We did it again. We threw a birthday party for a fictional character. In fact, we threw a huge birthday party for a fiction character. We had around 40 people at our party celebrating Harry Potter's birthday (July 31), with guest ages ranging from 2 to parents (we won't discuss the age of the parents). Lest you think that the party was only for the kids, parents came dressed in character as well. One mom had the best Professor Trelawney costume I have ever seen.
This year we decided to make a few stores from Diagon Alley. I painted bricks and stones on folded display boards. The girls very much wanted to help and I was so pleased with their work. Meg made the sign for Ollivanders. Clare found an old display board we had used for another party and made the Apothecary entirely on her own. We initially placed these outside as a way to greet our guest, but the sky threatened rain, so we moved them into our front hallway.
For food, we again made pumpkin pasties. To make these easy, I used canned crescent rolls, flattened the dough and cut out squares. I scooped a spoonful of the pumpkin filling (recipe found here) and folded the dough over it. They weren't as pretty as many on the internet, but they served my purposes just fine.
We added a few new food items from last year's party. I made Pensieve Jello, which is just blue jello with whipped cream on top. I got the idea for that one from here. We also made Butter Beer Popcorn, for which I found the recipe here (the blogger tells a sweet story about making this popcorn every October for her niece as they watch the Harry Potter movies together). One family brought chocolate-coated pretzel wands, which were stunningly beautiful. Another family brought butter beer cupcakes. Just after the party, Meg and I sat down on the couch and split one of the remaining cupcakes. I can tell you they were perhaps the best cupcakes I have ever tasted in my life.
We decided to make a Honeydukes Trolley this year. I found the idea for the trolley here, but the focus on Honeydukes was inspired by a book Anne picked out for me for Mother's Day, which is a scratch and sniff Honeydukes book. She picked it out so we could read it together and we do, in fact, read it together all the time. On our trolley, we placed jelly beans, chocolate frogs and peppermint toads. Meg and Clare made the chocolate frogs and peppermint toads all by themselves in the days leading up to the party using a chocolate frog mold we purchased from Amazon. We have used this mold over and over again and washed it repeatedly in the dishwasher. It has held up beautifully.
For our birthday cake, we bought a sheet cake at our local grocery store. Clare took off any flourishes on the cake and then topped it with store bought icing dyed pink. She then wrote "Happee Birthdae Harry" just as Hagrid did on Harry's eleventh birthday. Obviously, we could have made a cake, but we were pressed for time. For one of the families our party was their second Harry Potter party of the day. They graciously brought nearly half of a similar birthday cake they had made for the earlier party. Our cake was a white cake. Their cake was chocolate. It was perfect. The kids could choose whichever they preferred.
I did set up a directed Potions class and I found this site extremely helpful in developing plans for that. However, the kids decided they would prefer to make their own potions. I knew from last year they would likely enjoy that more and so I did let them. Things did get out of hand initially because I had foolishly left the food coloring on the table from our guided experiment. Once the kids had only vinegar, baking soda and dishwashing liquid to play with everything was fine. Sure there was a mess, but it was a mess of cleaning solutions. Basically, my kitchen received a wonderful disinfecting from their potions experiments.
I will leave you with pictures of some of our favorite decorations. As the girls get older, they help more and more with these projects. In fact, five-year-old Anne put together our golden snitches that you can see above in the food pictures. Clare put up the dementor that you see below. Meg and Clare made the floo powder pot together and created their own floo powder for inside. The party was very much a team effort, which makes it all the more special.