As many of you ‘Potterheads’ would know, July is Harry Potter’s Birthday month. So it was very apt that I finally share the photos of Emma’s Harry Potter themed Birthday Party. I’ve got lots of great budget friendly ideas for decor, activities and party food, all inspired by the Harry Potter books and movies.
If you’ve been following along, you may have seen my behind the scenes preparations for this Harry Potter Party which took me almost a whole month to put together. Emma is very obsessed with everything Harry Potter so she was very particular about all the details.
Of course I could have purchased many of the items ready-made, but because I like to make things wherever I can (I enjoy the creative process, and am pretty thrifty), I’ve pulled together much of the party decor on a budget.
Emma had some amazing ideas for making the party a really immersive experience, so it was decided that it would be a small intimate affair with only a handful of invitees.
The theme of the Harry Potter Party was based around the experience of being a Hogwarts student, with magical classes, proper Hogwarts robes and a feast fit for the Great Hall. I’ve included links to DIY instructions, recipes and printable resources so you too can easily put together a Harry Potter Party – no magical spells required.
Of course this party theme would also be super fun at Halloween too! The Halloween feast at Hogwarts plays a big part in the movies and books.
Throwing a Halloween Party? You may find this post useful – Kids Halloween Party Food & Activity Ideas
Harry Potter Party Ideas
What’s more exciting that receiving a party invitation? Well, if you are a fan of all things Harry Potter, receiving a party invitation in the style of a Hogwarts Acceptance letter takes the cake. I created my own printable invitation, included a ticket for the Hogwarts Express, and sealed it all up with red wax, just like in the movie.
HARRY POTTER PARTY – SETTING THE SCENE
I must admit that I got a little carried away with this part. I couldn’t resist creating a Platform 9¾ photo wall complete with vintage luggage and an owl cage.
My kitchen as transformed into the Great Hall with a stone wall backdrop, Hogwarts pennant flag, fairy lights and a big feasting table.
And I channeled Diagon Alley with several wizarding pop-up stores including Madam Malkin’s Robes, Ollivanders wand shop, and Honeydukes Sweet Shop.
I dressed as Professor Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress of Hogwarts, and Emma chose to dress up as Ginny Weasley. You can see her full Ginny Weasly Cosplay here.
Don’t miss the Hogwarts Express! Head through the wall at Platform 9¾ to start on your journey to Hogwarts.
To make the brick wall backdrop I painted a red plastic tablecloth with regular acrylic paint in a brick design. A few shadows and textures on each brick made the effect slightly more realistic.
The sign was painted by hand on a piece of cardboard. I based it off the design from the real Platform 9¾ sign at Kings Cross station in London.
If you don’t have time to paint your own backdrop you can purchase printed brick wall backdrops here.
I finished the scene setting with some old suitcases that I had lying around, (I use them to store fabric in). And at the last-minute Emma suggested that we needed an owl, so I quickly made one with a paper honeycomb ball and some paper plates.
The girls had a ton of fun taking photos and selfies in front of Platform 9¾. There were a few silly photos too!
As a fun memento of the day, I printed each guest a copy of the cutest one on my mini photo printer. Their mums loved it too.
THE GREAT HALL
As much as a love my yellow polka dot wallpaper, it doesn’t really have a medieval castle vibe. To set the scene for the Great Hall, I painted a couple of grey plastic tablecloths with stone patterns.
I made a black banner from cardboard and glued on a Hogwarts Crest – download a hi-res copy here.
The table was set with gold paper plates, silver goblets and candelabra. A piece of vintage flocked wallpaper made a perfect table runner.
I borrowed these candelabra, platters and silver goblets from my mother. She has a cupboard full of old silverware that was perfect for this occasion. If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to borrow antique looking table settings, try your local thrift store.
Half the fun of getting ready for a new school year at Hogwarts is going shopping for your, robes, books and wand. I created a mini Diagon Alley pop-up to help each guest get kitted out for the party.
Emma was very keen for each guest to have her own robe and wand to use during the party, and then to take home as a gift. I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to that one, making 5 robes was quite a commitment. I think it was worth it in the end, the girls really had fun immersing themselves in the Hogwarts spirit.
I set up a corner of the room as a robe and wand shop with old books and knick knacks to help set the scene.
Emma made a big ceremony of presenting each guest with their robe and magical wand from Ollivanders shop.
As you can imagine, Honeydukes Sweet shop was very popular. In fact, I had to re-supply my candy stash twice in the week before the party, as the sweets just magically kept disappearing!
My sister loaned me the variously shaped glass candy jars which made the display very authentic.
I painstakingly made several boxes of Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans with this printable template (scroll right to the bottom). And of course no wizarding sweet shop would be complete without Chocolate Frogs. (Kept safely under glass so they don’t bounce away.)
At the end of the party each guest was let loose in Honeydukes and got to choose some candy as a take home treat.
HARRY POTTER PARTY ACTIVITIES
Every party needs some fun and games, and we had a great time taking some magical classes inspired by those at Hogwarts. Spells class, Herbology, Potions and Flying lessons were all on the timetable.
SPELLS CLASS – PETRIFICUS TOTALUS MUSICAL STATUES
Time to test out those wands! The girls had fun seeing who could master their wand swishing technique. We also played a game of musical statues where the participants dance around to music and then freeze Petrificus Totalus, when the music stops.
Herbology class was quite an easy activity to set up. Each student planted some herb seeds into their own little terracotta pot to hopefully grow their own herbs at home. It would also be fun to plant a small succulent cutting.
I only needed to purchase some small plant pots from my local nursery, all the other items were from my own garden and shed.
The girls were super creeped out by my Doll Head Planter which I found quite amusing.
Emma had the wonderful experience of ‘flying’ on a real wizard broom when we visited Harry Potter Studios in London. In the movie they used green screen magic for the flying effects.
During our flying lessons, I also used a little bit of photography magic to capture the moment when the girls ‘flew’. We didn’t have a Nimbus 2000 on hand so a regular old broom had to do.
How to capture a Flying Lesson photo
- Have your camera on a tripod
- Set camera shutter speed to fast setting – over 1/250th second is best for the perfect freeze frame
- Set camera to continuous shooting mode
- Get your subject to jump and hold the shutter button down the whole time
- Pick the image that looks the most like they are flying
Getting the perfect shot can sometimes take a few tries, but the results are delightful. I also printed out a copy of each girls flying photo to take home with them as a fun memento of the day.
Potions Class is much more fun when Professor Snape isn’t running the show. The girls loved making some fizzing concoctions and had a great time making lots of sparkly mess.
I downloaded some Wizard Potion Labels from this site and printed them onto sticker paper and stuck them onto old and recycled jars.
Instead of cauldrons we just used empty jam jars and plastic spoons to mix up the magical potions.
Suggested Potion Ingredients
- Bicarbonate of soda
- White vinegar dyed with a few drops of food colouring
- Dish washing detergent
- Dried herbs
- Rock Salt
- Flower petals
Recipe for magical fizzing mixture
- 2-3 heaped spoons Bicarbonate of soda
- 1 spoon dish washing detergent
- glitter, herbs or crystals as required
- top with white vinegar and watch it fizz!
Best to do this activity outside as it can get really messy.
HARRY POTTER PARTY FOOD
You can’t have a party without party food! I was inspired by some of the food described in the books and movies, and created some easy recipes worthy of a Great Feast.
Harry Potter Party Food – click links for the Recipes
- Butterbeer Cupcakes
- Pumpkin Pasties
- Fruit Platter
- Treacle Tart
- Chocolate Golden Snitches
- Pensive Jelly – Blue jelly with whipped cream
I’ve always been so fond of the scene in the first movie where Hagrid tells Harry he is a wizard, then presents him with a clumsily, but lovingly made, and slightly squashed birthday cake. It’s a really sweet moment, and Harry appreciates it so much because it’s the first birthday cake he’s ever had.
Emma deliberated for a long time about her Birthday cake. She had seen some very fancy ones on Pinterest which I don’t think I could have executed very successfully, so I’m glad she finally settled on Hagrid’s one.
The skill level required was very low – I used a packet cake mix and frosted it with some basic butter icing. I put it in a white cake box, just like in the movie, but I don’t think anyone got the reference.
Emma LOVED her Harry Potter party and I must say, I really enjoyed organising this for Emma’s birthday, maybe a little bit too much!
I’m hoping she’ll remember it for many years to come. It’s been a few months since the actual party and she is still enjoying her robes and wand.
The signs for Platform 9¾, Honeydukes and Ollivanders now decorate her room, and the backdrops were donated to Emma’s drama teacher for use in the drama room.
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I hope I’ve inspired you with my creative Harry Potter Party craft, decor, food and activity ideas. If you have any questions leave a comment below and I’ll answer back as soon as my Time Turner allows.