September 27, 2017

Harry Potter Party

This party took place in 2012, so this post has been a long time coming! Nowadays there are thousands of Harry Potter party posts and ideas, but hopefully you will find something worth taking a look at in my post. This was probably the most time-consuming party I have done. I made 2 invitations, costume pieces, decorations, potions, food, decorations, treat boxes, and wrote scripts for all of the activities we had!  But my kids and I think this was also the most fun party we have done. We are huge Harry Potter fans, so it was easy to get pulled into the fun themes. I'll try to be as descriptive as possible, but it's been 5 1/2 years! Haha. Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.

We actually had 2 invitations, which seems ridiculous, but we wanted a specific number of students for our activities (and Quidditch) and were willing to invite other friends to make the right number! All of the boys we invited were super excited to come, and we got a unanimous YES on all of the pre-invites. Noah was also very excited for this party - you only turn 11 once! And it happened to be his Golden Birthday also. (11 years old on the 11th.)
"It is real, isn't it? It's not a joke? Petunia says you're lying to me. Petunia says there isn't a Hogwarts.
It is real, isn't it?" ~ Lily Evans
You can find the printables for them on justsweetandsimple blog. (Check out all of her Harry Potter posts for some great ideas and printables!) In Microsoft Publisher I put the front and back on the same page, which when folded in fourths created the outside look of the envelope, and the inside information onto one sheet of paper for each. I printed them on parchment paper and then taped them shut. These would be great for a main invitation also for a party, but for ours, the boys were going to receive their official Hogwarts acceptance letters.

"It's real for us, not for her. But we'll get the letter, you and me." ~ Severus Snape
We formatted the letter after Harry's in the book (and hundreds of ideas online), and even had a pretty convincing signature from Professor McGonagall (find it on a Pinterest search). A ticket to board the Hogwarts Express was included in each invitation. All were printed on parchment paper and antiqued with an ink pad. Since our last name starts with H, it was an easy decision to invest in wax and a seal that I purchased at Michael's craft store. My son had been to all of his friend's homes, so I asked him where their bedrooms were located and we put that location on each envelope. We had originally planned on doing white helium balloons with owls drawn on them, but I just didn't want to spend the time to draw 12 owls on balloons!  Plus, some invitations were easier sent to school, and all weren't going to be delivered on the same day. So we opted for a printed white owl on card stock to be delivered with each invitation.


"Don't talk rubbish. There is no platform nine and three-quarters." ~ Muggle Vernon Dursley
I borrowed some decor items, like this Hogwarts Banner, from a friend who had a Harry Potter party for her son, and the rest I made, like the Hogwarts Express sign and the brick wall. For the wall, I bought an inexpensive twin-sized sheet and a large foam grout sponge and dipped the sponge in acrylic paint and then across the sheet. Afterward I cut an opening up the middle for the kids to go through. We had to remember to keep the front door open though in case any of them decided to run to get through!

"Gringotts, the wizard bank! Ain't no safer place. Not one. Except perhaps Hogwarts." ~ Rubeus Hagrid
I made a handled bag for each boy to keep all of their supplies in, and we wrote their names on the golden cups on each bag. I found the cup die cuts at the local dollar store in the teacher section. The House Cup trophies and gold coins were purchased at Zurcher's party store, and I taped white feathers to black pens for their quills.

For a free copy of the textbooks click here. Print, stack in the proper order and staple in the middle and they should line up in the correct order according to topic.

Fortius Quo Fidelius. "Strength through loyalty." ~ Gringotts motto
I think I tried a little too hard to make my son Noah's cake look messy. The result is that Hagrid's cake decorating skills in the movie look better than mine! Haha! And the cake box I bought from our local grocery store bakery was huge, so the result was quite comical, but it tasted good and my son was happy. :)  We had this cake on his actual birthday and I made gluten-free cupcakes (from a mix) for his party so one of the boys coming would finally be able to have one along with the rest of the kids. None of the other boys even noticed, but that boy was so excited he ate 4 and his mom cried because he was actually accommodated for! We had a list of safe items for him to eat with the rest of the meal also.

"Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you." ~ Albus Dumbledore
Here's our re-creation of the Great Hall banquet tables. I put clear plastic plates on gold chargers and the fancy silverware is actually plastic and purchased at the dollar store, as were the clear goblets. The house elves served chicken fingers, French fries, pumpkin juice (orange soda), butter beer (search online for a recipe - ours was just okay), a fruit platter, and fruit pasties. Don't laugh at my cupcakes please! They were supposed to be cauldron cakes, but I saved them for the last minute, so they didn't get their handles and were just a mess. Boys don't care! You can see the House Cup trophies on the shelf in the photo, and I made the drippy candles by dripping hot wax onto the edge of large pillar candles.


"Curious...very curious..." ~ Ollivander

"Not Slytherin, not Slytherin." ~ Harry Potter
After picking up their supplies from Gringotts Bank (shown in decor photo) and their textbooks from Flourish and Blotts, and wands from Ollivander's wand shoppe, the students proceeded to the sorting ceremony. My friend dressed as Professor McGonagall and proceeded to place the Sorting Hat on the heads of each child to be sorting into either Gryffindor or Ravenclaw by drawing a patch from a bucket. They then pinned on their patches (printed on card stock) and received their house scarves. I made the scarves from fleece, so they were quick and easy to sew together.

"You're saying it wrong. It's Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the "gar" nice and long." ~ Hermione Granger
My daughter and her friend were the teachers for one house for Charms, Ancient Runes and Transfiguration classes while my husband and I taught Potions class upstairs to the other house, and then we switched. Downstairs they worked on proper spell pronunciation and wand movements in Charms class and tried to levitate a feather. Then in Transfiguration lessons they attempted, without success, to turn a rat into a chalice. For their O.W.L.'s tests they used their quills to properly identify the people of the world of Harry Potter, deciphered ancient runes, and tried to answer trivia. I've included the scripts the teachers used for their classes.

Font for photos is named: Harry Potter and the Dingbats

"I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even put a stopper in death..." ~ Professor Snape
Some of the potions I had made previously to use as Halloween decorations, but we started saving up small glass bottles, and purchased a few new ones to make many, many more ingredients for potions. All of the ingredients were edible since the boys would be using them to create their own concoctions to drink. I'll list some of the foods/spices for ideas. Don't use anything that will make them sick, and make sure they don't have any allergies!!! Some (or all) of the combinations of ingredients sound pretty gross, but in small amounts they were all safe to be eaten. Encourage the kids to use no more than a small amount of each to avoid an explosion!

Liquids to use as a base: olive oil, pomegranate juice, sweetened colored water, karo syrup, colored water, fruit juice, vinegar, and pickle juice. Flaky things: shredded coconut, quick rolled oats, onion skins, dill weed, dried apples, dried carrots, dried peppers, dried minced onion, edible glitter. Chunky stuff: cocktail onions, candy sprinkles, caraway seeds, black licorice, decorating candies, poppy seeds, sea salt, and coarse sugar. Powders: cinnamon, decorators sugar, powdered sugar, baking soda, and all sorts of spices.

"Ooh, you look much tastier than Crabbe and Goyle, Harry," said Hermione.
I recommend at least 10ml to 20ml bottles to make the potions in, but I wouldn't go bigger than 20ml because you don't want them drinking enough to make them sick if they load it with grossness! I think that these Glass Bottles with Corks are a great size because they have a wider mouth opening for adding ingredients, especially chunky ones like the cocktail onions.
And even though it was entirely up to them, every single boy decided to drink the potion they made!
Look in the handbooks (linked above) or click to go to the Harry Potter Wiki page to learn what to name your ingredients for cool potions to create, like Polyjuice Potion!

"There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class." ~ Professor Snape
Stirring sticks and black bowls (salsa bowls) to mix our potions in were purchased at the dollar store.  The glass bottles with corks were purchased at Michael's craft store. The colorful vials were found at a party store.

"Brutal, but no one's died in years." ~ Fred Weasley
I purchased hula hoops from the dollar store and we hooked them to pieces of re-bar on opposite ends for our Quidditch goal posts. The two houses played against each other, so this is where the scarves were important to identify the team members. We had different sized balls for the Quaffle, and Bludgers. I don't remember exactly how we played because it's been too long, but I do know that someone was the Golden Snitch, and I believe it was my oldest son because he's really hard to catch! You can look up rules for how to play Quidditch and create your own game.

"Oh, of course, you wouldn't know - Chocolate Frogs have cards inside of them, you know, to collect..." ~ Ron Weasley

I found a free printable for the chocolate frogs box here. In Photoshop I made them a little more blue instead of the purple the printable had because that's how they looked to me in the movie. I found a printable for a Dumbledore Wizard Trading card,and then made one for Harry and Voldemort in Photoshop for a little more variety. This website has some great trading card ideas. My friend had a chocolate mold for the frogs and made them for me with melting chocolate. The boxes took quite a while to assemble, but they turned out looking great.

Here's the link for the Bertie Bott's boxes. I printed them on white cardstock and used baker's twine to tie up the tops. Let's face it. Gross flavored jelly beans are just - gross!  But we did want to have some in the boxes. So I bought a few boxes of the the gross ones and mixed about 5 of them in each of the boxes which had placed Jelly Belly jelly beans in bags.

For the Golden Snitches I used Ferrero Rocher chocolates and cut wings out of vellum paper to give them a semi-transparent quality.

Here are a few of the sweets signs I made for the party.

Under construction...

October 1, 2015

Broken Photo Links

I try to keep this blog active. My old photo system had to be changed, and I have to update each and every post, but I also have a job and a very busy life so it's not happening as quickly as I would like it to.

Many photos are on Pinterest and I'm sure that's what is bringing most of you to this site, but if there are photos or blog posts you really would like to see the entirety of, comment below and I will try to get those fixed first!!!

Thank you for your patience!

July 20, 2014

Lego Party

My son is a HUGE Lego fanatic.  Our whole family is actually - probably me most of all!  So the LEGO theme party was one we have been thinking of for years.  With the release of the LEGO MOVIE this year, it was sure to be AWESOME!  A huge bonus is that there are TONS of Lego-themed birthday parties out there for inspiration.  I used many of them for my son's party.  I'll include the links below with whatever I can, but take a peek at my LEGO board on Pinterest for even more ideas - or simply do a search.  One of the biggest problems I found with many of the other Lego Party ideas was that they were planned for much younger kids.  My son was turning 11, and didn't want "baby games".  :)

We used a pre-designed freebie from this website for the invitation with the font IMPACT for the words.  It's adorable, free, and fit well with the "building" theme that we had planned for the party.  We got them printed as 4x6 photos.

My daughter worked at a movie theater and got a LEGO MOVIE poster that we had framed for Evan.  It will go in his new Lego-themed bedroom, but we used it as decor for the party first.

Top right-clockwise: Giant Lego boxes wrapped with colored butcher paper. Pin the Head on the Lego Man board. Framed Lego Movie poster. Small Lego boxes and Lego Valentine's box.

Thanks to my AWESOME friend who had just had a Lego party for her son, I didn't make ANY of this decor!!  She had wrapped large boxes with colored butcher paper that we propped against the wall at one end of the dining room.  I don't know how long it took her to put all of those circles onto the green poster board with foam dots!  Really, that is something not even I would do ;)  But is super cute for a PIN THE HEAD ON THE LEGO MAN GAME.  She had also made about 10 heads to use, but my son thought this game was too young for his party, so we used it as a decoration instead.  For the food table I used my son's locker shelf to support the LEGO VALENTINE'S BOX that we made in this post out of a Red Vines licorice container.  She also made about 15 of the small Lego blocks out of Capri-Sun boxes.  We stacked them all around the food table.  After this party we used all of these decorations at my work for a party and then to a friend for parties for her two sons.  So they've been used for 5 parties and counting!!  Her hard work is MUCH appreciated!  Oh, and did you notice the Tt?  Only REAL Lego fans will understand.

The LEGO MOVIE soundtrack of course!  I downloaded it off Amazon which is quick and easy. And I think you get 4 different versions of the EVERYTHING IS AWESOME song!!!  Just what you wanted - right?  Well, these boys wanted to hear the full version of the BATMAN song - and yes, it's on there.

This is where we struggled to find games appealing to 11 year-olds.  But what we came up with was SUPER FUN!

Guess How Many Legos:
Each boy got to put his name and #guess on a paper.  At the end when we gave out the awards we gave the ESTIMATOR AWARD to the boy with the closest guess.

Lego People Race:
This game, as far as I know, is my original idea, and it turned out really well.The prep for this game was really fun for my son.  I had him build 50 Lego people with random hair, clothing, accessories.  Anything he wanted to build, any character. Yes, 50!  We have a lot of Legos so this wasn't a problem.  But if you didn't have that many, you could build simple objects also and play the game the same way.

My daughter took individual photos of each of them, then we pulled them all apart.  We didn't remove hands and arms - that's just cruel.  I took the photos and printed out 9/page like this on thick photo paper.
Lego People Race game cards. No Printable here. You have to make your own to match your Legos!

Then we cut them apart to make game cards.  I had my son decide how many points each character was worth depending on how many accessories they had, or things like how detailed their clothing was.  I didn't take the time to print them on the cards, we just wrote the points in the upper corner with a Sharpie pen.  They varied from 2 to 5 points.  I handed each boy a card face down and on my count they turned their card over and started assembling.  As soon as they completed one person they could move on to the next until all the cards were taken.
It was a mad grab for parts to assemble their Lego people.
Construction Games:
We filled Lego Grab Bags full of random Legos for each boy.  After picking one they got a large plate to keep them on and we started a series of timed individual building activities.  They got to use the people they built in the previous game as part of their building parts.
The Lego grab bags to build with.

They were given an object to build and about 3 minutes to do each one using only the Legos from their bag.  We did BEST HOUSE, TALLEST TOWER, and LONGEST BRIDGE.
The boys showing off their bridge building skills.

Working on their "Amusement Parks" for the group build.

Then they were paired in two teams for some group scene building on a base plate.  The first challenge was to build an AMUSEMENT PARK and describe it to me, and after mixing up teams a little, the next scene was to build a CASTLE.  The boys got about 7 minutes to start with, but kept asking for more time so I think on each one we spent around 12 minutes.

The last construction game we did was a ROCKET SHIP.  But after each boy had about 1 minute to start building, then they had to pass it to the left, build on the next one, and pass it after about 30 seconds.  The boys got really goofy with this one, so they were very interesting rockets, but they had a great time.

Memory Game:
We had also prepared a base plate with 20 random Legos with distinct names on it for a MEMORY GAME, but we had it hidden in the other room so they wouldn't see it - so we forgot about it!  Oh well.  But they would have had 1 minute to study the Legos, then have to write down as many items as they could remember.

Square pizza with pepperoni (that didn't quite look like the photo on the website - shocker!), colored Jello in cups, juice boxes, and a fruit tray.  The juice boxes were made from a printable I found here.

My friend loaned me her Building Bricks and Minifigure silicon molds to make the Legos and Lego men for these cupcakes.  I had never done melting chocolate before - and it was pretty fun!  In some ways easy, but a little tricky to get precise.  My best tool to fill in details was a plastic chopstick!  And even though I pushed chocolate down into each Lego bump, they still didn't come out perfect.  But were still super cute!  The faces were drawn with Wilton Edible Markers.

As the boys played the construction games I wrote down who I was going to give what award to.  The awards were bags of freezer pops, candy bars and Lego pencil sharpeners that I got from Dollar Tree.  The awards we gave were for ESTIMATOR, DESIGN, SPEED, CREATIVITY, RESOURCEFUL, ENGINEER, ARCHITECT, STRUCTURAL, and CARPENTER.  But you could come up with whatever fit your party.  The fonts I used for the tags were called Lego Thick, and Lego Brix - both downloaded online for free.

We also gave them a bag of block candies that I bought in the bulk candy section of WinCo grocery store, or you can find them on Amazon here.

The Lego Movie wasn't released on DVD yet when we had my son's party, or we would have made it a little longer and watched the movie at the end.  The boys had a great time, and my son thought EVERYTHING WAS AWESOME!