Monday, January 24, 2011


I decided to try and replicate the Hogwarts acceptance letter for the invites. The text of the invitation reads:


Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorcerer, Chief Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confederation of Wizards)

Dear [Guest],

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for a special mid-year session in honor of Head Boy Colwyn XXXX’s birthday. Please take the Hogwarts Express train (or an alternate Muggle mode of transportation) to the American campus, currently disguised as a Muggle home at [address]. There you will find the magical door visible only to Hogwarts students, friends and families. The password is Flibbertigibblet. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.

The session begins on Saturday, October 23rd, at 2:00pm. We await your owl by no later than October 16th. If you are unable to respond by owl, please reply via the Muggle telephone system at (###)###-####.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel XXXX
Deputy Headmistress of Frolic and Feasts, Hogwarts Academy

The second page reads:



First-year students will require:
1. One set of plain work robes (black)
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
3. One winter jacket, any color


1 wand
1 cauldron (black, standard size 2)

Please note that pupil’s supplies may be purchased at Hogwarts: The American Campus.

Students may also bring a stuffed owl OR a stuffed cat OR a stuffed toad.


I used the font Hogwarts Wizard and downloaded the Hogwarts crest to put at the top of the page. I was planning on using parchment, but I'd have had to buy 250 sheets at Staples, so instead I bought some nice ivory stationary. I signed each letter with a gold pen. The envelopes I printed with the computer as well, using Hogwarts Wizard font in green ink. For invitations that I was going to hand deliver (for friends who were fans.. for the kids who weren't fans, I just mailed them), I used red wax and an H stamp to do a wax seal on the back. I wanted purple wax, but they didn't have any at Michael's. Then I glued some owl feathers to the front and back of the envelope. It took me about an hour to drop them all off, but the kids enjoyed pretending to be owls.

Outside Decorations

This is what greeted our guests when they first arrived.

We got an old box and had some fun coming up with labels for it. Some of it I copied from a package we had just received. We also wrote "DHowL" on it. Then we burned the flaps to make it look like the skrewts had escaped.

We bought some cheap brooms and put up a Broom Parking sign. All the kids wanted to ride around on these.

We borrowed a trunk from my sister, wrapped up some empty boxes, and used another bird cage and broom to look like luggage set to go off to Hogwarts. This was at the foot of the steps up to our front door.

We happen to have a weeping willow tree in our front yard, so a Whomping Willow sign was an obvious choice.


Set on the bookcase near our entry were stacks of books (regular books covered in paper and labeled with 'real' HP book titles), Molly Weasley's clock, some candles, skulls, a Snitch, etc.

Here's a better view of Molly's clock. I used a plaque from AC Moore, acrylic paint, and Sharpies. The hands are from a couple of clock kits also purchased from AC Moore.

Moaning Myrtle was in our bathroom. I got some sheer, sparkly material from Joann's and used a fabric pen to paint her. Then we had a CD player in bathroom playing Moaning Myrtle's track on the soundtrack, on repeat.

We have a big mirror in our dining room that I covered with black paper. Then I copied the Transfiguration chalkboard from the movie, using chalk.

We created an owlery on another bookcase. The packages are his gifts from us. A bird cage, stuffed owl, and lots of feathers completed the look. Also in the picture is a big wall mural we bought, the Hogwarts crest.

On top of our entertainment center were more books, candles, and a big cauldron.

I forgot to take pictures of some things.. we had a bulletin board with lots of funny signs on brightly colored paper. Our bedroom door had a sign that said "Staff Room" and the door to the basement said, "House Elves At Work - Do Not Enter."


We needed several snitches for the party.. two at least for when we play Muggle Quidditch, but I also wanted some for decoration in the house. I bought some styrofoam balls, gold paint, and white feathers. I'm not entirely sure I like the way the gold paint turned out, but it's good enough.

We're also using a lot of books for props. Mainly I'm covering our regular books with paper (I'll post more about that later), but I also wanted a Monster Book of Monsters. I used a cereal box and some fake fur I got at the fabric store. The 'pages' of the book is just felt, as are the teeth. Hot glued some googly eyes on, and viola!

Diagon Alley

When guests first arrived, they were brought down to Diagon Alley. I had removed most of the toys from our playroom (dumped them in my bedroom) and set up the shops. The first stop was Gringotts, where they got to pick up their Galleons. The coins are pirate coins from Oriental Trading, and the little bags were from Michael's (in the wedding section).

Then they went to Madam Malkin's, where they bought robes (the little cards say Small and Large in HP font) and hats. The robes are men's black t-shirts cut straight up the front. The hats were from the dollar section at Target around Halloween.

Next was Ollivander's, the most anticipated shop. We didn't do a wand choosing ceremony, rather we just let them try out all the wands and decide which they liked best. The boxes are spaghetti boxes covered in contact paper, with the length, wood, and core written on them. The wands were dowels with handles made of Sculpey (sorry, don't have a pic of the wands).

Then they picked up their cauldrons. These were from Oriental Trading, I think part of the St. Patrick's Day section.

The kids really enjoyed shopping in Diagon Alley. They had to pay me one coin for each thing they bought, then the rest of their money was to be spent in Honeydukes.

For the signs.. I got plaques from AC Moore for a few dollars each and used acrylic paints. For the most part, I used images from Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter as inspiration.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Muggle Quidditch

The one activity Colwyn insisted we do at his party was Quidditch. So we found the rules for Muggle Quidditch and decided to give it a try. We had one red kickball that was the Quaffle, two smaller balls that were the Bludgers, and a Golden Snitch. At first we just put the Snitch behind the goalposts, which were two hula hoops hung from trees. But that proved way too easy.. much more fun was having an actual person be the Snitch and run around, trying to dodge the seekers. All of the positions were the same (chaser, beater, keeper, seeker). If you got hit by a Bludger, you had to drop the Quaffle if you were holding it and freeze for 10 seconds.

We played several times. We didn't keep score because there was way too much going on. It was barely controlled chaos, but a LOT of fun.

The Food

Here's the cake. Harry is made out of gum paste, which I will never work with again. The only upside was that I got the decoration done in advance, so I wasn't up until 3am the night before the party doing the cake, like I usually am.

After our activities were done, the kids got to go to Honeydukes. We had Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (several boxes of Beanbozzled Jelly Bellies mixed with regular ones). Chocolate frogs that a friend of my husband's made (thanks!). I also made cockroach clusters (little heaps of pretzels covered in chocolate) and peppermint toads (white chocolate toads filled with peppermint buttercream). Some lemon drops rounded out the offerings.

The Leaky Cauldron offered bat wings (chicken wings from a local BBQ place), Molly Weasley's Meat Pies (my husband made these), parchment scrolls (wraps from the grocery store), and fruit wands (fruit kabobs).