Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Harry Potter Birthday Party

Not many thirty-six year old men want a Harry Potter themed birthday party. Then again, I am not like most thirty-six year old men.

It was a week before my birthday, and after my husband had asked me for like the thousandth time what I wanted to do for it, I finally blurted out half-jokingly (and in a British accent no less), “A Harry Potter Birthday Party!” He looked at me and asked, “Are you serious?” and it was then that I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do. Enter Pinterest and Google, with their vast resources.

I managed to somehow not take so many pictures, however, which is kind of sad because I most certainly could have taken more, but I was quite intent on having a fantastic time. I didn’t even take a picture of the Butterbeer, which, by the way, was AMAZING! Hmmm… perhaps I should sneak into the kitchen and fix myself another one. You know, for archival sake.

There, that’s better.

Now, the most challenging part was making everything for the party. I made labels for candies for Honeydukes (and procured and filled mason jars with said candies), signs for various shops and classes, house crests, and a picture taking area for guests inside a wanted poster. I made all the food for the party, including roasted chicken drumsticks, ham sandwiches, cucumber tea sandwiches, pumpkin pasties (seriously delicious!), pub-style meatballs, caramel apples, a replica of Harry’s eleventh birthday cake Hagrid made him, along with stuff for Herbology class, like baby carrots, broccoli, miniature heirloom tomatoes, quartered dill pickles, olives, blue corn chips and various dips. I even made a Mandrake plant using basil and ginger root, to which I carved out a little face in. I also had a very well stocked beverage station for Potions class. Lots of stuff, which required lots of preparation to complete, but I wanted the party to be amazing, so alas, I suffered through it all.

Now, while this was mostly going to be an adult party, there were going to be kids. I was unaware there would be nine of them, however. Luckily I had already planned out (well, as planned out as I actually do, anyway) a Horcrux Search game. When I saw the kiddos were at there most sugar-high selves, I decided it was indeed time to find all eight of the horcruxes. Now many of you purists out there would shout that there were only seven horcruxes, but I assure you, Professor Quirrell was a horcrux, albeit a temporary one according to J.K. Rowling. I decided to be Quirrell for the party, but my cloak was in the way after about five minutes of wearing it, so I ditched it. I gave out clues as to where to find the next horcrux and had the kids guess where it might be based off of my clues. I tried to hide them as close to places where they were hidden in the books, like Ginny found Tom Riddle’s diary in the bathroom, so I hid my version of the diary in the bathroom with the ghost of Moaning Myrtle on the mirror pointing the way to find it.

I also had a wand making area in the spare room so the kids had an activity to do that didn’t involve us adults. I figured washable markers and wooden dowels wouldn’t do much harm. I figured wrong. Washable markers do not actually soak into the wood, and therefore end up on everything from hands to walls to counters to carpets to tables and everything they come into contact with, further proof that washable markers are a governmental conspiracy to get us to wash stuff more often.

For the Potions class, I had a sheet of various Potter-related drinks inside a plastic sheet protector on the table for people to mix their own drinks. Of course, in all the chaos to get everything ready before guests arrived, I didn’t have time to test out any of them… not even the Butterbeer! Fortunately this is where Pinterest did not fail me, as these were apparently tried and true recipes. Both the alcoholic and nonalcoholic versions of the Butterbeer were delicious, using either butterscotch schnapps or butterscotch syrup respectively and mixing with cream soda topped with whipped cream gently stirred to create the signature foam. I seriously cannot get enough of this super-sweet and indulgent drink that I’m certain contains more calories than a fast food meal!

Now that I’ve had my party, I can’t wait to help plan my second cousin’s eleventh birthday party which, after coming to my party, also wants to do a Harry Potter themed birthday party as well. The only takeaway I’ll have is to perhaps not try to do it all on my own. However, at the same time, I wanted people to just come and enjoy and not have to do anything in return.

Things I would do differently are not use washable markers but perhaps, instead, they can make wands using wooden dowels, hot glue, beads, and acrylic paint like I was originally planning. I also would put the house crests onto fabric banners, double the amount of Pumpkin Pasties (I only made one batch), and make smaller food identifier cards for the food table.


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