My darling daughter turns 14 later this week. That’s her, on the front right. She’s next to her little brother. who himself just turned 11 this past December and is now old enough to attend Hogwarts. It was February of 2003; Order of the Phoenix had not yet hit book stores and there were only two HP movies so far.
While I sit and try to absorb these amazing thoughts and all the years my family has loved Harry Potter and the ways we’ve chosen to express that appreciation, it’s easy to remember when birthday parties were much more important than birthday presents.
I thought I’d take this week leading up to my daughter’s next step towards adulthood and relive a little of that young girl fandom love by sharing how we sent our kids and their friends to Hogwarts for a Very Magical Sleepover. Maybe the next time you feel like having a little adventure, you can go to Hogwarts, too!
The invitation you use is the best way to get your party started! Create a letter from Hogwarts to the prospective “students” using the format of Harry’s first letter. Be sure to include party time, location, and what to bring (if it’s a sleepover, etc) and where to send reply “by owl” (email, phone number, etc.)
We printed our invitations on yellow parchment (from the local craft store) using the Lumos font and printed in, what else, emerald-green ink! These were rolled into scrolls and sealed with wax. I got the parents of the kids invited involved by hand delivering each invite so the parents could tell the kids an owl had stopped by with a letter for them!
To use the swirly and signature graphics, right-click and save!
- parchment paper
- Lumos Font
- image – Professor McGonnagall’s signature (from the American editions of Harry Potter)
- image – “swirly” (also from the American eds.)
Here’s a sample letter:
We are pleased to inform you that you are invited to [reason for party], a Very Magical Sleepover [what we called our party]!
The party will be at [location], [location address]. It will take place [day, date & time].
Please bring your sleeping bag, pillow, pjs, toiletries, and any other muggle items you may need.
Student Uniforms will be provided.
We await your owl by no later than [RSVP date] (or you can call [name, phone and/or email]).
Decorations can be simple and inexpensive. Be creative and use what you have on hand. Look at thrift shop and dollar stores for interesting “magical” items, potions bottles, interesting looking props, out of season Halloween costumes and decorations.
These are some of the decorations we used for our party:
Great Hall Enchanted Ceiling
- Navy Blue Plastic Tablecloth
- Glow in the Dark Stars
- Low Temp Glue Gun
- thumbtacks or push pins
Glue stars on plastic tablecloth in a random pattern. Use thumbtacks to hang over the eating area.
- Empty Spice Bottles
- chopped celery (dragon claw)
- whole nutmeg (bezoars)
- Pop Rocks Candy (fire crystals)
- Food coloring (colored water for various potions)
Fill the empty bottles with a variety of contents. These are just suggestions, use what you have on hand for your own variety.
Party favors, class supplies and the feast, all add to the atmosphere. More on that in the next Harry Potter Party revisit!