I threw my son a Harry Potter themed birthday party for his 9 3/4 birthday. Yes, that’s actually 3 months before his real birthday. And I did it because I am a genius and have unlocked Parenting Level: 347, the one where you had all four of your kids in the same 4.5 week span and are tired of throwing four birthday parties within a month (or, alternatively, dragging out birthday season).
So here’s what we did – for about $80 and some foresight (had to order some things on Amazon and get them over the ocean) we pulled off a pretty fantasy-heavy party with a group of 9 very bought-in boys.
Not just any chopsticks will do – you need the bigger, 18-inch cooking ones. Then with a hot glue gun, build the handle with twirls, twists, or just a hard base, a few inches from the thicker end. It’ll dry fast; then you can start painting. Paint the wood part with a base like a brown/white mixture, and go crazy with some gold/copper metallic paints for the handles.
The trick to waiting for them to dry? Stand them in the center of a paper towel roll.
A bunch of glass jars. Purple water created from a boiled cabbage. Vinegar. Baking soda. The shrieking in delight was worth the mess. No Potions class has ever been that fun.
Quills & Parchment
I was particularly excited about this one; I wasn’t sure the boys would be but they actually really were. We used ‘quills’ (craft feathers) and ‘parchment’ (a heavy thick craft paper with ‘grooves’ across it) and, to candle light, took notes during [Hogwarts class of your choice.]
Table top Quidditch
This was my son’s favorite part – converted Beer Pong. With three styrofoam hoops, some wooden BBQ skewers and the styrofoam base, we recreated a table top version of the best sport in magical Europe. The kids enjoyed and it was just challenging enough to not get boring. When the ball got into a cup, they ate an ‘Bertie Botts Every Flavor’ jelly bean – more on that next.
Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans
My splurge was on the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans off Amazon… but actually, these are a bit lame compared to the Jelly Belly version. The Bertie Botts version gives you one of each color and there’s a key on the side; the Jelly Belly version actually gives you two flavors that are the same color – the good one and the bad one – so you never know what you’ll get. We used the Jelly Belly ones for the Quidditch competition and the Bertie Botts as a take home gift. Definitely an entertaining prank to play on a room full of 9/10 year olds.
Cake-wise, I went with an extremely simplified Hogwarts crest… and the requisite candles… (notice the correction my son made by adding the fraction symbol toothpick).
Extra credit – aside from Harry Potter soundtrack music and candle light, we decorated with the owlery in the corner.
So how do I get away with a 3/4 birthday next year?