You’re invited to Hogwarts
Imagine a child’s excitement at receiving an invitation to spend the night at Hogwarts from Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall.
There’s no limit to how creative you can be when hosting a Hogwarts experience that your child and his/her friends will be talking about for months!!
Out of all the theme parties I have thrown for my children’s birthdays, this is still my favorite and the one the kids remember most. That could be because I, too, read all the books and am a huge fan of the series.
The complete Harry Potter Party planning guide (PDF file) includes details on creating the invitation, decorations, games, activities, and party plan in more detail.
You can use all the ideas or just a few based on your budget. The decorations take some time to make, so plan and make items weeks ahead.
The following is a brief overview of the party
The Hogwarts Experience
- I printed some portraits of the professors and temporarily replaced the photos in the dining room with these.
- I also found a Moaning Myrtle image, printed it, and put it on the bathroom wall.
- In the dining room I collected all the candles I had around the house to group in the center of the dining room table.
The children arrive via the Hogwarts Express through the invisible wall and ring the doorbell. In costume, you answer and introduce yourself as the Headmisstress and welcome them to Hogwarts.
The Sorting Hat decides which house each child is assigned (Gryffindor or Hufflepuff), and they receive a Hogwarts shirt for the appropriate house. A group “class” photo is taken with all of them wearing their Hogwarts shirts.
Craft project – Paint flower pots
Each child decorates a flower pot that will be used later in Charms class. The shirts double as protection for the kids’ clothes.
Believe me…this is phase one of the best part of the whole sleepover, but the magic isn’t revealed until later. 🙂
The Golden Snitch game
Order the pizza before starting the game.
Explain that there are ping pong balls hidden around the home (or outside) with points on them. To score points for your house, you must collect the balls and return them to be added to the scoreboard. The special “Golden Snitch” painted gold gets a bonus 100 points for the finder’s house. The house with the most points by cake time will win.
Give out some additional house points throughout the evening for “neatest eater”, “most creative painted pot”, or anything funny or crazy you can think of.
Pizza time! Ask if anyone would like some “Butter Beer”, and serve apple juice in a fancy pitcher. Pour it into their goblets in the Great Hall.
Explain that you will be teaching Charms class in place of Professor Flitwick. If you have an older sibling/husband that wants to be Professor Flitwick, he can conduct the class. Each child will fill their decorated pot with some dirt and plant one seed. You can do this outside if you think they will be too messy.
Everyone is presented with a wand. As a new wizard they will learn their first charm, the “Growth Charm.” Make up a charm they have to repeat after you, and make it really silly.
Example: “Wiggily Wiggly Wabbely Fro…I wave the wand and the seed will grow.”
Have them repeat it several times while waving their wands over their planted seeds. Compliment them all on how well they cast their charms.
Place the pots on a counter or table where they will sit until morning…but make sure they are in view.
Phase 2 of the magic is complete.
Let everyone clean up and enjoy some cake.
Announce the winning house in the points contest.
A Harry Potter movie, of course, with some snacks. Print the group “class” photo for each child while they are busy watching the movie.
When the last child goes to sleep, you will work the magic of the party.
Put a flower (that tray of flowers you were hiding) in each of the pots. When the kids awake to see them in the morning, they will be amazed…the Growth Charm worked!
Phase 3 – the magic is complete.
I think my son and his friends were in first/second grade when I did this party. I can tell you..they totally bought it…for awhile. It was so cute to see them discover that the flowers grew overnight, and the looks on their faces were priceless. I video taped the discussion about it over breakfast.
Child takes home:
- group “class” photo
- decorated flower pot
- candy bag
- …and a great memory
Find all the details to create your own Harry Potter experience in this step-by-step guide (PDF file).
this idea is genius. i love harry potter! also. i might do this for MY birthday. and i’m 36!
I have to admit, I had too much fun doing this party, being a fan myself. I even had the crazy notion of putting paper on the walls in the “Great Hall” and painting stones on them, but luckily I came to my senses.
John Sullivan says
You remind me of someone in the way you put all the effort into a post.
Sadly I just write in 3 mins and it’s obvious. I thought about changing my whole approach
and actually not just write TALKING and do some research, write it on paper etc
The party sounds awesome Nice work glad I stopped by
Sadly there was no Family topic on digg 🙁
and then stumbled the post and the digg aka the TRIPLE Threat or Bermuda Triangle
hope it helps because this is great Thanks
Thanks for the compliment. Yes Digg doesn’t have a category for my stuff. It took me awhile to recreate the party since it has been seven years. Luckily I’m organized and still had a copy of the invitation to photograph. My kids reminded me of a few details, too.
You know , call me dull, boring, too serious or what not but i haven’t even seen a Harry Potter movie. Oh how many times I wished I’d had been the author…
I read about these type of parties and think I sure am missing out on fun. The funny thing is I just gave or another family member did, just gave some nephews a harry potter movie to take with them when they popped in a little bit ago. Now don’t get me wrong I have watched some of the movies but in all reality I just can’t seem to make it through too many movies. I do watch my fair share of tv, mostly the travel channel, discovery, animal planet, history and biography stations if that tells ya anything.
That sounds cute that you video taped their conversation and excitement.
Oh you have to watch them. Though I have to say the books are better. Lol don’t we all wish we created that series. 🙂
Great ideas.Surely I’ll do this for my upcoming birthday.Thanks for sharing.Really it was cool.
Love it! We have two teenage children and the whole family has enjoyed Harry over the years. The reruns are always on HBO and it’s hard not to watch them.
There are some really excellent ideas in here! What I love best is how your post can serve as a checklist of sorts: there are so many interesting things in HP people want to see represented, and you hit on the major ones that people would definitely get pumped for.
birthday party theme says
I quite sure this ideas would be a big hit. Specially to harry potters fan.The Harry Potter party is so popular .
My son, Austin decided he wanted a Harry Potter party for his eighth birthday. I got a lot of ideas from this site as well as came up with some of my own ideas. INVITATIONS: I used brown paper and designed them in power point. I was able to get the Hogwarts seal and the seal of the four houses from the Internet. I watermarked the Hogwarts seal as the background for the letter. At the top I created letterhead with the Hogwarts seal and in large letters across the top Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along the bottom in color were the four seals of each house: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin and Ravenclaw. The wording of the invitation read: Dear (boy’s name), We are pleased to inform you that you have been invited to Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for special mid-term classes in honor of Head Boy Austin’s 8th birthday. Your class schedule will include orientation and matriculation, transfiguration, potions and herbology, care of magical creatures, divination, and defense against the dark arts. There will also be a special birthday feast featuring treats from Three Broomsticks and Honeyduke’s Sweet Shop in Hogsmeade. Classes will begin at the stroke of 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, September 16. Shopping at Zonko’s Joke Shop will conclude classes at 6:00 in the evening..
Cute ideas! I think the Harry Potter theme is one of the easiest for using your imagination and creativity to create an experience.
My kids went to a harry potter party a few years ago and one thing the mum did which I thought was a great idea was make magic themed party foods, cauldron cakes, and hagrids eyeballs and Snapes snacks . All the drinks were ‘magic potions’ served in Goblets of fire and they used magic wands (chopsticks) to eat with! Lot of fun.
Mitchell Allen says
Melinda, the more I read your blogs, the more convinced you’re my twin sister. We did a Harry Potter Halloween, but it was no where NEAR as wondrous as your sleepover theme!
The beauty of your party is that everything flows so smoothly (at least I imagine that it would.) The flower idea is simply priceless!
Our family has played host to several themed parties and they tend to be hit or miss (we’re 2 for 3 on Christmas and 1 for 1 on birthday Mysteries, as we didn’t dare try to repeat that.)
I’m going to hop over to the posts in the Party category.
Well that certainly explains why we look alike. Ha ha. This was my favorite party I ever did. I need to write up more of them. I love theme parties. The plant magic was the best part.
That is such a cute idea! I love the plant idea! I bet the kids were shocked!
LA Party Rentals says
That’s adorable! How long did it take you to make everything? I would have never thought to go to the extent of even making acceptance letters.
It did take some time to create everything. I started weeks ahead and created more things as I got ideas. It was so much fun it was worth all the time preparing it.
Planning a children’s party will always be fun and memorable and you can be sure that children will enjoy all the way. You need to research and find a way to make a party more fun with themes that children like and enjoy. Harry Potter will be a top favorite among children
Too bad I’m not a kid anymore :(, anyway i still enjoy the Harry Potter movies, they are really fantastic.
Your party idea is really creative and fun, and the results for sure are priceless.