printables' provides a gold mine.)
The photo booth was really easy to make, and was a lot of fun for everyone. It also made for a sort of souvenir/party favor in the way of a personal photo, which I liked! Most stores have large pieces of cardboard from shipping boxes and they probably wouldn't mind if you asked to take some home. From there you'll need a box cutter, a long ruler, and a cutting surface. I'm sure you could hack at the cardboard sheet with scissors in a desperate situation, but the lines wouldn't be as clean. I dabble in sewing, and box cutters are quite handy, so I happened to have all relevant materials. After cutting out the large hole for actual photo purposes it was only a matter of decorating with a fat black sharpie. We took cues from another party and made a prisoner number sign for everyone to hold. After a few minute's deliberation we decided to go with my first and middle initial, as well as my birthday in the British format. It is a decision that I remain pleased with!
It was a magical, wonderful birthday party and I am so thankful for it! I haven't had a themed party... well, ever, maybe? I don't remember having any as a child, and I certainly haven't had one as an adult. Everyone should try it at least once! Honestly I may have to have a theme for every birthday from now on! If anyone out there has done a theme for their birthday, I would love to hear about it! I would especially love to hear from other folks who have had a Harry Potter birthday party!