Celebrating the Birth of Harry Potter and Release of “The Cursed Child”

Spiking the butterbeer will definitely help.

By Katie Sanchez, The University of Texas at San Antonio


July 31st marks Harry Potter‘s 36th birthday and the release of J.K. Rowling’s long awaited play and playwright, “The Cursed Child.”

The two monumental wizarding events are only a few days away, which means there is plenty of time to plan a celebration commemorating the both of them.How to Throw the Ultimate “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” Release PartyIf you’re not sure how to throw the most magical party ever, be sure to read on, for this guide will surely enchant you, bring out your crafty side and leave your guests in awe.

(Note: Don’t do all this by yourself, unless you really want to and have the time. If you would like to have all that is listed here accomplished, I highly recommend having people help you.)

1. Pre-Order “The Cursed Child”

If you haven’t pre-ordered “The Cursed Child” already, you should highly consider doing so, because you don’t want to go to a bookstore the day of its release to discover that it’s sold out.

All the hardcore HP fans want to be guaranteed a copy of the 8th installment in the Harry Potter series, so make sure you ensure your copy too. The only reason you shouldn’t preorder it is if someone you know is going to lend it to you, but even then, wouldn’t you want your own book?

Nevertheless, you’ll want to have “The Cursed Child” at your party, because not only is it one the stars of the party, but you’ll also need it to read at least Act 1 with your guests.

Don’t know where to pre-order the book? Check out Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

2. Invitations

What better way to invite people to your nerdy party other than styling it as a Hogwarts acceptance letter? Of course, you’ll need to change the verbiage to match the date and time you’ll be hosting your celebration, but your guests will be thrilled when they see their letter in the mail.

To make your invitations, you’ll need a printer and some printer paper, a baking sheet, coffee and a foam brush or cotton ball. Why do you need all these items? Because you’ll need them to make your invitations look like parchment paper.

Since you’ll need coffee to accomplish the desired effect, I recommend brewing coffee as you type out your letters to save you time. For step-by-step instructions on how to make your invites looks like parchment paper, you can refer to this guide. Note that step number seven is not required.

In a Word Document, type out your invitations. You might want to have the verbiage be something like, “Dear Mr/Ms. [Surname], We are pleased to inform you that you have been invited to a Harry Potter Birthday and Cursed Child celebration. Please find enclosed an agenda and explanation of recommended attire. Term begins on 31 July 2016 at 1:00 pm. Yours Sincerely, (Your Name).” For the attachment, write out what you have planned for the day.

If you want the text to look as it does in a Hogwarts acceptance letter, there are fonts you can download online. The fonts that you will need are Lumos and Magik.

Also, in your letter, I recommend that you encourage your guests to dress up as their favorite Harry Potter character to help set that magical atmosphere.

3. Decorations

Chances are that your party will be hosted at your place, so you can take as much time as you need putting up decorations. Otherwise, you will need to coordinate with the person or place you’ll be hosting at to ensure you have an ample amount of time.

For the front door, you should have a curtain that looks like a brick wall representing Platform 9 3/4, so when your guest knock on the door, they’ll have to go through the platform. Creating your own is actually quite simple as depicted in this do-it-yourself.

Another cool decoration to have is a banner for each one of the Hogwarts Houses. If you don’t want to buy the banners, you can always print them out. Otherwise, you can look at banners online at The Universal Store, eBay or Etsy. Not only do the banners serve as decor, but you can also use them for a game, which I’ll explain later. In addition to the banners, you’ll want to buy balloons in blue, yellow, red, green, silver, gold and black, so they can coordinate with your theme and add a bit of flare.

Now, what’s a wizarding party without potions? You can purchase glass bottles from craft stores such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels for $1-$10, which you’ll later fill with different liquids. Of course, you’re going to have to label your bottles to know which potion is which, so make sure you print them out and attach them to your bottles. You can either pour in different drinks in each container, or use water and food coloring.

4. Food and Snacks

For the main course, the traditional pizza will do, but you’ll also want wizarding food as well.

How to Throw the Ultimate “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” Release PartyAt the snack table, make sure you have jelly beans (representing Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans), chocolate frogs, cauldron cakes and/or golden snitch cake pops. These snacks will add fun and excitement to your party and leave your guests nerding out. If you won’t be able to make the cakes or pops, then you could always just buy the beans and chocolate frogs.

5. Drinks

To have the ultimate Potter party, you should have tons of butterbeer for your guests. You can either make your own or purchase it. Everyone will get a kick knowing that they’re drinking one of the most famous wizarding beverages out there.

Another drink you can serve is pumpkin juice. Like the butterbeer, you can either create it or buy it.

Even though butterbeer and pumpkin juice are the drinks featured in Harry Potter, you can always have regular drinks and assign them a magical name. For example, you can serve Sprite and call it unicorn’s blood or lemon-lime Kool-Aid and label it liquid luck. If you decide to have a punch bowl, I highly suggest placing one of your potions next to the bowl so your guests will know what they’re drinking and also for a dramatic effect.

6. Games

Remember those banners from earlier? You can use them to sort people into houses so they can work as a team to compete for the House Cup. If people already know which house they are in, you can ask them to stand in front of their banner so they can find out who is on their team. Otherwise, you can assign people to a house.

Either way, make sure each team has about a fair amount of wizards because you don’t want one group to have an unfair advantage. If there are a few individuals who do not know which house they’d belong to, you can always have them take the sorting hat quiz on Pottermore.

The games that you could have your guests play are Harry Potter trivia, “Name that Wizard” (where you name characteristics of a Harry Potter character and your fellow wizards guess who it is) and Pin the Tail on the Hippogriff. Make sure you keep track of which house wins which game so you know who to give the House Cup to. So no one is left out, you can always buy mini trophies to give everyone. As you’re passing out their reward, tell them that they are each receiving a duplicated House Cup.

7. Music

There’s no question about what is going to play at your party—music from the Harry Potter movies. Since there are eight movies, there are tons of songs to choose from, but you’ll want songs that are cheery, not depressing. To determine which songs to fill your guest’s ears with, I suggest going onto Spotify, iTunes or Amazon to preview Harry Potter songs and make your judgment based on what you hear. Afterwards, you can make a playlist and play it endlessly at your celebration. May I suggest starting with “Hedwig’s Theme” and ending with “Leaving Hogwarts?”

I hope my suggestions help you create the most amazing “Harry Potter and Cursed Child” celebration ever. If you pick some of the items I recommended, I’m sure you’ll have a party that will be remembered for years to come. In the end, all that matters is that you rejoiced with your fellow HP nerds to commemorate the birth of Harry and “The Cursed Child.” So grab your follow wizard and witches. You’re going to have one wicked party.

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