How I threw the ultimate Harry Potter party

When my best friend and I brought the magic of Harry Potter to our Christian liberal arts university last year, our main concern was money. Neither of us had Gringotts vaults filled with gold – if anything, tuition fees had swiped our last Knuts.

Our university has a dry campus. Raucous parties are replaced with themed open houses throughout the year, and incredible decorations and delicious free food are what motivate people to stop by. There’s a friendly rivalry between dorms about who will have the best open house each year, and our floor was determined to make our Harry Potter Open House give traditional contenders a run for their money.

The night of the open house, we had over 300 students come to our floor (and we ran out of everything). The Harry Potter Open House was a huge success.

Owls are now swooping through the skies with invitations to Harry Potter-themed parties clutched in their beaks. Even with mere Muggle technology, you can make your Harry Potter party stand out from the rest.

Get your party sorted

You don’t need to try on an old hat – you just need to know what you value in a good party. Do you want a casual common room setting or a formal Yule Ball with ice sculptures? Are your guests first-years in need of some Pumpkin Pasties or Hogwarts graduates ready to play some Butterbeer pong? Limit your focus and concentrate on one party atmosphere you want to cast.

Form a decoration army

Ask some of your friends to join the D.A. so you don’t have to work like a house-elf just to get the decorations finished. Save those Galleons by creating iconic pieces out of mere parchment. Let your guests enter your party through Platform 9 3/4 by painting a brick wall onto a large sheet of paper, cutting it into strips, and taping the strips on the top of your doorway. Ask a friend who’s good with a quill to create a Marauder’s Map of your house or neighborhood. Tape a massive piece of parchment to the wall and let guests sign their names and swear loyalty to Dumbledore’s Army.

Focus on the feast

You probably won’t be able to recreate the decadent dinners in the Great Hall, but you can channel your inner Mrs. Weasley and conjure some sweet dishes. Chocolate frog molds can be bought online for just a few Sickles. Add a magical twist to easy Muggle recipes, such as Golden Snitch Cake Pops or Cauldron Cupcakes. Create magical color-changing Potions by letting drops of food coloring dry in plastic cups and then pouring in your favorite colorless soda.
Paint a portrait

Make sure to create a photo opportunity to remember the magical day. Paint a simple Sirius Black “WANTED” Poster on cardboard, and cut out the middle so your guests can have a magical mugshot. Create a massive Chocolate Frog card the same way and add historical wizarding names later in Photoshop. Paint a backdrop of a Quidditch pitch and let your guests jump in the air on their brooms as you snap the photo. You won’t be able to make the pictures move, but you’ll still capture the magic.

If you missed the book release parties or movie premieres last time around, now is your chance to take part in the fun. With a clear theme, great decorations, delicious food, and fun photos, you’ll be able to manage your mischief and create magical memories.

Deanna Menke is a Gryffindor and professional writing student at Taylor University in Indiana. Her interests include geeking out over Queen Victoria, listening to 1989 on repeat, and defending the Oxford comma. Watch her covers and vlogs at or follow her on Twitter @thedeannatizer.

[Image via author]

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