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June 19, 2017

Josie's Harry Potter Birthday party

Over the years, we’ve thrown some pretty incredible themed birthday parties and if you’ve followed me long enough, you know my husband has quite a love affair with Harry Potter. This year, Josie was finally turning the magical age of 11, so on June 10th, we held a Harry Potter birthday party for 9 of Josie's friends.

While it started out like planning for any other birthday party, it quickly began to take on a life of its own. Thank goodness Chris hosts an annual Yule Ball each winter in his school district and both his elementary school offices are filled with HP decorations.

In addition to my husband’s decorations, I wanted to offer a few surprises to Josie and her crew and I found Pinterest to be hugely helpful. We might be one of the biggest Harry Potter families, but there are lots of other fanatics who have done equally amazing Harry Potter parties.

Because Josie was having both girls and boys at her party, we didn’t have a sleepover. My compromise was a 5 hour party instead ( read that correctly…Chris and I were exhausted when it was done). I wanted the party to feel like a real day at Hogwarts, not a birthday party with games and the like.
The activities
Kids arrived and entered into Hogwart's via Platform 9 ¾ . You’ll recognize this from Chris’s school events.

They then spent time posing by the Hogwart’s Express made from refrigerator boxes. We can’t take credit for this. One of Chris’s coworkers (and incredibly talented art teacher) made this for their Yule Ball. The fog machine from our Halloween parties completes the look.

Professor Dumbledore (my husband) escorted them to Diagon Alley where kids were given special wands made from wooden dowels, hot glue and paint. The wand boxes were estate sale piano rolls boxes.

After that, we proceeded with a sorting hat ceremony. You’ll notice even our sunroom year-round tree, even got a HP makeover.

It was a beastly hot day during the party, so we divided up the party into outdoor and indoor activities. Some of the indoor activities included decorating their swim noodle broom handles or creating/naming their owl made from helium balloons and markers. 
The swim noodle and yellow plastic tablecloth (fringed with scissors) were purchased from Dollar Tree. I also found all sorts of decorative tape at Dollar Tree that they used on their broom handles.

The kids loved designing and naming their owls.

I loved seeing how creative they got with their pets.

Some of the outdoor activities included a potion class (which was a huge hit), a scavenger hunt in the Forbidden Forest, Charms class, flying lessons and casting spells at Dementors. 
For the potions class, I saved party favor cauldrons from Halloween (one per child) and then we collected all sorts of bottles and filled with secret ingredients that they mixed together. We used baking soda, vinegar colored water and dish soap to create bubbling potions.
The Food
We were able to borrow a large folding table so that all 10 guests could be seated together in the Great Hall.
The kids feasted on pizza, snacks and butter beer. The butter beer recipe was super easy...cream soda, butterscotch syrup and whipped cream.
I found the glass mugs at Dollar Tree and washed them up before they went home as a souvenir. 
I wanted to give each child a chocolate frog, but they were so expensive online, so I ordered a frog chocolate mold and Josie helped me make frogs.
Rather than a birthday cake, we made owl cupcakes from slivered almonds (feathers), a walnut sliver (beak) and candy eyeballs and miniature cookie wafers.
We also made golden snitches from Ferrero Rocher chocolates and taped tiny wings made from Velium paper.
The Decorations
The store “Five Below” had Harry Potter paper products and looked great on our Great Hall table.
One of my favorite decorations was the battery operated candles hanging in our dining room. Those also came from Dollar Tree and we’ll be using these candles again at Halloween. 
I also loaded Chris’s HP decorations on top of our fireplace mantle and completed the look with a bunch of Hogwart’s letters flying out of the fireplace (made from fishing line and tape).
After Josie opened gifts, the kids had some free play time where they ran off their sugar high on their brooms throughout the yard and posed for pictures.
We ended the night with about 30 minutes watching the first Harry Potter movie. 
 It was an awesome birthday and I honestly don’t think we can top this one.