Sunday, May 22, 2011


My kids used to run around the apartment with pencils or straws or anything straight they could find and shoot spells at each other. The twins' favorites were "Expelliarmus!" and "Stupefy!" Then Christmas came and the Owl Post delivered their wands and the magic intensified. So naturally, after I had come to the conclusion that I did not, in fact, have $1000 or the required energy to transport 12 kids to a bowling alley in Times Square, and I was faced with throwing a party within the walls of my own apartment (oh, the horror!), a Harry Potter theme crept into my mind like Snape on a dark, stormy night (I just had to get my favorite character into this post somehow.)

I'm no party planner. But I am an actress. Which means I'm good at stealing other peoples' creativity when it best serves me. So after scouring the inter-webs, I was able to put together what I thought would be a pretty cool party for an 8 year old HP fan.

First up, the invitations. You buy parchment paper at Target, find a cool font, make up something awesome to say, and then buy a .20 red candle at Michael's and drip the wax on the invite and seal it with a Romanian coin. That's it! And yet, one parent asked me where I ordered the invitations from and didn't believe me when I said we made them. That's the way New York parents roll. If you can't buy it custom-made, it probably doesn't exist. Imagine their disbelief if any of my countless Mormon friends who are actually talented had been involved!

Next up, the entrance to the "Gryffindor Common Room" aka our apartment. My artistic oldest daughter took the reins on this one and drew her rendition of the Fat Lady portrait. We positioned on our door, so that her actual eye was over the peephole. Creeptastic!

As the boys were arriving, we passed around a bag of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and the boys bravely bit into each one, then spit the nasty ones into a different bag. Classy? Not so much. Right up the alley of 8 year old boys? YES.

Next, the boys received wands handcrafted out of drumsticks by my step-dad, Bret, and were off to Wand Spells and Dueling class, with Mila as the very capable instructor. All the pictures of this activity were blurry, but it was an action-packed course!

I led Potions class next, which involved Pop Rocks and making bright fizzy colors come bubbling out of cauldrons. It was pretty cool, I must say!

For lunch, we had pizza and homemade butterbeer. I got the recipe from my stepsister and it was awesome! It will definitely be a new Halloween tradition.

We used Harry Potter Legos that we already had to top off the Quidditch-themed cake, and one of my favorite moments is when the boys began yelling out spells and curses in between the lines of the birthday song.

Each boy took home a goodie bag with homemade chocolate frogs (super cheap molds found on ebay), HP silly bandz, their mini cauldrons, and wands.

All in all, I'd say it was a success, even if one boy left crying. After we ran out of activities and food, I let them play Lego Harry Potter on the XBox and I think the sugar-charged competitive energy was a bit overwhelming for some of them...

It has taken me three months to write about it because it's taken me that long to recover! Just kidding, but let's just say that it's a good thing I don't have another one of these things to plan until July 2012, as my kids only have friend parties on their even-numbered birthdays. One of my best grown-up decisions ever.


The McKay's said...

What a great party! The invitations look awesome. I can't imagine putting all that effort into a party and not being pooped about it. You could take all year to right about that in my book :)

I especially love the decision on friend parties for even bdays only. I think I may steal that. We don;t even have kids yet, but i love the idea!


MamaQ said...

you are the best mama ever. i really wish i had been invited to that party - it sounds like it was a blast. nice work!

Mom n Pop Wilson said...

I'm sorry I missed it!

Hannah S said...

Love it! Yes, you are a creative person, no matter how you look at it. I love the mini-cauldrons!! Where did you find those? Was this during Halloween season?
I also like the coin imprint idea. We have an "S" that we bought in England...just because. But it has limited uses as it's only one initial. Good to know you found the parchment at Target. I tried looking at Expedx and craft stores and could not find any when I had a western party.
Yes, recovering takes months.....and yet I still like to do them. I'm a glutton for punishment. We do friend parties every other year also, on the odd ones though.
It looks like Ethan had a great time, which is the important thing.

Jewels said...

Are you joking me with this? You are brilliant! LOVE the 'classes', with the potions? Marvy. I miss you and your wax-melting ways.

Heidi said...

SO great! congrats on the amazing party details. So glad to finally see and hear how it turned out. Wonderful job super mom!!

erin said...

That party looks like it was WAY more fun than a bowling alley party!
Fun ideas Hailey! Love it!

Kristen said...

My favorite is the fat lady portrait. Very 'boss' party.

April and Jacque said...

Hey girl-
Love that you are living in New York! I love the birthday party- how cute. Love, April