Harry Potter -18yr- Calligraphy Invite
Josh in Sacramento, CA
Harry Potter seems to get more and more popular every year. Nearly every child and adult, and nearly everybody in between is aware of Harry Potter nowadays. So, for my Birthday Party this year, I decided to use a Harry Potter theme. You may be considering going out somewhere or possibly staying home. I personally recommend staying home for the party, where you're on your own time schedule. For my party, I was turning 18, but this party can work for people of any age really, though some of the competitive elements may needed to be omitted for the younger crowd.
I started by making invitations a few weeks in advance. You can buy the Harry Potter calligraphy set (about $15) which includes Hogwarts envelopes, paper and a calligraphy pen, or you can do it the way I did it: Start with a piece of paper (any size will do) and bake it for a few moments. It may take a few times but the results are amazing. Then, purchase a pen(black is best) and write: Dear (insert character name)You have been accepted to Hogwarts school of Withcraft and wizardry. Please meet at Platform 9 3\4 on (Childs' Birthday). On the envelopes, address the party-goers as their corresponding Harry Potter character.
For my party, everybody had previously picked what character they wanted to be, and actually dressed up as that character! Dressing up as your favorite Harry Potter character isn't neccesary but is a lot of fun for role-playing in the Harry Potter Universe. Next, I purchased the Harry Potter movie soundtrack. I had arranged with a neighbor to post a sign that read "Hogwarts Express - Platform 9 3\4. Everybody met just before dark and then the Hogwarts Express pulled up (if you have access to a van or other large vehicle, post Hogwarts Express Signs on the sides and on the hood, using tape to fasten it) If you want, you can skip the Hogwarts Express altogether, though I thought it added a bit more to the party personally. When the guest pull up into the driveway, begin playing the Harry Potter Soundtrack (track 1 - Hedgwigs theme, is a song most anybody that has seen the movies is familiar with, track 2 is the great hall song).
For style you can add tiki torches that line a path to the door. As the Children Enter the House (Hogwarts) they are greeted by the sorting hat. It is very simple to create a virtually free sorting hat. Roll a black piece of construction paper into a tube and place on another piece of construction paper(square)then create a lid. Next, create a half cirle mouth, where kids each grab a piece of paper stating what House they're in. (For an extra touch, write something that the sorting hat would say such as "I know just where to put you, etc )Also, you could recite one of the poems from the book that the Sorting Hat says. You can divide the houses anyway you like, though I found that two houses works the best(Gryfinndor and Slytherin are the most popular rivals) However, you could also put everybody into one house. Following the sorting ceremony, the great feast occurs. You can choose whatever food you want, though be aware that children are often picky and something simple, such as Pizza or hot dogs, might be the best idea.
After the Great Feast, the children are led outside, where they play a couple of games at DIAGON ALLEY. A few ideas: ballon darts(blow up baloons with points inside them and tack them onto a wall or equivalent, the children try to pop them with darts), pin the hat on Dumbledore, and Harry Potter Jeopardy\Trivia Challenge. After this, you can, if you choose, have a treasure hunt for the Sorcerer's Stone, in which children are given clue cards (3X5 card in an envelope) to advance to various places. At the end, the children can find the Sorcerer's Stone and, for an added touch, you can use an old mirror for the mirror of Erised. You may choose to do the treasure hunt later, but I think it is fun to do the party in the same sequence of the books (sorrcerer's stone, chamber of secrets, etc) As always, it's up to you. After the games, you can lead the children back to the house (preffereably downstairs, such as a basement) to THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS. To add an extra bit of touch, you can purchase a black light fairly cheap, if not, a few candles lighting the area will do.
Also, if you have to travel downstairs you can always create a sign with construction paper that reads: "Enemies of the heir beware, the Chamber of Secrets has been opened" At the chamber of secrets, the children play a few games. One is Bertie Botts Beans testing, where the children each taste a bean in the dark and try to guess the correct flavor. I found that it is more fun to award teams points based on their victories and, heaven forbid, if a child acts up, subtract points as you see fit. For the Bertie Botts, you can just purchase a few Jelly Bellies, maybe a few known flavors and a few obscure. After that is fishing in the Lake. If you wish, you can create an elaborate story about the Giant Squid that lives in the lake that awards prizes. If you don't know how fishing works, its quite simple. Find an area that you can place a sheet (i.e; a doorway or hallway) and create a basic fishing pole from a stick, yarn, and a clothespin. It may seem juvenile, but it's still fun.
To play, Have the children throw the clothespinned line over, where somebody is waiting on the other side to attach a prize and yank the clotheline. A great place for prizes is the dollar tree, and the prizes don't have to be Harry Potter themed either. After, the chamber of secrets, comes my personal favorite part, QUIDDITCH. I found this to be the most enjoyable experience of the party. Depending on how many people are invited to the party, you can buy brooms for each partygoer. The Dollar Tree sells brooms for, you guessed it, a dollar! Adorning the brooms with names such as THE FIREBOLT, NIMBUS 2000, or NIMBUS 2001 and the childs' name adds a touch of realism and personalization. The way quidditch works is quite simple: think of it as soccer with brooms. Each child mounts their broom and is allowed to hit the ball with only the end of the broom. Each team also has a Keeper\Goalie that protects the goal. The first to a given amount wins, or you may choose to play multiple games. Points are awarded to the winners on each team. If this version of Quidditch is too complicated\competitive for the age group, you may consider an alternative version of Quidditch, where you paint ping pong balls gold and try to throw them into a coffee can.
After the Quidditch match, lead the group back into the house for cake and award the HOUSE CUP. The team with the most points at the end of the party wins a special prize. Depending on your budget, prizes can range from Bertie Botts every flavor Beans bag(about $5) to The Harry Potter DVD ($15-$20). Some other prize ideas are Chocolate Frogs ($3) Harry Potter Action Figures (about $6-$8) Books (softcover- $5-$8) Harry Potter Legos ($4+) or Harry Potter Soundtracks (about $15). After cake, everybody can wind down and watch the first 2 Harry Potter Movies. I hope some of these ideas have helped you in any way in planning your next Harry Potter themed Birthday Party. Good Luck and I'll see ya next time.