Harry Potter birthday party

On Saturday we celebrated Charisse’s 12th birthday (which was actually on the 12th, but she was in Oregon in the snow on her big day!). We’ve been planning a Harry Potter-themed party for her for months, buying things online here and there and stashing in the garage. A few weeks ago, Charisse, me, and our mama had a brainstorming session for the party to figure out everything we were going to do. And yesterday, in perfect So Cal sunshine, the big day arrived! It was a long and tiring day (and my calves are screaming at me today, complete with middle-of-the-night Charlie horse) but so fun and perfect. Charisse loved it and had the best time with her friends.

First things first. We definitely put the Gryffindog, Hufflepup, and Slytherrat (Pepper, Penny, and Chloe) in the office so they didn’t run around these 12 crazy girls.


Each student was sent an acceptance letter to Hogwarts (on parchment and sealed with red wax, of course!). Inside the letter was a ticket inviting them to take the train from Platform 9 3/4.


Her buddy Emma came over before the rest of the girls arrived. They were trying on the sorting hat. Students were instructed to wear white shirts and black bottoms.


Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the house elves named Krista and Melanie were slaving cooking from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Charisse picked out these peas and potatoes (and she is obsessed with them a few days after the fact, too, and I don’t blame her because they were pretty tasty!). We grabbed four roasted chickens from the grocery store (and let me tell you, 12 little girls turned four chickens into scraps — they have giant appetites!) and a couple of Casar salads. Charisse also requested mint-cucumber water.


Outside, the tables were getting set up. There was a banner for each of the two houses represented (Gryffindor and Ravenclaw). Each house tables was complete with appropriatly-colored plates and wax candles. (We did have to move most of the candles off during dinner because they kids had a feast and there wasn’t enough room for candles and delicious food.)


These candles were so great at setting the ambiance of the night and really easy to do. It’s just brown glass jars that had kombucha in them. Charisse drank it and then we peeled the labels off (that part was hard — a blow dryer is your friend!). The white candles were purchased at Target. And once the wax started the melt down the sides of the candles and jars, it was a thousand times cooler.



We had a sorting ceremony but before we could do it all of the girls had to arrive. Two of the students were coming from a play rehearsal so the other girls went outisde and had some fun in the photobooth. Most of the images here were made from googling things and from using word and a free Harry Potter font. Pretty easy and way fun! The props are glued to cardstock and the sticks attached to them are actually Wilton Cake Pop Sticks from Micheal’s.

sorting hat

Once all of the students arrived, we read the Sorting Hat’s rhyme from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (and we eliminated the verses about Hufflepuff and Slytherin since we didn’t have those houses at the party). Each of the girls put a hat on and then drew a slip of paper from a bucket. The papers had pictures of the house shields on them and we would announce in a loud voice “Ravenclaw!” or “Gryffindor!” There were an even number of girls at the party (12) so we had six slips for Gryffindor and seven for Ravenclaw (Charisse was in Gryffindor so she didn’t actually take out a piece of paper).


Class photo! All the girls, including the three high school prefects, got together for a picture before the madness began. Look how sweet they look there together!

After they were sorted, we broke up into houses and went to class! Ravenclaws started with me in Transfiguration, where we played the grossest and funniest game ever: Beanboozled. I have no pictures of this which is a good thing because it involved lots of screaming and dramatic faces while spitting out half-cheweed jelly beans into a bowl. You know what’s gross? A bowl full of half-chewed jelly beans and saliva that smells like barf, dog food, skunk spray, boogers, and more.

The Gryffindor students started their class in Potions, where they used essential oils, shea butter, avocado oil, and water to make a perfume, a spray, or a lotion. Their classroom smelled a thousand times better! We switched classes after about 20 minutes.

Once classes was over, it was time for dinner in the Great Hall! First the girls picked up a formal gown to wear with their uniforms and then they went to their house’s tables and enjoyed their dinner. I have never seen such small humans each so much meat.


Once dinner was done, it was time for everyone’s favorite: presents! Charisse has the best friends. There were so many handwritten notes and homemade cards with her presents. These girls love her well. presents

That’s Bill over there on the left and in front of all the presents. A little girl named Mia made Bill, which is a replica of The Monster Book of Monsters, a textbook selected by Hagrid.

mamadaddyspresent This is my favorite series of pictures from the evening. She saw this full set of books at Target not long after Christmas while we were shopping. They were $70 and she had $100 to spend. She wanted them and I said, “Your birthday is in a few weeks so wait.” Mama and Daddy got them for her and while I think she was expecting tons of Harry Potter presents, this wasn’t something she anticipated. Her face just kills me! She loves that the spines of the book make a picture of Hogwarts and I don’t blame here.


Dessert was a bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes — a lemon layer and a cinnamon swirl layer. Daddy-man was responsible for the awesome quidditch hoops. That cake was AMAZING.


We took a quick picture of everyone in their gowns, which they took off after dinner. Then it was movie time! What Harry Potter party is complete without the birthday girls’ favorite HP movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? We played bingo to keep the attention of some of the girls who wouldn’t be interested in otherwise.


And then the night was over! (Let’s be real, this was a five-hour party so no one left feeling like it was too short!) Lots of planning and lots of fun. This girl was pretty overjoyed at the whole evening and went to bed very happy.


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