Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Harry Potter theme birthday party

Manasi turned 11 this year. And she has been expecting a letter to arrive from Hogwarts any minute now - she recently finished reading the entire series, and has watched all 8 movies many, many times!! It doesn't really help when I'm as obsessed as she is - to the extent that both of us can recite from the books and movies verbatim - and can spend hours analyzing actions and thoughts of the characters from this incredible, magical world!!

Well, obviously she's not going to get an acceptance letter from Hogwarts - but I thought it would be fun to throw her a Harry Potter theme party to celebrate her 11th!! First place to start - Google, of course! - and pretty soon, I was knee-deep in ideas!! Being in China did limit certain things - I couldn't just walk into a Walmart and buy what I needed - but managed to work around that with my good friends, Amazon and Taobao!! I have to admit, I did get a little (just a tiny bit!) carried away - but this was easily the funnest party I have ever planned!!

This post is not really about the party itself - read about that here - this one is more like a DIY post - or how I planned my Harry Potter party. Not taking credit for any of these ideas - most of them are variations, combinations or spin-offs from what I found on Google - but the spirit is all mine!! This is the first time on the blog that I've done a list - yes, me with a list, wonders never cease!! - anyway, here goes!!
  • Invitations - The first thing on the list, this was!! I decided to model the party invite on the Hogwarts acceptance letter - the one thing Manasi really was waiting for!! The stationary was simple - ordered cream-color cards and envelopes from Amazon, nothing too fancy or expensive! Since we wouldn't be delivering the envelopes by owl-mail, I put a picture of an owl on the front, with the recipients address. To seal the envelope, I was hoping to get a 'H' stamp and green ink - couldn't find either one - the workaround was to print a large calligraphy H on the back of the envelope. The wording of the invite - quite similar to the actual acceptance letter - I especially loved the 'Department of Magical Celebrations' touch!!

  • Decorations - This was a little tricky - we knew our house would be packed up before the party, so we would have very little to work with. I ordered an 'Insta-theme' - stairway, window and torch props - which actually looked very nice and added an instant Hogwarts feeling to our house!! We had a bunch of candles that the movers would not pack - couldn't figure out a way to get them to float, though!! At the last minute, I thought it would be fun to have a 'Platform 9 3/4' banner, and a brick wall for the kids to walk through in our foyer - really easy to make, and really added to the feel!! A long white table to recreate the Great Hall, and we were done. Very minimalistic, but set the mood perfectly!!

  • Accessories - What's a Harry Potter party without wands?? There's all kinds of fancy wands available online, with all kinds of fancy price tags - I didn't really splurge on this, bought the most basic available!! With the wands, house ties for the all important Sorting - once again, available on taobao - the striped ties in the house colors were a really great buy!! I had my heart set on getting T-shirts with a 9 3/4 logo on them - but taobao didn't have these in kids sizes - but never fear, we're in China!! A quick trip to Decathalon, and I had the T-shirts I wanted, with the logo and sizes I needed!! In addition, for the goody bags - broomstick pens (Amazon) and Time Turner necklaces (taobao)!

  • Activities - Well, the Sorting, of course!! While we waited for everyone to arrive before we could begin the Sorting Ceremony, the girls played a game called Bean-Boozled - remember, Bertie Bott's Every-Flavor Beans? This version has all kinds of disgusting flavors - rotten egg, moldy cheese, barf, dog poop, baby wipes, booger - to name a few!! I have to admit, I was too chicken to try anything - the girls, on the other hand, were quite enthusiastic!! For the Sorting, I had the girls pull a House name from a bag and hand it to me - I then announced the House in my best(!) Sorting Hat voice, after which the the girls got their wand and House tie! The highlight of the afternoon was to be Quidditch! We had goal posts made from hula hoops attached to old curtain posts - and Ajey and I had been brainstorming for weeks to come up with a game that would be age-friendly, fun, and still Quidditchy!! And we did - complete with Quaffle, Bludgers and the cutest little Minion-mini-copter Snitch!! The finale - a surprise for Manasi - was a magician we had hired, the perfect touch, isn't it??

  • Food - Manasi wanted a feast to magically appear, just like in the Great Hall - quite a tall order to fill!! Most of her friends are quite picky eaters, so I decided to keep it simple - still had a feast though!! 2 types of sandwiches - egg salad and tomato-cheese - chicken nuggets, french fries, cookies, and birthday cake, of course!! There are quite a few recipes available online to make butter beer - I was leaning towards making root beer floats - in the end, just got bottles of soda. Easier, less hassle!! Gold serving trays and candles made the perfect atmosphere!!

Having a theme party is always a bit of a challenge - getting details right for the 'experts', and at the same time, keeping it generic enough for those who haven't yet caught the bug. Harry Potter - even if kids haven't read the books, they will have at least watched the movies - so even younger kids will be familiar with the general idea! At the end of the day, as long as everyone's having fun, it's a great party - even if that means deviating from the theme!!

1 comment:

  1. OMG, That party looks perfect, I love the Wall decals you used to make it give the feel of HP.

    xoxo - Style.. A Pastiche