Harry Potter & the Hogwarts Birthday Party – Part 1

My daughter is a huge fan of Harry Potter. About 8 months ago, she suggested the Harry Potter theme for her next birthday party. So many creative ideas to draw upon – I was very excited.

Of all of the birthday parties I’ve planned, this was, by far, the most fun. I felt like a child at Christmas time again. The magic of the wizardry world is infectious.  I stayed up late, night after night, creating floating candles out of paper towel rolls, designing cupcake toppers, searching Pinterest for Harry Potter printables, gluing wings to Ferrero Rocher chocolates, making chocolate frogs and photoshopping wizard posters with photos of our birthday guests. As much as she enjoyed her party, I’m pretty sure I had more fun planning it!

As we thought about ideas for her Harry Potter party, images of the Great Hall at Hogwarts – set a glow with hundreds of floating candles – kept emerging in my head. While we weren’t about to string hundreds of candles from the ceiling, we did manage to create 12 floating candles out of cardboard rolls.

There are quite a few tutorials that you can find online that show you how to make these floating candles. I made mine as follows (see photo tutorial below):

  1. Take a paper towel roll (or cut a wrapping paper roll into 3 equal pieces) and apply hot glue along the edge to mimic dripping wax;
  2. Trace a circle on white card stock using the base of the roll and cut out the circle. Cover the bottom end of each roll with the circle by attaching with hot glue or tape;
  3. Paint the paper towel roll, including the bottom, with white paint and let dry;
  4. Use a needle to string fishing wire through the candle (approx. 3/4 inch from the top end) and tie the fishing wire into a knot so that you can hang the candle from the ceiling;
  5. Insert a flickering LED light (that can be purchased on Amazon or at a local hobby/craft store) into the top end of the candle. The fishing wire will hold the LED light in place. Part of the LED light should be visible at the top of the candle.
  6. Paint strips of painter’s tape (taped to a plastic tray or plastic mat) with white paint and let dry. Cut strips of painted painter’s tape and stick the fishing wire to the ceiling using the tape.

Here’s another fun decor idea. Try re-creating platform 9 3/4 using a brick patterned backdrop. I purchased a brick patterned backdrop online and cut the backdrop to fit a hallway opening in our house (this can also be done in a doorway or entrance to a room in your house). I hung the backdrop with painter’s tape and affixed a Platform 9 3/4 sign on the backdrop. We cut a slit in the backdrop so that the guests could walk through the “wall”. The platform wall is also a great backdrop for group birthday photos!

We planned the party over lunch time so wanted to create a mini-feast experience. We decorated the dining table with LED lanterns (purchased at a local dollar store) and displayed the food on a 3 tier silver plated stand.  For one of the loot gifts, I asked each parent for a photo of their daughter and photoshopped the photos onto a wizard poster template that I found online. I printed and framed each photo (5 x 7) with frames purchased from the local dollar store. I arranged the framed photos on the dining table, along with the Harry Potter themed napkins and cups I purchased online. 
We also hung 4 banners (purchased from Amazon) representing the Hogwarts house crests – Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin – across our built-in cabinets.
To welcome our guests, I printed a large version of the wizard photo, customized with my daughter’s photo, and displayed it on the front door of our house, along with a Privet Drive sign. For enhanced effect, we played the Harry Potter soundtrack throughout the house during the party.

In addition to the customized wizard photos, I found these really cute Patronus necklace charms – sold by Stitchnanigans – on Etsy. I ordered one for each girl and the necklaces arrived with little sachets. Sara, from Stitchnanigans, was very responsive when I inquired about her necklaces. Her Etsy site lists the different patronus figures and the corresponding Harry Potter characters – so you can select the pendants based on each child’s favourite character. 

I added handwritten tags to each necklace as an extra personal touch. 

For the loot bags, I found a great template of a Hogwarts Express Ticket online and photoshopped the tickets, with each guest’s name, to use as customized labels on the bags.

A Harry Potter themed party would not be complete without a Honeydukes candy bar, Harry Potter themed cupcakes and Harry Potter games – including an adapted version of Quidditch. Stay tuned for my next post with all of the details!

*Stitchnanigans provided a promotional discount for the patronus necklaces for the purpose of this blog post. However, all opinions are my own.




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