My daughter, who is into all things Harry Potter, turned 10 recently. Of course, she wanted a Harry Potter birthday party. I rolled my eyes, thinking of the planning that would need to go into this party - wands, specially-named lollies, potions, label-making. I had no idea how I was going to do this, as I'm not very interested in party planning or even particularly crafty (although I do like crafty things). Some friends helped narrow some ideas down for me, and eventually we started getting some things together.
I wasn't entirely sure I'd be posting details on the blog, however, a number of people have expressed interest in how I made the wands and labels, and some are interested in the recipes. So, here we go; be prepared as this is going to be a long post!
The first thing I got started on was the wands. I ordered Totally Bamboo Twist Chopsticks from Amazon, which were to be the base of the wands. You can use any style chopsticks you like, though.
Next, I gathered together some beads and warmed up the hot glue gun. I swirled, knobbed and dotted hot glue over the chopsticks, making different patterns on each one, and on some of them I added a bead or two. I stuck the tips of the chopsticks in a block of floral foam (can also use styrofoam, but I didn't have any) and let the glue dry overnight. Most similar handmade wand instructions don't tell you how long to let the glue dry, but when we did this for fun a few months ago, we painted the glue immediately after and the paint started to flake off as the glue dried and shrank. So I am recommending to let them dry overnight, as we had no paint cracking issues with these wands.
The next day, I poured out some paint in various brown colors, as well as some black, gold and silver, on a paper plate and then started painting with a small brush. This is the really fun part! I painted the wands to look old and well-used. This involves using different brown colored paints, and painting with darker colors around the hot glue, and making streaks of darker colors down the wand. It's hard to explain, but once you get the technique, it's easy and fun. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to get any close-up photos of the details of the wands because they were such a hit - everyone loved them!
Note that some of the beads eventually fell off, so in the future, I would make sure they're completely secured in the hot glue, or just not add beads at all.
During the party, we placed the wands on a tray for the kids to choose one while they were blindfolded (or shall I say, the wands chose them!). The kids used their wands to play a transfiguration game, which is just a Harry Potter-style name for a game of charades! One of the "wizards" chose someone to turn into an animal or thing, cast a spell on them and acted the part, and the other children had to guess what they had been turned into. They loved this game!
The kids got to keep their wands to take home.
The next bit of party planning had to do with potions. We bought all of our bottles and jars at the local $2 shop and filled them up with water that had been tinted with food coloring, glitter, plastic insects, beads, weeds, or a thick sugar syrup (we wanted to keep it safe should anyone end up deciding to taste them!!). As we don't have a working printer, I asked a friend to print out some labels that we had purchased from Etsy to stick onto the bottles and jars.
For the smaller jars and bottles, we used these mini burnt-style labels from Etsy shop arinaatelierDigital. For the bigger jars and bottles, we used these potion apothecary-style labels from Etsy shop DreAmLoft. Both are very cheap and available as an instant download.
We carefully cut out the labels from the printed sheets and used a glue stick to make them stick onto the glass. They look fantastic, don't they!
We used Ferrero Rocher chocolates, of course! We assembled the snitches slightly different than the instructions. The instructions say to use the supplied golden heart stickers and a dab of glue to stick the wings to the little Ferrero Rocher sticker. However, we carefully removed the Ferrero Rocher sticker, gently folded back the little tab on the wings and stuck the wings to the sides of the chocolates by sticking a piece of tape on the tabs and adhering them to the sides of the chocolates. My daughter was concerned about following the instructions because the wings are actually at the sides of the golden snitches in "real life", so this is why we did it our own way!
Of course, no Harry Potter party is complete without lollies. Again, we turned to Etsy for labels. We used these wizard candy labels from Etsy shop A Well-Feathered Nest . We bought the lollies in various places... the blowing gum and unicorn horns came from Kmart; the fizzing whizbees are from Coles, and the lemon sherbets (lemon bon-bons) and Bertie Bott's every flavor beans (Jelly Bellies) came from Candy Bar Sydney. We had heaps of lollies, so we had some available on the party table, and also packaged a small handful in cellophane bags to put in each of the party bags.
Chocolate frogs! I have been dying for a chocolate frog mold for years, I just love chocolate frogs! Not because of Harry Potter, it's just that they're so cute! I was happy to use this party as an excuse to finally buy my own chocolate frog mold. I found these Cybrtrayd A126 Frog Chocolate Candy Mold at Amazon and bought 2 of them! Although I didn't do the best job in getting the air bubbles out of the chocolate, the frogs look absolutely adorable! We had the frogs available on the party table, but also wrapped them up individually in a cellophane bag and placed one in each of the party bags.
I used milk chocolate and my own personal tempering method, which involves melting finely chopped chocolate very slowly at a very low temperature. These frogs are quite big and would have been perfect to fill with something, but I already had so many other things to make that I just couldn't be bothered!
For licorice wands, we used a pack of cherry Twizzlers, an idea we picked up from Pinterest. We also chopped up some carrots, celery and green beans and stuck them in little cups with a spoonful of hummus - these were vegetables from Professor Sprout's vegetable garden. This idea also came from Pinterest.
Butterbeer! This was quite fun to make, but not many of the children liked the butterbeer. We served it cold. The recipe we used can be found at Kiss the Foodie. The butterbeer was very sweet, but still very yummy, I thought. We also served pumpkin juice, but this was even less popular than the butterbeer! We used the pumpkin juice recipe which is found in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. This recipe consists of mixing together 1 cup of pumpkin puree (we used Libby's pure pumpkin puree), 2 cups of apple juice, 1 cup of white grape juice (we couldn't find white grape juice so used pear juice instead) and 1 cup of pineapple juice; served cold over ice.
We also served treacle tarts and pumpkin pasties. The recipe for the tarts, pictured above on the right, came from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. We skipped the homemade pastry crust, however, and used store-bought frozen mini sweet pastry crusts to save on time.
The biggest hit of the party, besides the wands, were the pumpkin pasties. This recipe also came from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook (recipe can be found online here). Again, we skipped the homemade pastry crust to save on time and used store-bought frozen shortcrust pastry sheets instead. We made our pasties a little smaller at 4.5-inches (11.5cm) and increased the amounts of spices in the pumpkin puree to between ¼ - ½ of a teaspoon, also adding in ginger. As we made the pasties smaller, we also slightly decreased the amount of pumpkin puree we put inside each one. As a finishing touch, we used an egg wash to give the pasties a more golden and slightly shiny look. This was done by lightly beating together with a fork 1 whole egg and 1 tablespoon of water, then using a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of the egg wash onto the pasties before baking. Our pasties didn't need to be in the oven as long as the recipe stated; ours took about 20 minutes rather than 30.
The pumpkin pasties tasted similar to pumpkin pie and were the first to disappear from the party table - everyone loved them so much!
The last hit of the party were the owl cupcakes. These, of course, were in reference to the owls in the Harry Potter series. I'm not sure where the idea for owl cupcakes made with Oreos originally came from, but there are so many of them! We did ours very simply, inspired by a Pinterest post, which was by using a store-bought boxed cupcake mix and tubs of frosting (horrendous, I know, but I didn't have the time to measure out ingredients, and as anyone knows, most kids would only eat the Oreos and frosting anyway, so why use my good ingredients!?). We had chocolate owls and vanilla owls.
To make the big owl eyes, we gently twisted the Oreo cookies apart. The sides with the white frosting, we stuck to the cupcakes. The sides without the frosting, we carefully spit in half and stuck horizontally into the frosting above the "eyes". We used brown M&M's for the eyeballs, and orange M&M's for the beaks. How cute are they!
This wasn't the best decorated or styled Harry Potter party you'll ever see, but the kids really enjoyed it and were completely awed by the range of potions, handmade wands and Harry Potter-themed food. The only games they played were the wand-choosing and transfiguration games, the rest of the time was spent either snacking on Bertie Bott's every flavor beans or chasing each other with their wands while casting spells!
If you're planning a Harry Potter birthday party, I hope this post has helped you! If so, please let me know in the comments! 🙂
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