I love Harry Potter. I always liked the books, but after reading them with my boys at night (we have read as far as Prisoner of Azkaban), I now love love love them. I wanted to throw Colin a Harry Potter party for his 8th birthday, but as you may well remember, I was due with Carina on his birthday and I had a feeling that I really shouldn’t plan something big – a feeling that was validated when I had an eight day old baby to take care of on his birthday.
So here it is, Gabe’s birthday, and I got to use my creative side, which is normally pretty untapped. I had such a good time getting ready for it. My top secret project, which was accomplished over several nights the week before the party?
I made a wand for every kid – our own little Ollivander’s. This may sound like bragging, and maybe it is, but this picture doesn’t even come close to capturing how cool these wands were. I really wish I had taken the time to make sure I got a better picture because I was so tickled with how well they turned out. I used this tutorial, and while I wouldn’t say it was super easy, it was super do-able. I am definitely not an artist, and it was not hard for me to make each one look pretty cool. All you have to use is paper, Elmer’s glue, a hot glue gun (a project for you Roy!) and paint. I added a wooden dowel inside each one to make them a little sturdier but it isn’t necessary. I would definitely make these again if the occasion arose. They were well worth the effort. Gabe didn’t see them until the party, and since he has been wanting a wand for a really long time, he was a happy guy. Anyway, here are tons of pictures, because I love these things.
I know that is not the most flattering picture of Mr. Ollivander, but I had to show you platform 9 3/4 right behind him….the kids walked through there to get inside Hogwarts.
Now for the second big surprise of the evening, brought to the kids by my wonderfully creative mom. I gave her a plain witch’s hat a couple of weeks ago and asked her if she could turn it into a sorting hat. I told her it just needed to look old and beat up, but I should have known she would go way beyond that. Here is what she came up with!
This was her real gift to Gabe! A labor of love. Isn’t it awesome?
Each kid got to take turns being “sorted.” The plan was to tape my phone inside and have my brother Bobby call it and talk into the ear of each student. At the last minute the tape unstuck and the kids were getting really restless so we threw the phone under the stool. In retrospect, at that point we should have just used a baby monitor because it would have been louder. Ahhh, oh well.
The kids mostly loved it – I had asked the parents if anyone had house preferences beforehand. However, I wrote Nolan’s down wrong (even through I knew long ago that he is a die-hard Hufflepuff and Levi reminded me – and see his scarf?) so he was disappointed when he was sorted into Griffyndor. The hat ended up saying he had made a mistake and switching him. They I noticed that my birthday boy was sobbing because he was the only boy in Slytherin, and his cousin Santi (who I could just hug forever for this) kindly said he would switch from Ravenclaw to be in Slytherin with Gabe, so the hat switched him as well. Whew. It was intense. By the way, Bobby was awesome as the sorting hat – he has all the Harry Potter lingo down and knew what each house is known for.
The rest of the party we just pretty much let them play and eat pizza. I tried to make butterbeer but it wasn’t that great due to not knowing where to shop for cream soda. Three stores didn’t have anything but IBC and I wasn’t about to use that for all 13 kids because it is so expensive, so we used a little cream soda, with butterscotch topping mixed in, with a lot of root beer and then whipped cream mixed with butterscotch on top.
We had a fire outside, the kids had a good time and we sent them with little goodie bags:
Chocolate frogs, licorice wands, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans (Jelly Bellies)
It was good, but I think it was a little too much for Gabe. It was one of those “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” type of nights. Hopefully he won’t remember the good of it. I was exhausted by the end. Preparing for the party was fun, but actually executing it made me appreciate the merits of slapping down a bunch of money to let Chuck-E do the work for you.