Throwing a Harry Potter party, especially if it’s for a Potterhead but you aren’t one (it’s okay, I can forgive even this), can be overwhelming. I mean, throwing a party is hard enough (at least for an introvert like me it is), but adding a theme? Well, that really takes some above and beyond planning skills right there.
As an HP fanatic, Wizarding World party-goer and thrower, and eternal dreamer of entering said world forever, I hereby offer you my help.
What I mean is: here are some pretty geeky ideas other Potterheads might find cool.
Location, location, location! It is key, you know?
While adding Harry Potter décor to any location will magic-ify it up, picking a location that lends itself well to the theme can really up your magical game. This doesn’t mean you have to break the bank! As a Northeast Ohioan, I have many Metropark locations like the Hemlock Creek Shelter pictured below that offer features like stone walls, woods (for a Forbidden Forest appeal), and plenty of room for playing Quidditch, and they are readily available for affordable reservation (the one pictured below is available for free on a first-come, first-serve basis as a shared use facility).
Outdoor parties not your thing? Transform rooms in your house to match the common rooms of each of the houses (even an unfinished basement will work well for the Slytherin dungeons)!
Side note: if you have a bonfire and you and your guests plan to be in costume, you may want to give your neighbors a heads up. They don’t need to be ultra-conservative to grow a bit worried when a large group of people encircle a bonfire while wearing robes and witch hats, wands in hand.
Yes, that’s the voice of experience.
Okay. Now that you know where you’re going to have it, it’s time to think about the décor!
Of the two HP parties I’ve been to (no, neither of them were for children), my favorite was a friend’s 30th birthday party- and yes, I am totally jealous of her bash.
Red lipstick and a handful of plastic spiders (not shown: a line of spiders on the floor fleeing the bathroom) really make the toileting experience magical! For bonus points, add Moaning Myrtle or Ministry of Magic access!
And, of course, no HP party is complete without floating candles.
A couple Christmases ago I began playing with the idea of floating candles around the Christmas tree (of course I do Harry Potter Christmas in my house, what else did you expect?). They are pretty simple. Dollar store candles (two for a dollar) and a bit of fishing line tied around the “flame” and then up to a thumb tack. As you can see, though, they are pretty blah without some love.
As with most things crafting, my answer to this problem was hot glue! A bit of extra dribble, then ivory paint overall with mustardish yellow paint for aging the cracks, and voila!
My go-to Harry Potter food creation is chocolate frogs from this mold. They are quick, easy, and always a hit! You can ever spruce them up with printouts of their boxes and cards (I won’t lie- I never had the patience to box them up, even if I do love the idea).
Of course, that doesn’t even begin to touch on the spread the Hogwarts house elves lay out, so I recommend cookbooks like The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook to hit all the basic necessities like pumpkin pasties and butterbeer. A punch option served from a cauldron is fun, too!
As a forever-student, I have a few graduation robes at my disposal, so costuming for me is a breeze. Throw on one of those suckers, grab a dollar store witch hat, and one of these super-easy-to-make wands below, and I’m all set! I even bring the extra costuming bits for any muggles who want to blend in.
(I used these chopsticks, a lot of hot glue, and black spray paint to make these wands. Be careful! I burned myself pretty badly. Because you have to use so much glue to make the handle, it takes a long time to cool. It can gloop all over if you don’t pay attention!)
Don’t have a graduation gown handy, and don’t want to pay the (frankly ridiculous amount of) money to buy one? A white button-up shirt and house-appropriate tie can do in a pinch.
Games and entertainment
All those extra wands I threw together made for great entertainment. I don’t care how mature you think you are, when there’s a witch hat and a wand available, playing along is pretty much a necessity.
Then add in props like extra cloaks, the wanted poster frame, HP glasses, and the 9 ¾ and wanted poster backdrops, and you have a sure-fire recipe for photobooth-esque entertainment.
Need more? If you have the room, string up hula hoops and play Quidditch, complete with brooms. Having a 21-and-over party? Beer pong Quidditch is a great twist on a well-known party game that will get even the muggles involved!
If you play the former, please invite me. It is on my bucket list.
Finally, once you have all the planning figured, you need to get folks to show up. I, personally, would never turn down an invitation styled after a Hogwarts acceptance letter!
Best of luck with your wizarding adventures!