How to Throw an Epic Harry Potter Birthday Party

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You don't need to be a wizard to pull off the ultimate Harry Potter birthday party. Take a look at our tips, recipes and ideas for a Hogwarts-worthy event.

When you’re a kid, birthdays are magical. Friends and family come together to celebrate, there’s lots of yummy food, plenty of cake and gifts to boot. What better way to make a birthday even more enchanting than to give it a Harry Potter theme. From homemade fizzing whizbees to a rousing game of Quidditch, there at a ton of ways to turn a birthday celebration into a magical Harry Potter event. To give you a wand-up, we compiled our favorite Harry Potter birthday party ideas, from food to favors and activities, from our cookbook and favorite bloggers.

Keep reading for tips and inspiration on how to throw your own Harry Potter party.

Harry Potter Party Foods

Harry Potter's birthday cake for a Harry Potter themed birthday partyCourtesy @nicolesgotcakes/instagram

From cauldron cakes and chocolate frogs to pumpkin pasties and every flavor jelly beans, there’s no shortage of food in the wizarding world. Recreating some of these magical treats is as easy as a flick of the wand, er, mixing spoon. Here are some of our homemade favorites:

  • Harry’s 11th birthday cake: Take a page out of Hagrid’s book with a “HAPPEE BIRTHDAE” cake. This cake by Nicole’s Got Cakes perfectly recreates Hagrid’s light pink frosting, green writing and slightly squashed appearance (it was delivered by a flying motorcycle, after all!). Swap out Harry for your birthday wizard’s name for the perfect Potter cake.
  • Treacle tart: Inspired by Harry’s favorite dessert, this sugar syrup tart by Bridget of Bake at 350 is a great option if your little wizard isn’t fond of cake. The sweet syrup filling is balanced out with fresh lemon zest and juice and a shortbread crust. Yum! Get the full recipe on Bridget’s site, Bake at 350.
  • Slytherin’s serpent sandwich: This snake-shaped stuffed sandwich is definitely preferable to the Chamber of Secrets’ hidden basilisk. Go with the fillings listed in the recipe or customize it to your wizard’s tastes.

The magic doesn’t end there. Check out more Harry Potter-inspired recipes.

harry potter snack shelfcourtesy Maria Elizabeth Diaco

Since we don’t have house elves to help pull off a party, semi-homemade or store-bought treats are a great way to cut down on prep time.

  • Honeydukes display: Emulate the shelves at Honeydukes sweet shop by rounding up Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Exploding Bon Bons and Acid Pops. This display was put together by Maria Diaco, of The Haut Maven, for her 7-year-old’s birthday party and we couldn’t be more jealous of the setup!
  • Flying brooms: Take pretzel sticks to new heights by tying green shoestring licorice pieces around one end with a piece of black shoestring licorice.
  • Aragog cupcakes: Turn store-bought chocolate cupcakes into Hagrid’s giant spider by rolling them in chocolate sprinkles, sticking on mini M&Ms for eyes and black licorice pieces as legs.
  • Cauldron cakes: Pick up a pack of two-bite brownies from the store and add a few pipings of red or orange frosting to the top

Harry Potter Party Drinks

two children in harry potter outfits waiting in line for butter beer floatscourtesy Maria Elizabeth Diaco

Don’t leave your little witches and wizards parched! Stir up a cauldron or two of gillywater or any of these other beverages:

  • Butterbeer: Is it even a Harry Potter party without some butterbeer? Maria topped cream soda with homemade whipped cream in an adorable butterbeer stand.
  • Polyjuice potion: Though it won’t actually change your appearance, this witchy punch will still be a hit.
  • Gigglewater: Wrap an ordinary water bottle with a themed label for the laughter-inducing beverage.
  • Pumpkin juice: A favorite of Hogwarts students, this gourd-flavored beverage is sweetened with brown sugar and apple juice and can be served warm or chilled.

Want more options? Here are some more magical kid-friendly beverages.

Harry Potter Decorations

Platform 9 3/4 decorations for Harry Potter themed birthday partyCourtesy Rhonda John/Thrify Little Mom

Whether you hang up a few House banners or recreate the entire Yule Ball, there are a ton of options for turning your home into Hogwarts (or Hogsmeade, or Diagon Alley or the Burrow!).

  • Platform 9 3/4: Make entering your Harry Potter birthday party truly like entering into a new world with this faux-brick wall DIY from Rhonda John on Thrifty Little Mom. To do so, either purchase a brick wall backdrop or make your own with an old sheet, some red paint and a rectangle sponge. Cut the backdrop in half and hang the halves in front of your door, so guests have to walk through a brick wall to get to the party, just like wizards have to to get to Platform 9 3/4.
  • Dementor swarm: Repurpose a grim reaper Halloween decoration or costume into a haunting dementor, like Maria did. Just make sure there’s plenty of chocolate around to ward off its effects.
  • The Great Hall: Transform your dining room table (or a few kiddie tables) into the Great Hall with this idea from Rhonda.  Tie clear thread between the flame and candle section of a few battery-operated tapered candles and tie or tape the other end to the ceiling around the tables. Attatch the candles at different lengths for a more magical feel, then set the table with a dark tablecloth and plastic goblets.
  • Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom: Yes, even your bathroom can be Harry Potter-fied. Rhonda John used some red paint, similar this window marker, to write “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened, enemies of the heir beware” on the mirror, similar to the warning issued to Harry and the gang in the second book and movie. Wrap a few faux snakes around your bathroom sink to indicate the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets and hang a picture of Moaning Myrtle near (or on!) the toilet to complete the transformation.
  • Snape’s potions: Rather than serving your beverages in punch bowls, turn to a cauldron straight from Snape’s classroom.

Harry Potter Goodies

Harry Potter Goodies owlscourtesy Maria Elizabeth Diaco

Let your guests bring a little party magic home with some goodies. While you probably can’t gift a complete set of Harry Potter books to each kid, these goodie ideas will still do the trick:

  • Hogwarts’ Owlery: Inspired by Maria’s goodies, gift each attendee their very own Hedwig, Pigwidgeon or Errol with these mini plush owls. You can even tie a small thank you note to their wings!
  • An Ollivander wand: Take your little witches and wizards to Ollivander’s Wand Shop with a few of these magic wands. You can have the kids pull wands out of a Sorting Hat-like bag or hide them around the house to he found to simulate the wand choosing the wizard.
  • Honeydukes gumdrops: Go homemade by gifting our Quick & Easy Gumdrops. Add a Dumbledore touch by wrapping the candy in these moon and star bags.
  • Magical goodie bags: Fill a classic goodie bag with some uniquely Harry Potter treats. This set includes glasses, temporary tattoos, broom-shaped pens and a wand for each kiddo.

Or, build your own goodie bags! Here are some of our favorite Harry Potter favors:

Harry Potter Games and Activities

Sorting Hat cupcakes for a Harry Potter themed birthday partyCourtesy Debra Hawkins/Housewife Eclectic

In addition to classic birthday party activities like cutting the cake and opening gifts, there are many Harry Potter-approved things to do! Here are just some of the many options:

  • Sort into Hogwarts Houses: Rather than sticking an old (and rather grumpy) Sorting Hat on guests’ heads, sort them with cupcakes! Debra of Housewife Eclectic baked these sorting hat cupcakes that are filled with red, yellow, blue or green M&Ms that when bitten into, will reveal a sorting into Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin, respectively. Check out Debra’s site to learn how to make these stuffed cupcakes and the adorable candy Sorting Hat topper.
  • Wanted posters: Join the ranks of highly wanted wizard criminals by creating your own Ministry of Magic-issued “Undesirable No. 1” posters. Simply print out a few copies of photosbyakp’s posters from Etsy and take a photo of each guest with an instant film camera. After the photos have developed, tape or paste the photos to the posters and hang them up.
  • Game of Quidditch: If you’re up for some roughhousing and have guests who are old enough to pick up a more complicated game, try putting on a Quidditch match! You likely already have the supplies: a volleyball, three dodgeballs, a tennis ball, 14 brooms (or other broom-like objects like a lacrosse or hockey stick) and six hoops (which can be fashioned by affixing hula hoops to stands). For a full list of rules and gameplay, take a look at the official US Quidditch’s site.
  • Potions class: Carrie of the Making Lemonade blog came up with this ingenious Harry Potter party activity that can also double as a favor. To simulate one of Snape’s potion classes, Carrie had partygoers choose an essential oil that they liked the sent of, mix it will a carrier oil and add it (or have a parent add it) to a rollerball with a potions label. Just make sure young witches and wizards know that these potions are only for rolling on their skin, not eating!

Harry Potter Party Extras

man dressed like hagrrid from harry pottercourtesy Maria Elizabeth Diaco

Take your Potter party to the next level with some spellbinding touches. In addition to encouraging guests to dress up as their favorite character or other Potter gear, here’s how to make your home feel like Hogwarts:

  • Hogwarts letters: Send your very own Hogwarts letters as party invites. You can either pick up a set of envelopes, string, seals and glue dots or write or print your own.
  • A Potter playlist: You can’t book The Weird Sisters for your party but you can play the iconic Harry Potter movies’ scores. We compiled all eight movie scores here, so all you have to do is press play!

Make a Harry Potter party all your own by utilizing some of our favorite Harry Potter-inspired kitchen gear or making your little one’s favorite wizarding treats.

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Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.