My huge Harry Potter fan wanted an epic Hogwarts party for her 8th birthday. And the ideas to be found online are endless; a party planner’s dream. Epic it became!

To get started, we are big DIYers, which means we made a lot of the party items- food, crafts, decorations. Pretty much everything else I ordered on Amazon. This is how we HP:

A little crafting:

First things first, invitations. I found some great free printables to make a Hogwarts acceptance letter, and a books and materials list. I used the file from Hello Paper Moon and just printed them up- if there was time I would have “aged” them, but we had 25 invitations to make, so that was a no-go. We also included this great Hogwarts map from To finish it off, I used a wax seal kit with an “H”; the red wax seal really made the invitation look Hogwarts-official. Oh, and we chose the perfect little Hedwig, who flew in straight from Amazon to deliver.

Next up, wands. I thought pencil wands sounded fun and also practical, since they could be sharpened and used. I followed this tutorial: Pencil wands. It was easy and affordable, I just bought pencils, spray paint, and some marbles, and put the entire project together with the hot glue gun that I already had.

We also wanted to have a sorting hat. I am pretty proud of our sorting hat, as it looks like it took a long time, but actually this was about a 30 minute project. It helped that I already had a couple different brown fabrics and some cardboard boxes. I just cut a cardboard circle, put a head-sized hole in the middle, and covered it with brown fabric. Then I used some poster board for the conical shape, which I again covered and hot-glued with brown fabric. I wanted it to look old and frayed, so I didn’t sew any edges. Finally I added some patches and a tied piece of fabric around the base of the cone. The toughest part was gluing the fabric to get it to look as if there could be a face in the hat- I think we pulled it off! The kids seriously loved this hat.

In order to sort we pulled up a couple different easy Hogwarts sorting quizzes. If I were to do it again I’d have the kids choose a badge out of the hat- that would have been much easier and quicker! It was fun to yell “Gryffindor!!” in my most sorting hat of voices.

I also made a Golden Snitch pinata.This was another super simple project that took about 2 hours (most of that was simply drying time for the spray paint). I purchased a baseball pinata, some gold spray paint, and some feathers. I cut out wings from cardboard and hot glued the feathers onto them. I used copious amounts of spray paint- 2 layers seemed to do the trick. This pinata was a hit- kids even took home the wings after the snitch was destroyed.


A little decorating:

Okay, a LOT of decorating. The party decorating probably took the most time of anything we did. Also, a great friend once again helped me out and created some fantastic Hogwarts house banners for me. The wall decorations included the following from Amazon: stone wall covers, windows and torchescastle doors, and magically hanging candles. Those stone walls look real in the pictures, everyone who walked into the house was immediately transported. So fun.


Our gothic castle motif and Hogwarts house banners.


A little cake:

My girls and I chose the Monster Book of Monsters (from HP Book 2) as the basis for the cake. The cake itself was 2 Texas sheet cakes, one vanilla and one chocolate, and buttercream frosting. It was moist and delicious. I am not a cake decorating expert, but the kids thought the Monster cake was amazing anyways.



And a few cookies:

I order my cookies from Cake That! Bakery. Luckily they ship, because Ame does a fantastic job with whatever custom cookies I request. These ones were especially great, and served as the take home for our guests, along with the wands.

A little shopping at Honeydukes:

Including Honeydukes was by far the biggest hit of the party. A whole table of candies to try ala Harry Potter’s magical world? Yes, please. We had licorice wands, pink coconut ice, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Acid Pops, Jelly Slugs, Pumpkin Pasties, and Lemon Drops. The possibilities and online recipes are endless. We also made our own Butterbeer, using cream soda and caramel-flavored whipped cream (I couldn’t find any butterscotch flavoring). It wasn’t as good as in the HP park at Universal, but the kids didn’t seem to mind.

A little partying:

The kids played, watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and threw their own dance party. My newly minted 8 year old was all smiles. Birthday success!