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July 31, 2014

Happy Birthday Harry Potter! Planning an HP-themed Party


Happy birthday Harry Potter! The Boy Who Lived has come a long way from his days receiving used socks as presents from his cruel aunt and uncle on Privet Drive, and we want to celebrate.

What’s the best way?  Have a party, of course! Below, we’ve included a list of fun party ideas we came up with, along with those we discovered from creative Harry Potter fans on the internet. Plus, we have a special how-to from Jennifer Rummel, who’s thrown multiple Harry Potter parties at the Connecticut library where she works.

1)     No party is complete without costumes, especially when you have such a rich source of nspiration. You could give out awards for the most creative costume, the most obscure character/idea, the most true-to-the-book, and more! Here are some examples we found online (from left to right: Golden Snitch, the cover of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, and Dobby).

2) Make sure you feed your guests the most delectable Harry Potter-themed treats. Here are a few links to help you on your way:
- The blog Pastry Affair has a delicious recipe for butterbeer cupcakes
- If you want to keep your options open, check out this roundup from Buzzfeed, which includes everything from cauldron cakes to Golden Snitch truffles.
- Are videos more your style? Here's a YouTube video from My Cupcake Addiction, which teaches you the steps behind some Harry Potter cupcakes.

3) Do your friends claim to be Harry Potter whizzes, and know the 12 uses of dragon's blood? Make them prove it with a trivia game! Have each partygoer write 3-7 of the hardest HP questions they can think up, divide into two teams, and have each side quiz the other. This is sure to be even more intense than a Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match.

4) Have a seven-movie marathon, complete with sleeping bags and popcorn (and maybe a Bertie Bott's Every Flavoured Bean, or two).

5) Play Harry Potter charades! Test your creativity by acting out not only your favorite characters, but also your favorite creatures and spells. This game will be challenging and hilarious.

6) Who doesn't like arts and crafts? Check out this Pinterest board for tons of hands-on activities, from bookmarks to jewelry to shoes! 


Below, Jennifer Rummel shares the inside scoop on throwing an unforgettable Harry Potter party for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie release. It's full of good ideas that we're sure will inspire  you!

"Over the course of my 10 years as a YA Librarian, I have thrown 3 Harry Potter parties, two in a library and one at a baseball park. The last party for the final movie was probably the best and most memorable for me, not to mention the saddest. I stored up all my knowledge of previous midnight book parties I attended and together with the Children’s Librarian Kimberly White, threw a huge party. 

To celebrate in a big way, the party was held after the library closed for the night. We wanted to make it more special, but also we wanted to be able to squeal with glee over these books.  We used all the meeting rooms upstairs for the party, with the help of several teen volunteers.

Next to the checkout desk, we had a table of Hogwarts Required Reading, which showcased several other books that Harry Potter fans would also enjoy. Readers could check these out at the end of the night, or we provided bookmarks with the titles in case they wanted to come back later.

To kick the night off, we had someone from the Dension Pequotsepos Nature Center come in and talk about owls.  Fans got an in depth lesson on owls, including meeting some rescued owls local to our area.

After the presentation on owls, we opened up the rest of the rooms. Our meeting room showcased crafts from Harry Potter, including an origami Hedwig and make your own wands with pretzel rods.  Participants could also try Harry Potter food, found in THE UNOFFICIAL HARRY POTTER COOKBOOK, including Cockroach Clusters, Pumpkin Juice, and Peanut Butter Crunch BonBons. Kimberly and I carefully crafted a batch of Butterbeer with cream soda and butterscotch sauce.

We couldn’t host a party without the world famous sporting event, so we created a small quidditch field with hula hoops for goals. Readers could race on their brooms through the field and hopes of winning their mini game. Lots of laughter came from the field and it was occupied for the rest of the night until the final moments where we raffled off movie tickets to a lucky winner to see the movie.

All in all, it was a great night filled with readers who loved Harry Potter as much as I did. I went home happy, excited and sad for the last Harry Potter movie to come out. Even though the series is over, the excitement never dies. There’s always a new reader to discover the magic and the joys of Harry Potter. I love seeing readers happy to follow Harry and his friends to Hogwarts and back."

So happy celebrating everyone, and we hope you've enjoyed our 31 Days of Harry Potter feature! If you missed out on earlier posts, be sure to check them out here.