On the Children's Shelf: A Harry Potter Party

Our Hogwarts letters arrived!!!!! Yes, you read that correctly. Letters flew out of our fireplace into our living room. My children were over the moon and ready to pack their bags. 
Birthdays in our house are close together. I'm always happy when my children come up with a party theme together as it makes planning so much easier. I was especially thrilled when they asked if this year's theme could be Harry Potter. 
They asked for Harry Potter, and I was determined to transform our house. I will share what we did so your house can become Hogwarts too!
First, the letters. Our first introduction to Hogwarts in book one is all those letters being sent to Harry. My favorite part is when the letters fly out of the fireplace and knew I needed to find a way to do that in our house. This was the easiest decoration and was the biggest hit. I printed out Harry's address on white paper, cut it to envelope size, drew the back folds on the envelope and strung them up on string going from our fireplace to the ceiling. When my children walked in and saw them, they were thrilled.
We packed up Harry's luggage, consisting of old suitcases from my mom's attic, a broom, a cauldron (which was surprisingly easy to find at party stores in the St. Patrick's Day decoration section), and of course an owl in a cage. I didn't have a cage but thankfully found one on my town's Facebook tag sale page. Harry was ready to leave for school, and all his supplies were packed up near the door.
My children asked if there was any way they could walk through the brick wall to get to platform 9 3/4. I love a challenge, and this one was pretty easy to resolve. I bought a $2 disposable table cloth and painted bricks onto it. I printed out a 9 3/4 platform sign I found online and covered our back door.
The great thing about throwing a Harry Potter party is you can reuse lots of your Halloween decorations. I raided our Halloween bins and gathered up pumpkins, a couple of skulls, and anything that looked like a witch or wizard might use it. Then I rummaged through the Easter bins to find the most unusual eggs to be used as dragon eggs.
I gathered some of the pumpkins and lots of plants from around my house to set up Professor Sprouts Herbology class. The more unusual looking the plant was, the better. I combined succulents and plants with giant leaves and some unusual pumpkins, and it immediately felt like it could be a table in Professor Sprout's classroom.
If Professor Sprout was going to have an Herbology table, then I knew Professor Snape needed a potions section. A few years ago, I found a bottle shaped like a skull. I labeled it "Polyjuice Potion." I then gathered any unusual shaped bottles I could find and filled them with all sorts of fun stuff. We labeled a jar of pine cones "dragon scales." Another bottle contained "unicorn hair." 
You can't be Harry Potter without a wand. We decided to make our wands part of dessert. We took pretzel wands and dipped them in chocolate and covered them all with different sprinkles. 
Lastly, every party needs games. We played "pin the lightning bolt" on Harry Potter. I drew a quick sketch of Harry and drew lightning bolts on labels. The kids loved seeing whose lightning bolt was closest and whose was furthest. We decided to add a photo booth which was simple and so much fun. We printed images of owls, Hogwarts express tickets, a Triwizard cup, and a few other Hogwarts items, and we love looking back at the all the fun pictures they took.
Hopefully this helps if you are thinking about throwing your own Potter Party!


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