Tag Archives | party decorations

Hosting A Harry Potter Party

We all know I’m a Potterhead correct?  I’m sure people think I’m a little mad being and adult and being so entranced with the Harry Potter series, but it’s a journey I took with both of my sons last summer (reading the novels) and it’s an adventure I will always treasure. It’s also very cool that so many of the Harry Potter story-lines and characters are very relate-able for kids in their everyday lives. So it was really not surprising when my 8 year old son announced he wanted to host a Harry Potter themed party for his 9th birthday party. I was up for the challenge of bringing some wizard magic to this very special celebration and with the Harry Potter movie franchise coming to an end this summer (Deathly Hallows Part 2) in July, I figure I’m not the only parent on the block having a child requesting this theme for a birthday party. I’ve been so excited to write the 2nd part of this article (Part 1: How To Play Muggle Quidditch) because it was the best party we’ve thrown for my oldest son to date and actually very low cost. The best part with hosting a kid’s party like this – my husband and I got to flex our imaginative muscle which is always fun!

We started the party with having the guest’s parents drop-off their children at a local park with a grass field. Here we played Muggle Quidditch (wizard sport similar to football) and I’ve written about setting up the Quidditch game here.

After Quidditch was finished, we started Part 1 & 3 of the Tri-wizard Tournament. This is a magical contest that takes place in the 4th novel “Goblet of Fire” and there are 3 tasks.  The first task of the tournament is for all the ‘champions’ to retrieve a specific golden dragon egg. We included the concept of ‘golden eggs’ into our own tri-wizard task by having a good old-fashioned egg toss. We painted the eggs with gold paint and the boys tossed raw eggs back and forth in the field. It was a fun game, but over pretty quick.

The 2nd task in the tri-wizard tournament is for each of the champions to rescue something valuable that had been taken from them in the Hogwarts lake. Having to breathe underwater for an hour, they rescue people in their life that are very important to them from merpeople. We didn’t incorporate this task into our party, but if you have a pool, pond, or large basin of water, you could get party guests to retrieve items.

The last task (3rd task) of the tri-wizard tournament in Harry Potter is for the champions to navigate through a maze of mystery and danger to find the tri-wizard tournament cup. As luck would have it, next to the field where our party guests played Quidditch, is a creek surrounded by a forest. I took 15 of the wizard looking goblets we’ve used during 7 Halloween parties (for potions) and hid these in the woods.  The goblets actually looked very similar to the one in the movie and the kids had a good time running around the forest looking for cups. Once a child found their own cup, they returned it to the field and started helping another child that hadn’t found a goblet yet.

After the Tri-wizard tournament, the kids walked back to our house and we started the first of two games: Pin The Sock On Dobby and Jelly Bean tasting. I can’t take credit for the Dobby game…my friend Bill on Facebook had just hosted a Harry Potter party and shared this great party idea. My dear friend Patti drew a life size Dobby for us to use as a cut-out – see the below picture and the amazing job she did. If you don’t have a poster or person that can draw, you might want to order a life size stand up Dobby that I found on this site. They also have a life size Snape character…older kids might think it’s funny to ‘pin the shampoo bottle’ on this beloved greasy character. You simply cut out some socks, shampoo bottles, etc. from paper and use tacky tape, grab a blindfold, spin the child around and send them towards the cutout.  Here is the beautiful Dobby that was hand drawn for our party:

The other indoor game planned for the party was a jelly bean testing contest. In the Harry Potter books, there are wizard jelly beans called Bertie Bott’s Flavor Beans and there are flavors such as vomit, rotton egg, earwax, dirt…you get the picture. Trust me, 9 year old boys love this stuff!  We actually found a brand called Bean Boozled and each box contains jelly bean flavors that look alike but taste different from each other. Example is 2 black jelly beans – 1 is skunk spray the other is licorice. You can’t tell which of the flavors you’ve gotten unless you taste them. They are have some of the funny flavors included in the Harry Potter jelly beans so this guessing game went with our theme.

For party decorations I reused Francesco’s cloth name banner that we’ve used every year from Green Planet Parties. The camouflage fabric of his reusable banner fit nicely with the subtle Deathly Hallows theme of the party. I would now like to talk about the loot bags. I’m very proud of myself with these bags and their contents because I actually helped created a bit of magic with my own little hands!! I originally thought the kids would decorate t-shirts at the party with the Deathly Hallows symbol, but after brush stroking this symbol to personalize the cloth goodie bags, I realized this just wasn’t a good idea for energetic 9 year old boys. I’m so happy with this decision. So instead I painted the sign of the Deathly Hallows onto the outside of the goodie bag and included a matching cotton t-shirt inside each bag as the main give-away. I thought they turned out pretty well but I learned it’s harder to paint a triangle onto cotton than I thought:

And what do you say are those AMAZING dark mark’s attached to the rolled up tees in the front of the above photo?  Those would be dark mark tattoos and I could not wait to see the reaction for guests and my sons when they arrived for the party. I included one in each child’s loot bag, but I’m sure kids would have loved to have them applied when they first arrived at the party. When I opened the package that contained these tattoos I was literally screeching with joy.  I immediately put one on myself and each of my boys and loved the result. Here is how it looked on Francesco’s arm.  Even Ronald Weasley would say these are “wicked”! You can purchase these at a shop called Electrik Pink Pirate and the shop owner is awesome to work with!

I also included wooden wizard wands and organic jelly beans in addition to the t-shirts and dark mark tattoos in the goodie bags.  I think any fellow Potterhead would approve! I was completely inspired by this party because it was so much fun to plan and enjoy. I created a new category on the Green Planet Parties site called Wizard Theme Party. I hope it helps to inspire parents with planning a wonderful wizard themed party that has the guests believing that magic and our childhood is always around us.

Related Posts:

How To Play Muggle Quidditch

 

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Eco Kids Party – Fairies & Forest Walk

It’s no secret I love fairies. I dressed up as Peter Pan last Halloween and I relate to this classic character in so many ways. Being the owner and having a creative outlet like Green Planet Parties has been a gift – the ability to reach a large audience of parents looking to make better environmental choices at their children’s birthday parties is wonderful. I’d like to share the planning and results of my twin daughters greener birthday party and the hope was to capture the magic of a fairy walk, through our nearby woods and test our woodland creativity. I’m writing about this party because when I was researching forest walk party ideas on the internet…I started to feel nervous because the elaborate and beautiful examples I was reading through were out of my budget and amount of time I  had to make some magic happen. The results from our fairy party were amazing and although many of the Green Planet Parties fairy products were integrated into the forest walk and eye-spy – I also used my imagination and borrowed items from friends which is attainable for anyone planning a fairy themed or woodland party. A very talented photographer lent her eye and captured some great pictures and her name is Tamsen Ogden. You can view the all the pictures on the updated Gallery page of Green Planet Parties located here.

The forest setup and eye-spy was the best part of my day. I had my sons to help me and it was so much fun climbing trees to string felt garland to mark the entrance way into the forest and the end of the walk. My boys loved helping attach the fairy window and fairy chimney to one of the trees in the forest.  These were the first items to spot when the girls would enter the forest. They are such cute items….with the fairies having a window box with flowers and fireplace to enjoy inside the tree.

We collected and setup ‘gifts’ that the fairies might have left in the forest to show they are happy living in the trees and to also work as an eye-spy game to keep the young guests engaged. The length of the trail or forest walk would depend on ages and time-frame…our walk lasted about 10 minutes for each guest which was perfect for 4 and 5 year olds. Every 10 feet there would be a gift left by the fairies. There was a tea-set in an abandoned tree house built into the forest, felt acorn capped ornaments hanging from branches, a beautiful fairy house borrowed from a friend, wooden bird houses hanging in branches, a bucket of wooden wands that each little girl enjoyed keeping, and my favorite – the outdoor fairy door. These outdoor fairy doors have such huge W-o-W factor because they open, are a really big size (11″ high), are handcrafted with amazing quality, and treated so they are can be used in the garden after the party as a year-round decoration. Here are some pictures of these special fairy treasures.

Once the forest was setup, we led party guests to the entrance of the trail. The girls went into the forest in sets of two and were told to look for signs or gifts from the fairies. They had to remember these items and tell the helper at the end of the trail all the things they remembered. My niece helping wrote down the items that they remembered. I loved watching the reactions of party guests finding a hidden treasure in the forest and knocking softly on the fairy door. A few eco-friendly tips for setting up the fairy walk and helped keep things on budget was picking up a new paint can from a local paint store and painting the outside of it to hold the wooden wands. I loved the effect and thought that pinning fabric around the can would be beautiful too. I also wanted an earth friendly glitter to sprinkle and lead guests to magical forest items. Earth friendly glitter doesn’t exist because traditional glitter is produced from plastic and I didn’t want to be putting that on a forest floor so I hoe-punched seed paper. I loved the effect of having something contrasting with the soil that caught their eye (pictured in the fairy door photo). I didn’t have to worry about leaving any of this material behind once the party was finished because the paper is compostable and embedded with wild flower seeds.

My girls wore silk wings that are so incredibly earthy and they loved how the wings floated behind them when they ran through the forest. After the walk they seemed pretty happy with what the fairies created. After we arrived home the fairies were busy with more surprises. The tabletop was set with more earthy fun, starting with compostable heart shaped palm leaf plates, borrowed tea cups for lemonade and ice-tea, cloth tablecloth with acorn appliques, and two toadstool cakes that were made by a local bakery and decorated with wooden toys by the birthday girls. The only party decorations really needed inside were the name banners that are such high impact for adding a festive feel to a room. Both girls picked out their own fabrics and they loved the result – Green Planet Parties banners are a wonderful keepsake and heirloom decoration that will last for many birthday celebrations.

The goodie bags were really well received from parents and party guests. It’s always so refreshing for parents to receive loot bags that don’t contain plastic and dollar store items that tend to break right away. For the girls party I integrated the outdoor fairy vibe by using Toadstool cloth goodie bags containing organic sweets, butterfly kerchiefs, twig inspired pencils, and earth friendly notepads (made from 100% post consumer recycled material).  It was wonderful to spend a few hours outside and although parties hosted at home are always lots of work, there is a big sense of pride when they are over. Parties hosted at home are probably a little darker shade of green that most parties because you’re able to utilize your own dishes, tablecloths, etc. I’m hopeful that this party is one my girls will always remember because just like them – it was unique, full of surprises, and a joy to be with!

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How To Host A Green (er) Kid’s Party or Event

These days, parents are forced to actively research and stay abreast on the latest issues – whether it involves a product recall due to cheaply made toys or the leaching of the latest chemicals from non-sustainable materials. It’s a time where parenting involves the active exchange of new information and making well researched, eco-friendly decisions. There is a new area of parenting that is slowly gaining ‘green’ and sustainable momentum…hosting a green birthday party for children.

In the excitement of planning a child’s birthday party, parents often get carried away with sourcing the latest commercialized theme for parties. For example, matching Hannah Montana decorations, plates, napkins, cups, tablecloth, wrapping paper, etc.. The co-founders of Green Planet Parties realized at their own children’s birthday parties, the enormity of waste resulting from plastic packaging from presents, wrapping paper, petroleum lined commercialized tableware, and plastic party decorations; the amount of waste was noticeably endless. This company’s co-founders wanted to research an earth friendlier way to assist parent’s with hosting kid’s parties. Although children’s birthday parties are a rite of passage and deserve to be special, spending time to research eco-friendly alternatives doesn’t need to deter from any of the party guests or birthday child’s fun or cause the host extra expense.

Why should you green your next family event or kid’s party? This one action will kick start a powerful ball of information rolling among family and friends that might even surprise the host. Education is the largest result from an eco-friendly party and the understated changes will delight and encourage environmental change from guests.

What are the easiest things to change from traditional party/event planning? Here is an easy checklist:

~ Send Evites (free, online invitation) to guests. If you would like a more traditional party invitation, source seed invitations that can be planted at a later date. Children receiving this special invitation will love this eco-activity.  Also available are seed thank you cards for after the party “thank yous”!

~ Source sustainable party decorations. Remove plastic decorations and invest in cloth tablecloths, tablerunners, customizable banners, and cotton goodie bags to hold party give-aways.

~ Your own household plates, cups, and cutlery are always the best choice for tableware, but when hosting a large event or holding the party at a venue away from home, eco-friendly disposable tableware becomes a requirement. Did you know that biodegradable tableware is easy to find and the cost is reasonable? Also, unlike the Hannah Montana or Sponge Bob themes, you are able to re-use any left over tableware at a later date. Eco-friendly plates, hot/cold cups, cutlery, napkins, and garbage bags are naturally beautiful in texture and color – children will not miss the commercialism of traditional tableware that does nothing more than add to landfill waste.

~ Source sustainable party give-aways for guests. Children and parents alike, enjoy practical, quality loot bag items. Rather than sourcing dollar store plastic that breaks within minutes of being opened after a party, spend the same amount of money and purchase reusable items: practical, nature inspired, or books. What a wonderful way for a guest to remember your party months or years down the road while they still enjoy their special goodie bag item.

~ Talk to your child about choosing a special charity or social cause and request guests bring a donation in lieu of presents. This idea of the ‘donation party’ is spreading throughout communities and is very empowering for the birthday child. Education is shared with the party guests regarding the cause, so everyone benefits from this generous act. Also, the birthday child is able to purchase a special, quality gift with their 1/2 of the donations and this helps reduce a large amount of traditional party waste from packaging. The trick to communicating this request to guests is properly explaining your thoughts in the invitation’s wording. For example working, check out the Eco Party Tip’s section of Green Planet Parties‘ site. The sample wording is helpful for drafting your Evite.

~ Go the extra mile and source: latex balloons (latex is naturally earth friendly), organic lollipops, beeswax birthday cake candles, wrapping paper with seeds or use recycled paper. Lesson your environmental footprint by ordering all your party supplies online and have them shipped directly to you. Engage guests with nature or eco based activities during the party.

The party planning experts at Green Planet Parties guarantee this new way to approach family events or birthday parties will impress your guests and the understated message of helping mother earth will be powerful and inspire others to change.

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