How to Host the Perfect “Harry Potter”-Themed Birthday Party
If you’re like me, the idea of hosting parties is pretty scary. I’m not much of a social person, but when my 18th birthday rolled around, I felt the need to host a large party. Everyone at school knew me as “that Harry Potter nerd,” so I decided why not stay true to my title and have a Harry Potter-themed party. Let me walk you through how I pulled it off.
There are many moving parts when it comes to preparing for a party, but personally, I feel like the invitations are the most important. Much like a novel’s “hook” sentence or review, a party’s “hook” is the invitations. This was by far the most time-consuming part of the preparation, but it was totally worth it. For this party, the invitations were made to look like Hogwarts Acceptance Letters to match the Harry Potter theme. It took me a few tries to get my design right, so I recommend designing your invitation on your computer and printing just one personalized invitation first.
It is all too easy to stress out about keeping everyone entertained. The best advice I’ve heard regarding this is “people tend to entertain themselves.” Keeping this in mind, I decided to have three types of activities or social areas. There was a social gaming area, a crafting area, and a mellow area with a movie going on in the background.
For this party, I started off by giving everyone either a pin or handstamp of their Hogwarts House. Throughout the whole party, I had Harry Potter movies playing in the living room to give people a place to rest or escape socializing if needed. For the more competitive guests, there was a Cup Pong game set up in the garage, and each House played against each other for points. To make things more interesting in the final rounds, each group had to bounce their ball through cardboard Quidditch hoops for additional points. In the end, Slytherin won.
No party is complete without a little DIY. At this party, there was a crafting station where guests could make their own wands. It isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money on the craft section. All you need are wooden dowel rods, hot glue, glitter, and paint. The hot glue can be used to give the wand some shape; that could be a handle or a spiral up the wand. After the shape has been formed, the guests can color their wand with brown paint. Finally, add a little magic sparkle with your glitter. There are many ways to make a wand. Take a moment to look through some other MuggleNet articles on DIY wands.
Note: If you choose to use glitter, be prepared for it to get everywhere. I highly recommend getting a very large plastic tarp to set under the crafting table. Do not use towels unless you are prepared to throw them away after; if you try to wash them, then your next load of laundry will be covered in sparkles. If it happens to rain and you used an outdoor carpet under your crafting table (and your mom won’t let you throw it away), use a wet vacuum to get as much of the glitter out as possible, and then offer to clean the whole house as an apology for not getting them all out. Because you will not get them all out. I promise. I tried.
Many people have different food preferences, so it helps to have a variety of things. At the beginning of the party, while people were still showing up, all the guests were gathered in the dining room to decorate some sugar cookies. Everyone enjoys frosting cookies, especially when they get to eat them afterward. In the movie area and the Cup Pong area, there was a variety of chips set out for guests to snack on. There were also some homemade strawberry jam tarts stationed around the house. Near the wand-crafting station was a firepit. Comfy chairs were stationed around for guests to hang out and socialize while roasting S’mores.
For dinner, there was a homemade pizza station where everyone could make their pizza however they liked. Some Butterbeer was prepared for guests to enjoy after dinner when everyone was gathered in the living room to watch A Very Potter Musical. No party is complete without cake. The cake was brought out with the Butterbeer, and there were ice cream options available if the guests preferred it.
I encourage you to take a look at MuggleNet’s own recipe book to pick out some tasty beverages, appetizers, meals, and desserts for your party. Rosmerta’s Recipes has more than 100 amazing recipes. Be sure to make your food ahead of time; this allows you to make mistakes and discover if you like the recipe before feeding it to everyone at the party.
With the main focus being on the activities, I didn’t stress too much when it came to decorations. Take a moment to think about what Harry Potter scene you are interested in replicating. I was aiming for a Hogwarts Great Hall theme, so I bought a lot of battery-powered candles to station throughout the house. I also bought a Platform 9 3/4 shower curtain and hung it in front of my front door. All of these decorations were found on Amazon. I recommend looking at MuggleNet’s craft page. There are tons of articles for various decorations to choose from with very easy instructions to follow.
Hopefully, the idea of hosting a party sounds a little easier with this guide. If you have ever hosted a Harry Potter party, I would love to hear about your experience! Haven’t hosted one yet? Let me know what ideas you have in the comments!