How much fun would it have been to attend Hogwarts? Living in a Scottish castle, dining under the stars in the Great Hall, drinking smuggled Butterbeer in the common room, taking moving stairways to classes, living in constant fear of giant snake attacks and escaped convict break-ins…
Everyone who’s grown up with the series has dreamed of getting their acceptance letter by owl post at some point or other. If you’re over 11, the disappointment of that fate-less birthday probably still stings. So let’s talk about how to bring Hogwarts to your own home…
Let’s throw a Harry Potter party.
I came across a few challenges while researching ideas for this party.
1. Most ideas were for very small kids, or else by people who didn’t quite understand the Harry Potter decorations were not synonymous with tattery, haunted house decorations. Yes, Harry Potter does take place at a castle full of ghosts, and yes, it is technically a children’s series–but I wanted my party to evoke warmth and whimsy and cheer, and just possibly–if it could ever be done–a bit of sophistication.
2. My house is a historic home, and the walls are textured and made of plaster so hanging things up or sticking things to the wall were virtually impossible. This meant that a 9 3/4 curtain at the front door couldn’t be done and a portrait gallery was similarly unachievable.
Even though they aren’t in this guide, by all means, your party should included both.
Those two things being said, this is what I was able to achieve with my party:
The Great Hall
We kept the Great Hall ceiling up for a full two weeks after the party. I’d seen tons online that I wasn’t a fan of, so I devised my own. We collected post-Holiday sale LED candles, yards and yards of blue tulle, and post-holiday sale lights. We were limited as to how we could hang them, because our walls are plaster and extraordinarily hard to hang anything from, so our stars had to be in straight rows, but we hung those first.
Then, we hung the tulle, which we layered twice. We probably should have used twice as much tulle because it ended up being less substantial than we wanted, but c’est la vie. For a finishing touch, we used clear fishing line to hang our holiday LED candles. The overall effect was extremely lovely, and the ceiling was the centerpiece of the party.
I used these templates (x)(x) to make Chocolate Frog and Bertie Botts boxes for party souvenirs. Putting the boxes together was extraordinarily time intensive, so I’d suggest either starting a good month before your party or just buying them from here (x). To make the chocolate frogs themselves, I found a frog candy mold on Amazon. Here’s a great resource for the Chocolate Frog cards, which everyone knows is the best part of a Chocolate Frog. (x)
THE THREE BROOMSTICKs
I served two drinks at my party: butterbeer and pumpkin juice.
My butterbeer recipe:
- 1 cup of cream soda
- 2 tablespoons of butterscotch syrup
- lightly sweetened whipped cream
Heat both in a saucepan on stove until boiling, top with whipped cream. Makes one serving.
About an hour before my party started, I made a very quick and easy butterbeer dispenser using this template (x). Instead of painting or drawing a wood grain design, I looked up “wood planks” on google and printed out an image that I liked on sticker paper. I covered a square foam sheet with it, and then cut out the circles to fit 2 liter kegs I already had in the house. I used black electrical tape for the seams and stuck on my favorite search result for “butterbeer label” for a finished look. It worked surprisingly well considering that I finished it just as guests started to arrive.
I didn’t want to use foam cups for my butterbeer so I bought small glasses from the dollar store that had the look of an old-fashioned pint glass. They only held about 1/4 of a pint, but the drink is very sweet, overwhelming so in large amounts, so most people were happy with the small glasses. The guests were allowed to take the glasses home as a souvenir.
My pumpkin juice recipe:
- 2 bottles of sparkling apple cider (chilled)
- 1 can of pumpkin puree
- pumpkin pie spice to taste
Mix all and serve in punch bowl.
My Harry Potter party was costume-mandatory, but I knew some people wouldn’t have a proper wizarding wardrobe hanging around, so I made a few owl glasses for the people who came dressed as muggles. I also went to the local thrift store and bought a couple of graduation gowns for $5 a piece. Graduation gowns, btw, make amazing wizarding robes.
Instructions to make owl glasses can be found here (x)
For some more adult-friendly Harry Potter games you can
-Play a round of Harry Potter-themed charades
-Have a friend learn some quick tea leaf or tarot card reading tricks
-Hang some hula-hoops in your yard, grab a kickball and some brooms and set up a game of Quidditch (if you don’t have a yard Quidditch Pong is also a thing that exists)
And that is my guide to throwing a fun Harry Potter party for adults.