Harry Potter Party

Boy dressed as Harry Potter at birthday party Whether you are celebrating your child’s birthday, the birthday of the boy wizard himself (July 31) or maybe the release of the latest Harry Potter book or movie (I can’t believe they’re all done!), there are all kinds of reasons to have a Harry Potter party. There are so many great ‘props’ available for a Harry Potter party, kids of all ages (even the adult ones) can’t help but have fun with it!

Harry Potter Invitations

Harry Potter Hogwarts InvitationThere are a lot of fun ways to create your own clever invitations for a Harry Potter party. Pick up some parchment paper, available at your local office supply store to give your invitations an authentic Hogwarts look. For the invitation wording, look to the first Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone aka Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) to see Harry's first letter from Hogwarts. It was written in green ink with a purple wax seal on the outside. A sample invitation based on this letter is shown to the right.

Sample Text for Hogwart's Invitation

This is the wording I used for a Harry Potter party invitation. For those who don't know, Muggles are non-magical people, Ollivanders is the name of the store that sells magic wands, and in the world of wizards, owls deliver the mail. Over 20 children were invited to this party, so we chose to not have them bring gifts. I left in the line asking them not to bring gifts. Change it as it fits your needs - be creative! The Hogwarts crest was at the top of the page. This is the rest of the invitation:

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Headmaster: ALBUS DUMBLEDORE (Order of Merlin First Class Grand Sorc. Chf. Warlock Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

Dear Mr. (or Miss) [Child's Name Here]:

We are pleased to inform you that you have been invited to a celebration at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in honor of [birthday child's name here] [age here] birthday. You can wear wizard attire, or, if you prefer, dress in the Muggle manner. Magic wands will be provided by Ollivanders. The celebration will take place on [party date] from [party start time] to [party end time]. Snacks will be available. This opportunity for [birthday child's first name] to share a magical time with friends is his birthday present so please, no gifts. We await your own by no later than [RSVP date]. If you are unable to reply by owl, you can RSVP to [email address here, if you like] or by Muggle phone at [phone number].

Yours Sincerely,

[parent name signed]
[parent name typed]
Deputy Headmistress (or Deputy Headmaster)

Wax Seal

If you want a wax seal on your invitations, I recommend glue gun sealing wax. It works like wax, but you put it in your mini glue gun. This means there is no smoke or flame, and it is softer than traditional wax, so it goes through the mail better.

For the seal itself, you can buy a Hogwarts wax seal. If you'd rather customize one of your own, you can make one out of Sculpey. The Hogwarts crest with an 'H' in the middle isn't hard to do - just remember to create it backwards so it stamps properly! Be sure to chill the seal before you use it - you can set it on top of ice to keep it chilled while you work. The Sealing Wax sets up better that way.

Party Map

Want to include a map to the party location? Try printing an internet map on parchment paper and cut it into a small square (this way you can get four to a page). You can add the following words from the Marauder's Map at the top:

Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers are proud to present The Marauder's Map

You can also add this to your map: Look for Platform 9 3/4 to get to Hogwarts! Platform 9 3/4 is where the magical kids catch the train to Hogwarts. Put helium balloons on the mailbox or somewhere outside your house, and write 9 3/4 on them to make it easier for parents to find the house.

Delivering the Invitations

Since it's unlikely you can get an owl to deliver the invitations, you'll have to find some other way! If you are hand-delivering invitations, you could roll them up like a scroll and tie them with a ribbon. If you are mailing the party invitations, you can get parchment paper envelopes. Try printing them on a computer with green ink. Underneath the child's name, add: The Cupboard Under the Stairs above the address. (This is how Harry's first letter was addressed.) Since they can't come by owl post, try printing a picture of an owl on the outside. Harry Potter letter from Hogwarts envelope

Harry Potter Decorations

Turn Your Home Into Hogwarts

Boy dressed as Harry Potter at birthday partyWhen it comes to decorations for a Harry Potter party, I say go Hogwarts! You can turn your home into a castle, and it's easier than you may think.

Castle Walls
With a roll of flagstone paper, you can turn an entire room into a castle. It looks amazing, and doesn't cost very much.

Hogwarts Crest Hogwarts Crest peel and stick wall decal
See the picture of the boy with the Hogwarts Crest behind him? That was made on poster board (the kind with the grid which is very helpful for non-artistic types) and painted. If you're not feeling confident in your artistic abilities, you can also buy a Hogwarts crest decal.

Platform 9 3/4

Platform 9 3/4 in King's Cross Station, LondonIf you have half a trolley laying around, you can build your own Platform 9 3/4 like this one inside King's Cross Station in London. If not, you can buy a Platform 9 3/4 Poster that's the same idea without needing an actual brick wall.

Invite Harry Potter to the Party

Harry Potter cardboard cutout
Party guests will love having their photo taken with this Harry Potter standup When you use these kinds of props, you create the perfect opportunity for a photo. Snap a picture of each partygoer in front of your fabulous backdrop, and send it to them with your thank you note. Photos make a great souvenir from an unforgettable party!


House Colors

For your Harry Potter party tableware,  you can choose colors from the Houses of Hogwarts. Gryffindor's colors are scarlet and gold, Hufflepuff's are yellow and black, Ravenclaw's are blue and bronze (blue and gray in the movies), and Slytherin's colors are green and silver.

Just Like Hogwarts

Another option is  to use solid gold colored plates, just like they use at Hogwarts. For cups, kids love plastic goblets. You can purchase them inexpensively from most party supply stores.

Harry Potter Party Food and Snacks

Pretzel Wands

Dip long pretzel sticks into frosting, then roll them in the sprinkles of your choice. Put them in a cup to serve.

Cauldron Punch

Cauldron Punch for Harry Potter PartyMixing Kool-Aid and 7-Up makes a great drinkable potion. If you really want to have fun with it, get an Erlenmeyer Flask (scientific flask). Add a packet of Kool-Aid to your newly acquired flask. Then, in front of the kids, pour in some 7-Up. Don't overdo it, because it is going to bubble and fizz right up to the top! Then pour the mixture into your punch bowl. Add a 2 liter of 7-Up, sugar (yes, you still need sugar even though you are mixing with 7-Up - I suggest 1/2 cup), stir and serve in plastic goblets. To really have fun with this, get a big plastic cauldron, put your punch bowl inside of it, then serve from the cauldron.

Pumpkin Juice

In Harry Potter, the kids at Hogwarts drink pumpkin juice. I have never tried real pumpkin juice, but if you serve orange Kool-Aid and call it pumpkin juice, the kids will most likely prefer that to the real thing! Another option is to make pumpkin smoothies. Blend canned pumpkin with milk and crushed ice, some sugar and a little cinnamon and nutmeg for a pumpkin-pie flavored treat.

Harry Potter Cakes

There are so many amazing options for a Harry Potter birthday cake. Whether you choose to get one from a bakery or make your own cake, you can make it amazing!

Castle Cake

Make 2 cakes in regular cake pans. Stack one on top of the other. For the towers, cut 2 ice cream cones in half the long way. Place one of the halves upside down at the base of each corner. Place a whole ice cream cone on top of each half, facing upright. You can add upside down sugar cones to the top if you want pointed rooftops.

If you want a gray castle, make gray frosting by adding black paste food coloring to white frosting. Frost the cake and the towers. If you are using the sugar cones, you can make dress them up a little by making a paste of powdered sugar & water, painting it on them, and rolling them (while still wet) in black sprinkles.

Castle Cake

The cake you see here was made for a "Knight" birthday party, but works well for a Harry Potter party.

Hogwarts Castle CakeCastle Cake from a Bakery

Don't want to make your own Castle Cake? If you give the above information to your local bakery, they should be able to do it for you! This is a Harry Potter Hogwarts castle cake made by a bakery.

Harry Potter Cake Kit

Hogwarts Cake Decorating KitYou can also buy a Harry Potter Castle Cake Decorating Kit for a quick and easy way to make an amazing Hogwarts birthday cake.

Quidditch Cake

Make a cake that looks like a Quidditch field! Using either a regular cake pan or a sheet cake pan, bake your choice of cake. Frost the top green, and add three sticks with hoops (varying lengths) at each end. You could make these with Sculpey or use stir sticks with the plastic rings that seal the lids on gallons of milk, or use bubble wands. Use graham crackers to create the towers, and frost them in the colors of the school houses.

The Harry Potter Quidditch Cake pictured here was made by Kerry M. of Georgia. It's a six-layer cake (4 yellow and 2 chocolate) with a layer of buttercream icing and covered in fondant.

The top of the cake is iced with green glitter icing and sprinkled with green sugar crystals for 'grass..' Angel food cake slices with fondant and painted with food coloring make the stands.

The house animal (red-gryffindor-lion, yellow-hufflepuff-badger, blue-ravenclaw-raven, green-slytherin-snake) is painted on the front of each house stand. The flags are strips of fruit rollup.

The base of the cake is meant to be 'rock' and is made from coco krispie treats (made with chocolate marshmallow) and have candy 'grass' tufts. The goal posts are made from spaghetti and lifesavers, secured with icing.

The people are made out of fondant and wrapped in fruit rollups (except Madame Hooch, who is wearing a fondant robe) and riding pretzel brooms with fruit rollup bristles. Two of the players have the bludger bats and one has the quaffle. Two bludgers and the golden snitch are coming off the cake via wire. Madame Hooch is standing by the trunk the balls/bats go in when not in play. It's made from chocolate, chocolate marshmallows and cinnamon graham crackers.

Wizard Hat Cake

Wizard Hat Cake for Harry Potter partyMake a cake in an 9 x 13 " cake pan. Turn the cake out. Trim the sides so the cake is shaped like a triangle with a point at the top (see photo below left). You can use the pieces you cut off to make an identical cake - trim the bottom straight if you don't like the point. (see photo below right)

Note: If you are using store-bought frosting, you can get by with one can for both cakes if you are very frugal, but I recommend buying two cans.

Frost and decorate as you wish - use star-shaped sprinkles, or trim fruit leather into stars and moons if you wish! Frost black for a more traditional Harry Potter look.

This cake is very easy to make and decorate - the birthday child can help decorate too!

 Golden Snitch Cake

Cake pan for Golden Snitch CakeHave you read the last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? Harry's birthday cake (courtesy of Mrs. Weasley) is shaped like a golden snitch. Now you can have your very own golden snitch birthday cake - and it's very easy to do. All you need is a ball cake pan.

Bake the cake according to the pan directions, then add your golden frosting (yellow food coloring to white frosting). Use icing and a decorating tip to add the wings, and then you have your Harry Potter golden snitch cake.

Harry Potter Party Games and Activities

Sort Students

Students at Hogwarts are sorted into four different houses - Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw & Slytherin - by an old hat known as the Sorting Hat. When you place it upon your head, it decides which house you belong in.

You can sort students into houses as well. You need an old-looking witches hat (or buy a Hogwarts Sorting Hat. Put the various house names on slips of paper and have each child draw one out to see which house they will belong to.

Note: Some kids - especially younger ones - will just want to be in Gryffindor House (like Harry, Ron & Hermione). Sorting into different houses is more fun for older kids - I suggest they be at least upper elementary!

Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunts are a great party activity for all ages - they can easily be altered to make easier for young children or more difficult for older ones.

For a Scavenger Hunt at a Harry Potter party, there are a lot of great props available that are inexpensive:

  • Basilisks (plastic snakes)
  • Plastic frogs (Trevor, like Neville Longbottom's frog)
  • Gold galleons (Use shiny toy coins for wizard money)
  • Sorcerer's stones (decorative stones)
  • Golden snitch (ping pong balls spray painted gold with wings glued on)

Harry Potter Scavenger HuntGive the kids a list of what item to look for. If you have young children playing, add a picture of each item next to it to help them locate items without reading.

I have done this before as a 'Gryffindor Common Room Lost & Found' list. If you are making Goodie Bags (see below under Party Favors), kids can put items in their bags as they find them. If you made Broomstick Pencils (also under Party Favors, below), they can check off items with the pencil.

Magic Wands

Dowel Rods make great magic wands, and they're cheap! You can get them at Hobby Lobby if you have one around you, and other craft/hobby stores.

As an activity you can let the kids decorate them. Put glue in one cup, and sequins or glitter in another. Let the kids dunk the ends to decorate.

DIY Magic Wands for Harry Potter Party

Bertie Bott Bean Tasting

This is a simple activity that usually gets a lot of laughs. In the books, Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans are jelly beans that come in every flavor (even flavors such as ear wax!) There are some great flavors - like buttered popcorn - and some really terrible ones like dirt, pepper, sardines, and the very worst... vomit.

They come with a flavor chart so you can identify what you are getting. Let each child choose one, and see if they can guess the flavor. Keep a garbage can handy! Kids usually enjoy this - and get a lot of laughs from watching other kids faces as they taste these 'treats'.

Harry Potter Party Favors

Harry Potter Glasses

Everyone knows Harry Potter by his glasses. Party guests will have a blast with their very own pair of Harry Potter glasses.

Broomstick Pencils

To make these you need pencils and natural raffia. Put a small piece of tape sticky side out around the top of the pencil on the metal area near the eraser. Cut several pieces of raffia and lay them on the tape all the way around the pencil. Take another piece of raffia and wrap it around the taped area, tying down the other pieces of raffia. Tie it off and you have a broomstick pencil.

Harry Potter broomstick pencil craft

Chocolate Frogs

You can buy chocolate frogs that come with wizard cards (just like in the Harry Potter books), but it is more cost effective to make them. You need a frog candy mold They are easy to make - follow the directions on the package of chocloate candy melts.

In the Harry Potter books, the chocolate frogs come with 'Famous Witches & Wizards' trading cards. You can substitute the Harry Potter trading cards, or make your own witches & wizards cards.

Put them in baggies, tie them with a ribbon. Consider adding a 'Honeydukes Sweet Shop' tag (that's the candy store in the wizarding world).

Chocolate frogs for Harry Potter party

Make Your Own Goodie Bags

Harry Potter party goodie bag

Cloth bags are easy to make, inexpensive, and a keepsake for party guests. Use a length of felt (how long depends on how many you need to make), and trace around something round - like a dinner plate. Cut out the felt circle, then punch a series of holes around the top.

There may be a tool that will do this easier, but I used a paper hole punch - a little tiring on the hands, but it worked fine. Thread some yarn through the holes, leaving the ends long enough to tie together. Put knots on the ends, so they don't come unthreaded.

The bags can be used to carry party favors, or put scavenger hunt items in if you are having a scavenger hunt.

Lightning Bolt Tattoos

Harry Potter was always recognized by the distinctive lightning bolt scar on his tattoo. Give your party guests their own Harry Potter "scar" with lightning bolt temporary tattoos.

Magic Wands

Kids can make these themselves with dowel rods (see instructions for this in the Games & Activities section) or you can use glow sticks or even sticks you find outside.