We're certain Max and his friends are going to remember this party for a very long time. Marin shares: Our son Max is completely enamored with Harry Potter and has been asking for a Harry Potter birthday party for months. The books are so full of detail and wonderful, imaginative characters and locations that it was easy coming up with ideas. The hard part was editing down all those ideas into a feasible party!
We settled on making it a "Day at Hogwarts" event. We happened to find Hogwarts stationary at a garage sale, so we hand-wrote acceptance letters to our guests informing them that they had been accepted to attend Hogwarts Summer Term.
Upon arrival the kids walked through Diagon Alley where they first visited Gringotts bank and "deposited" canned food (we asked for food for the food bank instead of gifts) and "withdrew" wizard gold. They then used their gold to visit Potages Cauldrons to purchase a cauldron (black container from the Target $1 bin), Ollivander's for a wand (chopsticks - I found a set of 24 for $1.50 at a garage sale) and Eyelops Owl Emporium for an owl, which was a ceramic owl that they later painted.
Kids then proceeded down the stairs where they were stopped at the entrance to Hogwarts and were sorted in their houses. We had printed class schedules that had either Gryffindor, Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw stickers on the back and whichever one a child drew became the house to which they were assigned. We skipped Slytherin to avoid having "good guys" and "bad guys". Kids traveled together by house from class to class and got check marks on their schedule upon completion of a class. The classes were Potions (baking soda, vinegar, food coloring and a lot of cut up veggies and spices all mixed together and bottled), Care of Magical Creatures (owl painting), Quidditch (throwing a ball through our homemade Quidditch hoops), Divination (popping balloons that we'd filled with prophecies) and Broom Riding (a relay race where kids had to dress up in wizard robes, scarves, glasses and hats and then race across the yard on a broom). When they had finished all their classes they got to visit Honeydukes, the sweet shop the students visit in the books.
I cheated and made cake pops out of donut holes, dipped in yellow candy melts and embellished with paper wings to look like golden snitches. That idea came from the website Amy Bites, although hers were much more elaborate!
After that the kids had free time to play in the Forbidden Forest (wooded area of our yard), have wand battles, play Quidditch and just enjoy spending time in a fantasy world.
I had so much fun putting it all together and since everything was either thrifted or made from items we already had laying around, it was a very budget-friendly party. Max had a blast and said it was the best day of his life!
(Images: Marin/Brown Paper Packages)