Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Special Mid-Winter B-day Session

Starring: New Head Boy, Jacob Carver

In honor of Jacob's 8th Birthday, we planned a Harry Potter party. Almost a year ago, he mentioned that he'd like that as his theme. Slowly, over the course of the past few months, a plan began to take shape. It wasn't long before I knew that this party would be like no other we had done before.

Invitations: We decided to send a Hogwarts acceptance letter as our invitation. And of course, it had to be hand delivered via owl post. Each envelope had an official wax seal bearing the letter "H" for Hogwarts. Because they were hand delivered I was able to use the Harry Potter address: Cupboard Under the Stairs, 4 Privet Drive etc. which the kids thought was fun. (For the paper bag owl pattern, go here . )

(Click to enlarge the letter for wording purposes.) The font was Blackladder ITC in a custom green color and the Hogwarts logo was found off the Internet.

Platform 9 3/4:

As all Harry Potter fans know, the only way to catch the Hogwarts Express is by accessing it via Platform 9 3/4, which is invisible to Muggle eyes. It is a brick wall found in between Platform 9 and Platform 10 at King's Cross Station. Would-be wizards must run through the barrier to hop aboard the magical train that will take them from London to Hogsmeade. Here is a picture of Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter movies.
We knew the new students attending our special session of Hogwarts would need to catch the Hogwarts Express by accessing it via Platform 9 3/4 so construction of our own brick wall began. (It's amazing what a cheap shower curtain from Ross, a sponge and some red paint can do!)

Here's Jacob, getting ready to run through the wall to board the train!
Eager wizards, getting ready to bravely run through the wall!
An outside look at King's Cross Station.

All Aboard Hogwarts Express:
We wanted to give all of our wizards an opportunity to access Platform 9 3/4 and hop aboard the Hogwarts Express before arriving at Hogsmeade and continuining on with the party. Once the wizards ran through the brick wall, they were met with the smoke from the train (fog machine) and Harry Potter music. They quickly found their seats on the train and got busy filling out the "How Well Do You Know Hogwarts Students and Staff" sheet where they had to match the pictures with the names. (Two winners received Harry Potter Droobles Best Blowing Gum.)

Diagon Alley:
Diagon Alley is the hub for all wizard shopping needs. We decided to take our little wizards shopping so they could pick up their much needed school supplies, prior to arriving at Hogwarts.

First stop: Gringotts Wizarding Bank
Here, our wizards were given pouches of gold with which to buy their school supplies.
Next stop: Ollivander's Fine Wand Shop

To make the wands, Josh bought dowels from the craft store and made a lathe out of his drill and carved each wand by hand so that they were unique. He then stained them with various shades of stain and sealed each wand with a clear spray paint so the stain wouldn't rub off on the kid's hands. They turned out fabulous, and the kids were so excited to pick out their wand, or rather, have their wand "choose them" (as all wizards know, it is the wand that chooses the wizard).

Next Stop: Flourish & Blotts

Here, students picked up their potion jars and Spell & Charm books.

Other Shops passed along the way:

Quality Quidditch Supplies
Eeylops Owl Emporium Madam Malkins, Makers of Fine Robes

The Great Hall/ Sorting Hat Ceremony:
Following the shopping trip to Diagon Alley, students were taken to Hogwarts where they met together in the Great Hall for the traditional Sorting Hat Ceremony. Each wizard had the sorting hat placed on his/her head. After much thought, the Sorting Hat would shout out (via walkie talkies) which house the student had been placed in (Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin). The kids thought this was funny. The house divisions would come in handy later on in the party for the Quidditch teams.

Potions Class with Professor Snape:
Unfortunately, Professor Snape was ill, and therefore, I (Professor McGonagall) was forced to fill in. Potions class was a ton of fun. Students had the opportunity to make Snape's Slime as well as learn a special potion concoction for predicting the future (just a simple vinegar and baking soda mixture).
Snape's Slime Recipe:

2 oz. Elmer's White glue mixed with 1/4 cup water (in one bowl) Add food coloring of choice.

1/4 tsp. Borax mixed with with 1/4 cup warm water (in separate bowl) until majority of Borax is dissolved

Combine two mixtures and stir quickly. Use hands to form slime ball. Squeeze out any excess liquid and discard.

Store in air-tight container.


After Potions class it was time to expend some energy in a House Quidditch Tournament.

End of Birthday Session Cake & Presents:

Students returned to the Great Hall for the end of term birthday celebration complete with Hedwig Owl Cupcakes and Butter Beer (Cream Soda) while they enjoyed watching Jacob open his Muggle-inspired gifts.

Surprise Trip to Honeydukes Candy Shop (Party Favor Bags):
If you've seen the movies or read the books you surely know about Honeydukes and some of the most famous Harry Potter candies: Chocolate frogs, Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Ice Mice, Droobles, Acid Pops, Blood Pops as well as Albus Dumbledore's favorite muggle candy, Lemon Drops.

For some reason these candies are impossible to find locally & are insanely expensive online. However, a few trips to the Dollar Store & some creative labeling and we came up with our own line of Harry Potter worthy candy.
A few final pictures:


  1. WOW!!!!!!! YOU WENT ALL OUT ON THIS PARTY!! Everything looks so neat! Looks like you'll have to spoil all your kids like that. :)

  2. Seriously Jen, what are you going to do when he turns 9? Or when the other kids turn 8? You outdid yourself! He'll remember it forever.

  3. Michelle- we decided that the 8th birthday would be a special celebration (because of getting baptized). Everything after, will be low-key and limited to family or just a few friends. Our b-day parties are not generally this much work (lol), but this theme kind of lent itself to being a really fun one!

  4. I have never seen anything like it! I am absolutely amazed! You should consider dabbling in a party planning business. I'll hire you!

  5. Luv it, you guys are so great at planning parties. I can't show Jaden this because he will want the same thing and i don't think that I could pull it off where we live. lol..the rez. Right now I am reading the Harry Potter books and then watching the movies. It's so fun! Happy late Birthday Jacob!!

  6. You should be a professional event planner, I am not kidding!! Weddings, birthdays, whatever!! this was so cool! I wanted to attend, I can't imagine how cool the kids thought this was! Great job!!

    Also, Josh has mad skills, those wands are RIDICULOUS!! Nice job Josh!

  7. Holy. Crap.

    That is the most riduculously amazing party I have ever seen. Seriously, I have no idea how you do it. What am I supposed to say to something like that? Excellent! Wonderful! Fabulous! Spectacular! Exquisite! Magnificent! You are so talented and such a hardworking mom, and way to go Josh for being so involved! You have lucky kids to have such freaking awesome parents!

  8. wow, put that on your SAHM resume! Wonderful looking party and imagination!

  9. Wow Jen! You really out did yourself! Amazing!!! I hope that one day I can be half this creative for my kids parties!

  10. Wow! Jen you are awesome and amazing and so cool. You throw the best parties. Wish we lived closer.

  11. Wow Jen! Amazing! Your kids are going to have such fun memories of the awesome b-day parties you threw for them. Wish we had been there!

  12. i echo jen simeona's first comment.

    seriously. OH. MY. GOSH. i'm speechless.

  13. Haha you did this at your LDS church, right? I saw a photo of this on another site, and the first thing I thought was of the church!!!! Haha but it was amazing what you did

  14. @Melinda--yes! We did. The church buildings are unmistakeable for those who frequent them, aren't they, lol?