Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hogwarts Blew into Our Basement

Around here, we love a good party.

Every birthday I swear I'll simplify, but then I do something goofy like make a fondant Rapunzel (that makes me want to cry because her head won't stay on)
Boo's seventh birthday

or paint a large, sightless monster for a fun-filled game of Pin the Eye on the Monster.
Ji's first birthday
 (Or pull together a carnival for James's birthday.)

Boo had been talking for months about having a Monster High birthday party. She and her friends at school play Monster High and pretend to be characters like Skelita Calaveras (daughter of Los Eskeletos), Jinifire Long (daughter of the Chinese Dragon), Draculaura (daughter of Dracula), Frankie Stein (you guessed it, daughter of the Frankenstein monster).

My sister and I decided Monster High was exactly the sort of morbid, pretty, bizarre thing we would have been into as children. I felt all right with the silliness. The Monster High show would go on.

But then a spark of magic fell into Boo's hands.

Last month Boo was looking for something new to read, so I handed her Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Within two days, she was ready for The Chamber of Secrets. She slowed down a bit with Prisoner of Azkaban and is now about one third of the way through my favorite of the series, The Goblet of Fire.

The Monster High party was forgotten. Harry Potter had cast his spell over Boo.

Again, I thought I'd make it simple. We'd have different tables in the backyard with a few Harry Potter-themed activities. We'd make a Hogwarts table for sorting, a Honeydukes table with candy, and an Ollivanders table where each child could decorate a wand. Boo and I spent the week making signs and posters. Boo's primary president even came over and donated a Hogwarts banner, a collection of potion bottles, a Monster Book of Monsters, and a little owl.

After looking up about fifteen recipes for cauldron cakes, Boo spotted a photo online of Hagrid's cake from the first movie. She wanted that cake, the ugly cake that gets sat on while Hagrid is chasing down Harry and the Dursleys. I could do that.

Everything was under control until six o'clock that night when we started setting up. We'd had more than a week of blistering hot days. An evening party seemed like a good plan for July.
Then came the wind. And the rain. A summer storm like you wouldn't believe---not in the desert.
Friends and family who had arrived a few minutes early helped us rush everything inside. While we resituated the party, James . . . err, I mean Hagrid led the children to the cupboard under the stairs and started quizzing them on their knowledge of magical creatures.

We started with Ollivanders since our new students would need to get their supplies from Diagon Alley before heading to Hogwarts.
The children all wrote down their favorite spells and went to Honeydukes to guess the number of chocolate frogs hiding under a paper towel.
We had fizzing whizbees, Burtie Botts Every Flavour Beans, acid pops, jelly slugs, licorice wands, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, disappearing leprechaun gold, Dumbledore's favourite lemon drops, and chocolate frogs.

Special thanks to Grandpa Zorro for sending the chocolate frog mold.
Since my brothers, sister, sisters-in-law, nieces, and nephews had all been sorted six years ago in a very memorable sorting ceremony, we gave them the honor of being House Prefects and cheering in our first-year students during the sorting ceremony.
Baby was sorted into Syltherin, just like his clever father. Boo and Ji are both Ravenclaw. I'm the only one of us who is Gryffindor. (I guess that's why when my children see a spider they call for me to bring the little dear outside. Wait. I'm Professor McGonagall in this party, not Hagrid.)

After the sorting came another quick change of plans. The grass was too wet and slippery for Wizard Tag or Spellbound Red Rover where children would be sliding into muddy pools of water. So Jame--Hagrid created a simple balloon game he called Quidditch. The object: Hagrid throws the balloon in the air, kids touch it (hot potato style) and get a point. When Hagrid would call "Golden Snitch!" the kids would rush to try to catch the balloon. Only children nine and under could be seekers. 

After a raucous tournament, it came down to Slytherin versus Gryffindor.

Slytherin won.

Interesting how life reflects art. Isn't it?
McGonagall presents the Quidditch Cup.
The winners select their prizes, another round of thanks to Grandpa Zorro.

The undefeated Slytherin team (plus their Head of House, Professor Zonts)
Hufflepuff House! Winners of the House Cup!
Ravenclaw Rules! Brightest witches and wizards around.
Brave Gryffindor! Never afraid of danger!
After a fantastic battle on the Quidditch pitch, nothing beats a refreshment from Honeydukes or The Three Broomsticks.
That acid pop burned a hole in Boo's teeth!

Goblets of Butterbeer

The best part of any birthday, of course, is the cake. Unfortunately, you need a pretty powerful spell to put out these candles.
Boo was losing her breath by the fourth time the candles relit. She didn't know the putting out spell and didn't have a deluminator to capture the flames. Too bad.

So despite the sudden changes in plans and the crowding. . . 
it was a magical birthday for our girl. 


  1. You really put on great parties. Way to go. I'm glad your kids get to enjoy their parents' creativity. Keep up the good work.
    -Kristin Telford

  2. I'm so impressed by your creativity--and your and Hagrid-James' quick thinking! Thanks to your beautiful post we are enjoying it from afar. I have to say that true love is knowing your husband figured out the party theme and got magical items ordered to enhance it.

  3. A little owl told Grandpa Zorro about the theme...I guess there is a good side to us telling each other everything that goes on!

  4. It was indeed a magical party. However, I still contend that James looked more like Rasputin than Haggrid-just say'n~

  5. That looks like such an awesome party! :) (ahem, I meant magical)

  6. Wow. Your party-throwing skills put pinterest to shame. Awesome.