Plan the ultimate Harry Potter party for kids
Whether you’re hosting a Hogwarts’-themed birthday party or a bash to celebrate the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” you have a great excuse to let your creativity run wild. Harry Potter-themed parties are most successful when they include all of the elements kids love most: magical or spooky décor, fun foods and drinks, and plenty of games and activities.
Here are several tips to help you plan a spellbinding soiree kids will adore just as much as the beloved Harry Potter books and movies.
To best channel the bewitching world of Harry Potter, turn to the Halloween decorations you already own, or those you are able to find on clearance after the holiday passed. Below is a list of several Halloween-inspired decorations or accessories that will work just as well for this party theme:
- Fake cobwebs
- Brick or medieval-themed wall covers
- Fake owls, ravens, bats, and spiders
- Apothecary jars
- Witch hats
You can also hang movie posters on the wall, or prop the Harry Potter books and DVDs on snack and drink tables.
Kristl Story, administrator of TheBudgetDiet.com, says, "We had my son's Harry Potter party outdoors in the woods. The natural setting was ideal and free!"
Story recommends a sweet snack that doubles as a party activity: frosted ice cream cones that kids decorate themselves using crushed candy and sprinkles to resemble wizard hats.
Sara Gaum, owner of VendorBar.com, suggests serving chocolate covered pretzel "wands" for dessert. "Buy extra long pretzel sticks, dip the ends in melted chocolate and roll the pretzels in bite-sized candy like Reese's Pieces or mini chocolate chips," she explains.
For additional snack ideas, check out "The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook," by Dinah Bucholz, or try any of the recipes below:
- Wizard's crystal cheese ball with celestial chips
- Chocolate and vanilla hoot owl cookies
- Black cat cupcakes
Story recommends serving the following swamp-inspired punch from a cauldron.
- A two-liter bottle of Sprite® or Seven-Up
- A large bottle of white grape juice
- A 12-ounce can of frozen limeade concentrate
- A drop or two of green food coloring to achieve your desired swamp color
Mix all ingredients and chill the punch; then add one package of gummy worms to the punch just before serving.
Games and activities are essential at kids' parties because they help ensure that children are having fun, are easy to supervise, and are channeling their energy and excitement in a positive way.
For Harry Potter-themed parties Gaum recommends using a "sorting hat" to divide the kids into teams. "Prior to having the kids participate in games or challenges, get an oversized hat—a witch's hat will work fine—to divide the kids into four teams based on the four houses in the books: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. The teams can then compete in the various games for prizes."
Below are several activities Gaum recommends, based on subjects taught at Hogwarts:
- Ancient Runes: Create word jumbles using Harry Potter words and characters, such as "muggle," "wizard," and "Hagrid."
- History of Magic: Test kids on their trivia knowledge of Harry Potter or use the game Scene It?, Harry Potter edition.
- Divination: Get a friend to dress up as a fortune teller and tell the kids their future with a crystal ball, tea leaves, or tarot cards.
- Herbology: Have the children decorate pots and then plant seeds or sprouts to take home with them as party favors.
- Flying: Limbo under the quidditch broom
- Apparition: Take one child out of the room. Use a blanket to cover one of the remaining children and then mix up the following kids. Bring back the child you took out of the room and ask him or her to identify who disappeared.