The party was amazing. AMAZING! (If I do say so myself...) The kids had a wonderful time, the parents were blown away, and I didn't even end up with migraine! My husband and I spent countless hours planning, creating, and preparing for this party; It was worth every minute.
Upon arrival, children were escorted through the front door, which had been transformed into Platform 9 3/4. I made a Platform 9 3/4 sign by painting a piece of wood red, then using my Silhouette to cut "HOGWARTS EXPRESS" from sparkly gold paper. I Mod Podged the letters to the board, along with a Hogwarts crest that I found on Google Images, then printed and cut. I used a bowl to draw a circle on the board, painted it white, then drew and painted the 9 3/4 with black paint. I think it looks pretty close to the sign from the movie!
The brick wall was made from a light blue sheet that I picked up at Goodwill. My husband cut it to fit our doorway, then drew the bricks on with a Sharpie. He also cut the slit for the kids to run through. I spray painted it red, keeping the spray can at a bit of a distance so as to create an uneven look, like bricks.
I made this flag to hang outside our house. Sort of like balloons for a regular party, right? The how-to for the flag can be found here.
Inside our house, the kids found The Great Hall, with a nighttime sky on the enchanted ceiling.
In the books and movie, robes are a must-have at Hogwarts. I sewed a robe for each of the kids, nine total. They took me about a half-hour each, although eventually I just assembly-lined them, doing all the ironing at one time, hems at one time, etc.
After they had their robes, the children were taken to Ollivander's Wand Shop. There, they could choose a wand. My husband carved unique patterns into all of the wands. Didn't he do an incredible job?
The kids decorated their wands with markers.
They also could choose Phoenix feathers or dragon scales for the core of their wands. My husband drilled holes into one end of each wand. The kids stuffed them with feathers and small jewels (dragon feathers), and then I sealed the holes with hot glue.
Next was the Sorting Hat. I created this hat using crumpled brown paper bags. I hot glued torn pieces of the bags to a black witches hat that we had in our dress up clothes. I tried to make the face look like the hat from the movie--My son loved it, but I'm not so sure.
I thought long and hard about how to have the Sorting Hat speak. We thought about walkie-talkies or recordings. But eventually, we decided to go with a baby monitor. We hung a the speaker-end of the monitor inside the Sorting Hat, then put the other end in our basement. My husband went downstairs and spoke into the baby monitor as the Sorting Hat, so it sounded like the hat was talking. It worked perfectly--One of the dad's even asked me afterwards how we did it. Success!
After being sorted, we went to Potions Class. Each child got a small ceramic cauldron (found at JoAnn's). The first potion contained an explosive clear liquid (water), jellyfish serum (bubble solution), and fire rocks (dry ice). The kids were amazed by this.
We had to rinse out the cauldrons between potions, so the kids spent the time stupifying each other. We brought the benches for our picnic table inside and covered them with Dollar Store black tablecloths (same for the table). It really added to the look of The Great Hall.
The next potion was a mixture of water and Iocane Powder (cornstartch). This went unbelievably well. Everybody had fun mixing, then being shocked that their solid turned "runny." One kid said, "It's like a solid liquid!" Yup, you got it.
This made a huge mess, so I was very glad that we had put down the tablecloths.
After Potions was over, it was time for a little QUIDDITCH!
Everybody got a broom, made from sticks and brush, found on the side of the road, courtesy of my hubby.
We had three foam balls, all red--One large one that was the Quaffle and two smaller ones that were the Bludgers. The kids were separated into two teams. They had to try to get the Quaffle through one of the hoops, but if they were hit by a Bludger, they had to drop the Quaffle. They also had to stay on their brooms.
The rings were made by spray painting hula hoops that were nailed to wood, stuck in the ground. There were three on each side, just like in real Quidditch.
That's a Bludger.
Prior to the party, I spray painted a golf ball gold, then hid it in our yard. We chose a Seeker from each team, and rotated the Seekers each time a team scored--Those kids were responsible for searching the yard for the Golden Snitch. Here it is after being found.
Quidditch took a lot of energy, so it was time for some food! Cake time! My son wanted a Golden Snitch cake--No pressure there, right? This is what I came up with:
I have a lot of pictures from the making of this cake, so I'll post a how-to sometime in the near future. In case you're wondering, though, yes, the wings are edible too!
Edit: Here's the how-to on the cake.
This was the coolest part of the cake by far--It was filled with Jelly Bellies, i.e.. Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans! When I cut the first piece out of the cake, the Jelly Bellies all spilled out too. The kids (and adults!) thought that it was pretty amazing. One of the dads was completely incredulous that I had made the cake--He told me that it was "just so magical." Talk about a compliment!
We also served Butterbeer. It was Cream Soda (CAUTION: Be sure to buy non-caffeinated soda! The first time my husband bought it, I checked the can and it had caffeine. Can you even imagine?!?), mixed with Butterscotch Syrup. I served it in small Ball glass jars that I had put in the freezer before the party, and then sprayed some Ready-Whip on top. I liked it, so did a few of the kids, but I'm not sure I'd make it again...
So that's our party! I forgot to take any pictures of the invitations--They were invitations to Hogwarts, printed on parchment paper, then sealed with red wax and the Hogwarts H. I'll see if I can scrounge one up for pictures. I think the reason this party worked so well was because of all the prep-time. We also kept each activity to 15 minutes, so nobody got bored. Everything moved quickly and fluidly, because of the preparation. My son said that it was the best party he'd every been to, and, pardon my lack of humility here, I'm going to have to agree with him!
I'm linking up to these parties: