Harry Potter Birthday Party Ideas on a Budget!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Harry Potter party ideas
Let's face it. It's hard to escape Harry Potter. Even if you had a magic wand from Ollivanders you couldn't cast a spell to make this phenomenon disappear. So why not embrace it? My kids are all about Harry Potter and their dream is to get to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios one day. My daughter's birthday was not the day to make that happen, but we did put together a ton of ideas to create a magical Harry Potter themed birthday party for her!

I wasn't sure that I would write this up but it turned out to be a fantastic time so I thought, why not? This whole thing began when my daughter wanted a hand in planning the party, so we gave her a small budget to spend however she wanted. She had the freedom to buy party decorations, food, etc. What did she immediately find out? That things are expensive! Even after scouring the internet for days on end she was still over budget. So we helped her find the best deals and supplemented what we couldn't buy with props from around the house.

We also did what you are doing right now, scouring blog posts! We ended up thinking up some of the ideas that you see below, and other themed activities we found on different websites. Where possible, I'll link to the original blog posts below so you can see how to create those activities in detail. I hope you have a party filled with laughs, chocolate frogs, and Bertie Bots Beans!

Harry Potter Photo Stations
Wizarding Photo Booth Area
When people first walked in, we had a spot set up in front of our fireplace to take photos. There were a few decorations, but we also had a basket full of "wizarding" accessories that we had gathered together. To make our budget stretch further we used items for pictures that we would also use later on in other activities.


Harry Potter party ideas
Magic Decorations
Hogwarts Invitations
My daughter made Hogwarts invitations by printing out addresses to Harry's house, along with the Hogwarts logo, and gluing them to regular envelopes. We created the illusion of them flying out of the fireplace by attaching them to fishing line and then taping them to the underside of our mantle using painters tape.


Floating Candles
Make use of those old Halloween decorations! We took battery powered candles and hung them from the ceiling using fishing line. This created effect of floating candles in the eating area!

Platform 9 3/4
For some reason I couldn't find photos of this. It was actually one of the easiest areas to make! We have a number of brick walls on the outside of our house so when you walk up to the porch, the first thing that you saw was some old luggage stacked in front of one of those walls. On top of the luggage was an owl in a cage (shown below in the scavenger hunt section), and a sign that said "Platform 9 3/4." We printed off the sign for free from this blog here. The owl was a small stuffed animal and the birdcage was a decorative piece that we had stored in a closet.


Aragog the Spider
Every year for Halloween we put a large battery powered spider on our doorstep. Fortunately this worked perfectly to represent Aragog! We placed him down a hallway with a trail of small plastic spiders leading up to him.

Harry Potter Birthday Decoration Pack
We did spend a little money on a Harry Potter Birthday pack from Amazon. It contained banners, plates, cups, and other fun trinkets. You can see some examples of the items throughout the photos in this blog post. You can also order it here from my Amazon shop.


Harry Potter Food Ideas
Sorting Hat Cupcakes
We made cupcakes the day before and then stuffed them with different colored chocolate candies that were based on Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw. The party attenders were actually sorted into each of those houses for games, but more on that later. The cupcakes were frosted with normal frosting but if you are feeling adventurous there are plenty of Butterbeer flavored frosting recipes out there.

For these cupcakes, we also made scarf cupcake toppers. If you know Harry Potter, you know that each of the scarves above represent one of the four houses in the books. I personally just made the examples that you see and then the kids had a certain amount of time to make their own to place on top of their cupcakes. This might sound more complicated but they had fun with it, plus it ate up time during the party. Thankfully we had fondant already so we didn't need to buy it, but if you need it, you can find fondant at your local craft store or on Amazon here.


Harry Potter party food ideas
Other Party Food
We also served dinner and snacks but instead of making them Harry Potter themed, we stuck to our budget and served pasta, fruit, and vegetables. What my daughter did do was make her own signs for each of them. So they had names like Slytherin Chips, Dobby's Alfredo Sauce, Herbology Platter, and Butterbeer Rice Crispies.



Sorting Hat Ceremony
As promised, here is how we sorted people into houses. We found an inexpensive sorting hat at the store. My daughter decided which house she wanted each of her friends to be in beforehand in order to create equal teams for Quidditch. We had everyone (except for me) gather in the kitchen. This also happens to be where we have our Amazon Echo. I hid in our bedroom with the printed out guest list which also had listed who went in which house. I used the Amazon Alexa app on my phone to drop-in on the Echo in our kitchen. My wife would call up each guest and I would make up a few lines about them just like they do in the book and movie. I just googled character traits of each Harry Potter house and used it as a cheat sheet. The kids thought it was hilarious!

Harry Potter platform 9 3/4

Harry Potter Games
Scavenger Hunt
This was some of the kids' favorite part of party! I got all of the ideas from my friend Lizz over at More than Thursdays. I took her ideas and just adjusted to them whatever we had around the house. You can find all of her fantastic free ideas on her Harry Potter post here. She also has free printables for all the clues. We found the Golden Snitch wings printable by doing a search on Pinterest for free.

Harry Potter scavenger hunt

Mandrake Planting
We bought some cheap pots and planted plants. Honestly it would have been more exciting if we had done this idea here.

Quidditch
For quidditch we hung hula hoops in our backyard. I hung three on the fence on one side of the yard and three on the other side. We filled up water balloons and had three people per team. We let them run around and throw water balloons through the goals. What they really had fun with is the Golden Snitch. My son dressed up as the Snitch and ran around the yard while other players threw balloons at him. They scored 50 points for every hit.

Of course we also did the typical birthday song and opening presents. Overall it was a party that my daughter said that she wouldn't forget. In fact, it was one of her favorites ever! I hope these ideas can help you with your next Harry Potter themed birthday party.

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Harry Potter party ideas

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