Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Harry Potter

Obviously, last weekend's epic Harry Potter birthday party extravaganza knocked me under a bit on the blog...but it went so well!  I must digress for a moment and talk about it, and specifically, my wonderful (now 12-yr-old) son.  We were partners in party planning, and though I spent a lot of time stressed about it*, the event went off without a single hitch.

Entering through a Leaky Cauldron sign over the front door, the kids first went to wand-making at Ollivander's, with sticks Ian collected from around the yard, Model Magic, glitter, yarn, pipe cleaners, a few tiny pompons, raffia and feathers and various colored strings.  There were all sorts of crazy ol' jars with fake creepy ingredients and labels as a centerpiece, too.  I rummaged, borrowed, and went to a junk thrift store for the jars, and got most of the ideas and labels off the internet.  (I really liked my own idea for prunes as hippogriff gizzards, though!)

Then potions, with practically everything from my kitchen set out as per a list from Ian.  Flour, oil, dishsoap, baking powder, vinegar, Tums, Alka-Seltzer, food coloring, cornstarch, glue, corn syrup, bubbles, salt, cinnamon.  I couldn't get a hold of any Borax, but I think we had it pretty well covered otherwise!  16 kids on the deck table -- at the end I had to use the hose to clean it up, and there was nothing left of the supplies.  It was the most fun I think I've ever seen my kids have, and definitely the biggest hit of the party!  Brilliant Ian specified on the invitation to bring their own containers, which was very helpful.  I really should let them get messy more often ;)

Then he took them through a painted-brick Platform 9 3/4 poster he made himself to be sorted into their houses at Hogwarts, and to play a game of Quidditch, which we partly made up on the spot.  6 small orange cones, 2 soccer balls, one softball, and a small brightly colored top became the materials, and it worked perfectly, which was a pleasant surprise.  Each team had a soccer ball for a Bludger, the softball got passed back and forth as the Quaffle, and the top was hidden as the Snitch.  The teams had to actually knock a cone down/over to score with the Quaffle, and I think if you got hit with a Bludger (no head shots) you had to freeze for 15 seconds.  They had such a blast that after a brief refreshing butterbeer (cream soda) they wanted to play again.

Lastly, we went into the dark basement where there was some dry ice and S. waiting in a bald cap and some black scraps of fabric as Voldemort, and the kids got to throw beanbags at him.  It was funny, if one-sided.  He finally resorted to 'cursing' each of them for laughs since he was getting so creamed by the bean bags; some were cursed to be a left shoe, or a cheeseburger, 'the opposite of the awesomest thing ever', a pie, etc., whatever S. could think of on the fly.  One kid got cursed to go home (not really) when he threw an unfortunately-aimed beanbag...

We turned on the second HP movie for about half an hour while eating cake and ice cream (recipes taken from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, including a multi-step homemade ice cream recipe that I had to borrow an ice cream freezer for), and then opened presents.  They would have liked to finish the movie, but it had been 3 hours at that point and parents were arriving.

We sent the kids home with a quick drink of pumpkin juice, their wands, potions, and goodie bags of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.  They were mostly regular Jelly Bellies, a dollar store bag of Jelly Belly misshapen mistakes, and one expensive half-pound package of the real Bertie Bott's mixed in to the whole bunch, and also a few gummy slugs and Milk Duds ('owl pellets').  Simply wonderful.

The thing that pleased me most, though, was the great group of friends my son had here.  The party went so well not because of the cute ideas or great planning (though that helped), but because his chosen peers were so fun, respectful, energetic, friendly, all that.  I can't tell you how impressed I was with his choice of friends -- I knew some of them already, but many I didn't, and it says so much to me that these are his buddies.  What a superb kid he is, and he's associating with other great people.  Ian, Happy 12th!!!

*Tiffany, I thought of you, maybe we're trading places :)


  1. I hear you about the letting-them-get-messy thing. Can't seem to bring myself...

    I loved this!!!! The whole thing. AWESOME.

  2. WOW! Kristin that party looked awesome. My girls would have LOVED to have to come! :) I know what you mean about knowing your child has good friends. It really is a big deal and such a comfort. It also shows what great parents he has to show how to be a good friend. Happy Birthday Ian but I can't believe you are 12!

  3. Wow-ee! Great details, thanks for posting!