When my photography hobby turned into a full time business a decade ago, I searched high and low for something to fill the void of a “just for me” activity. After having my first son, I quickly realized it was party planning! I absolutely love designing parties for my kids (and no, unlike photography, this will NEVER turn into a business!) and have done so many fun themes in the past including: Peter Rabbit, Winnie the Pooh, Puppy Rescue, Trains, and Around the World. When my oldest son asked for a Harry Potter party after visiting the Wizarding World in Orlando last winter, I couldn’t have said YES! fast enough! I love all things Harry Potter (our dog is named Granger, for goodness sake) so I knew combining this with party planning would make for an epic celebration. I jokingly said this was a party for me, but Landon truly loved seeing it come to life as well!
I wanted everything to be as true to the books and movies as possible, so I kept that in mind while designing the invitation suite. I found a version of the original online and created a nearly identical knockoff but with party information! We even included the same address on the inner envelopes and the red wax seal. I’m OBSESSED with this owl my mom created — by hand! — to “carry” the invite!
For the entry way, it had to be Platform 9 3/4. I created this by using brick fabric that the Hogwarts students could enter through. I also included Harry’s luggage, Hedwig, and the Sorcerer’s Stone for good measure.
Students entered into the Great Hall — first, they stopped by the Sorting Hat to get sorted into their houses. Within the Great Hall was the House Points Counter… of everything I created, this was by far my favorite. There was no template or source guide — this was done completely on our own and I was thrilled how it turned out!
From the Great Hall, students stopped by the Three Broomsticks for some Pumpkin Juice or Butterbeer, of course.
The biggest undertaking in the design process were the shops. I emailed endlessly with a new friend I found on Facebook who had created a similar version of these for her son’s party and her advice and kindness was beyond helpful. Everything in the shops was designed from scratch — my dad built the frames and then my mom and I painted everything by hand. I used a projector to get the lettering just right and then added all the decor the week of the party. Students could borrow robes from Madame Malkins, go shopping at Honeydukes, try at brooms at Quidditch Supplies, and even select a wand at Ollivanders. There was so much candy for each kid that I’m sure their parents were thrilled to take home a week before Halloween :) :)
Outside, students attended Potions Class where they created their own colored potion and Herbology where they designed a baby mandrake! They also played a mini version of Quidditch — 1 point for a quaffle and 5 points for the golden snitch!
Dessert was served in the Chamber of Secrets, where our cake was a 3D basilisk created by my mom!
There was lots of other random decor that you’ll definitely love if you’re a Potterhead!
Landon’s biggest request: costumes! He, of course, wanted to be Harry Potter, so Rob and I went as Viktor & Fleur to be the Triwizards (sorry Cedric Diggory). My parents were the best two professors at Hogwarts: McGonagall & Dumbledore and Gavin pulled out Landon’s old Dobby costume! Our dear friends came as Hagrid, Bellatrix, the cutest golden snitch, and Ron & Hermione!
This party was a huge labor of love, that I certainly could not have pulled off with the help of my parents or the patience of Rob! But the joy on Landon’s face from the beginning to end made it all worth it — plus I could never half ass a Harry Potter party! Next year will definitely take a step or five back for my own sanity, but I’m already looking forward to creating something new!
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