How to Decorate for a Hogwarts Themed Birthday Party

My daughter just turned 11 and if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you will know the significance of that age.Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_2 Celebrating in true Hogwarts style seemed a must to us. We had hosted another Hogwarts themed party for her sister a couple years ago so it was nice for me to be repeating a theme this time around. You can read about that one here.Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_9

 

Planning these parties are a significant bonding experience in my family. We thrive off of the creative process, building on each other’s ideas, brainstorming all of the magic into reality. Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_13

We kept a few must have experiences the same with this second round through the wizarding world of J.K Rowling (like renting our favourite little suit of armour from Winnipeg’s Unique Events) but in true Style Hunter Fox form, we had to change a few things!

Both parties started off with the kids visiting Ollivander’s for a wand. Ruby wanted there to be a magical way for the kids to test the wands. (Because everyone knows that the wand chooses the wizard.)Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_1 We devised a way to hide the floor switch of a lamp under a rug so that she could control, very discreetly, when the light flickered on and off. There is a clip of the magic in the YouTube video below.

 

Next, there had to be a sorting ceremony for the new Hogwarts students to know what house they are in. For Scarlett’s birthday my partner, Dan, thought of using a singing Christmas tree of all things to animate a Sorting hat. After removing all of the pine-ness from the tree, I fashioned the hat around the bones of the moving mouth and eyes. (Pictures of the process are, again, over here)Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_15 There remained a slit in the back to fit my phone. Dan had his in another room, along with the list of names and assigned houses for each student. Being the actor that he is, he did an excellent impression of the Sorting Hat, much to the party guests delight! Watch the magic on the video!

 

Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_16Potions class was too much fun at Scarlett’s party to not repeat but we had a couple of new potions to try this time around. The coolest being what’s known as the Blue Bottle Experiment. We gave the ingredients more magical titles so our “Veritaserum” is also included in the video. Here are the real (and magical) ingredients.

BLUE BOTTLE EXPERIMENT

150ml distilled water (syrup of arnica)

1 tsp glucose (wartcap powder)

1 tbsp potassium hydroxide (pixie brains)

3 drops methylene blue (mermaid’s tears)

 

A new idea the girls had was to secretly gather everyone in the “Room of Requirement” to host a meeting of the DA (Dumbledore’s Army). There, they were taught the Patronus charm by Scarlett, who is now a school prefect since starting at Hogwarts at her party a couple of years ago. Each student received a light-up charm customized with a 3D image of their Patronus made out of hot glue. Both girls worked really hard making these for their friends.Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_12According to Pottermore.com Ruby’s Patronus is a King Fisher bird and she made this charm.

They all practiced their best “EXPECTO PATRONUM!” on a Dementor piñata which dropped chocolates once cracked open.Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_5This activity required quite a lot of craftiness from all three of us to prepare. First, the papier-mâché belly for the chocolate to go in, cardboard skull and ribs  (made by my very crafty friend, Todd Scott, whom I am very grateful for!) shoulders and arms made out of a cut up pool noodle, tape and wire, hands made out of wire and masking tape, a whole lot of black duct tape and paint, and finally cheesecloth dipped in a mixture of water and flour (starch) and black paint that stiffened into the floaty, creepy robes of a Dementor. Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_11

We again did tonnes of thrifting to change the look of our home to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and  Wizardry. Each corner of the living room was assigned to the four Hogwarts house common rooms. Colourful fabrics from the linens section of The Salvation Army Thrift Store are a very cheap and powerful way to change the look of a room and make each space distinct from the others.

Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_8I also thrifted most of our outfits, including this gorgeous,velvet coat for our dear friend Agnes who helped a LOT at the party. Everyone plays a role when they enter our doors!

This time around we gave the Great Hall a night-time sky with stars and navy sheer fabric above the magical, floating candles. You can rest assured that these details will stick around in our dining room for a very long time! Who doesn’t want to dine under a starlit sky?Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_14

You can’t have too many portraits hanging to give the look of Hogwarts. The nice thing about hosting this theme again was having the chance to build on what we had to make it even better.Stylehunterfox_blog_hogwarts_3

I think what sets our party apart was that we didn’t focus on the specific story of Harry Potter and his cronies. The kids attending received their own Hogwarts acceptance letters and attended as themselves, suspending reality at platform 9 ¾ (our front door) and allowing imagination and magic to rule the next few hours.

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I don’t know where my kids will take me on our next party adventure but I’m certain that there will be both magic and thrifting involved. Which in my life are almost the same thing.

Enjoy our party tour on YouTube.