The Harry Potter books were one of the most significant publishing phenomena of the late 20th and early 21st Century.
A party theme isn’t enough to ensure a memorable time – you’ll still need food, beverages, decorations, games, and Harry Potter-inspired entertainment. All our party themes also include tips for making treats, decorations, and homemade games to spice up the festivities.
We’re concentrating on ideas for kids and young teens, but you can adapt any of these themes for adults.
1. Party in The Great Hall
The Great Hall in Hogwarts, or the main gathering space and dining area in the school. Your home may not be as large and cavernous as Hogwarts, but you can replicate the Great Hall outdoors.
The birthday boy or girl, or guests of honors can sit at the staff table. (You can turn an overstuffed chair into a temporary throne, where the guest of honor can sit, or as a place, attendees can take turns presiding over events.
You may have a Dueling Club event using plastic swords, or a Yule Ball and dance at Christmas with a performing band.
Set out long tables. A few picnic tables will work fine for an outdoor party or any buffet tables for an indoor space. Every table can be decorated for each Hogwarts House, or divide each table by color/decorations or favorite character.
Add party favors to each place setting. Make a broomstick favor filled with candy for aspiring witches.
Use brown paper lunch bags, small branches, black twine, and candy to make broomstick treat bags. Unfold one brown paper bag, fold in the left and right sides while you push in the base. Cut the bag into thin strips and stop at the base. Take a second bag and cut strips into the top inch; open both bags. Put the second bag inside the first one and fill the bag with candy.
Insert a branch an inch into the bag. Cinch the top of each bag and tie them with twine.
You can also make Honeydukes treat bags as to-go goody bags. Use clear bags from a craft store and fill them with gold and silver wrapped chocolate coins, red Twizzlers (Dragon Veins), rock candy (Exploding Crystals), and Severus Snape’s “Sleeping Stone,” or a piece of round chocolate resembling a stone.
Instead of serving bagged or boxed sweets, make Hogwarts-specific desserts in your kitchen. Use cake mix, frosting, gold sprinkles white fondant, yellow candy melts, and lollipop sticks to make Golden Snitch Cake Pops. Mix and bake the cake. Then coat the pops with candy melts. Roll the cake pops in golden sprinkles
Add white fondant wings to each cake pop. Cut slits on each side of the pop and add wings.
Play puzzles on the Wizarding Word app and give prizes like a writing quill or Hogwarts iPhone case to the winners.
Decorate chairs and tables with Hedwig Owl Balloons. Use black and yellow markers to draw Hedwig on white balloons.
2. Recreate Hogwarts Castle
Invite your guests to Hogwarts Castle with invitations printed in regal script on parchment paper. Add an official-looking Hogwarts crest at the top of the invitation.
Make your own tabletop Hogwarts Castle by using different size paper rolls (paper towels, cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls), strong glue, acrylic paint, glue gun, and glitter to make the different-sized towels and place them next to each other. This page shows you how to do it.
Once you’ve finished your Hogwarts Castle replica, put it on the table near your front door and surround it with gift bags and Harry Potter treats.
Turn your house into Hogwarts for the party. Create a Huffleclaw Common Room by using Harry Potter souvenirs and posters. Put a poster of the Fat Lady on one of your doors, and hang Quidditch sashes on the walls. Use printouts from the Daily Prophet to decorate walls or doors.
Party Goers can relax with drinks or desserts in the Huffleclaw Common Room, play Harry Potter trivia, or practice their wizarding skills.
Create a wizarding hideaway for magical spells by decorating a small area under a staircase with posters, cushions, and pillows. Guests can play board games, experiment with potions from potion jars, or read to each other from their favorite Harry Potter book in this small, semi-private space.
Make magical drinks worthy of a wizard with a few simple supplies. Gather plastic party cups, ice, water, lemon-lime soda, and several types of food coloring. Fill cups with ice to cover the food coloring. Pour the citrus soda (or water) over the ice as kids watch their beverage magically turn into an unexpected color.
Give meaning to each drink color. Green could mean wealth, yellow could mean long life, red could mean love, etc.
The potions class is one of the most popular subjects at Hogwarts. Make your own potions by using glass jars of different sizes, labels, food coloring, and a variety of funny-looking substances.
Gilly Weeds could be weeds in green water, and lentils make good Bats Eyes. Use maple syrup as Truth Serum, and prunes as dried beetles. Make some spaghetti with red sauce as bloodworms. Cocktail onions can double as Blind Cat Eyes. For Hollow Stump Soil, use dirt and water.
Use purple food coloring, loose tea leaves, and water to make Dream Fluid, and smoked oysters as Hippogriff Gizzards.
3. Host a Video Game Night
Choose from dozens of Harry Potter video games to stay busy all day (or night). Ask attendees to bring their favorite games. Make sure you have multiple TVs/screens and video game systems available to keep all guests occupied.
Some of the Harry Potter video games include the Quidditch World Cup, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and the Sorcerer’s Stone. There are Harry Potter RPGs (role-playing games) available online. Hogwarts geeks can play games for fun or have contests, with or without Harry Potter swag as prizes.
Video game nights are perfect if you want a low-key party or don’t have much space.
Adults attending (or supervising) video game night might want to try a Harry Potter cocktail. Here are two recipes –
Make a Unicorn Blood for one with 1.5 ounces of silver tequila, 1.5 ounces of elderflower liqueur (St. Germain), and an ounce of lemon juice. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass
Hair of the Three-Headed Dog is made with an ounce and a half of tequila, a half-cup of tomato juice, a tablespoon each of Tabasco, lime juice and Worchestire sauce, a 12-ounce bottle of Mexican beer, two tablespoons of kosher salt and a half teaspoon of chili powder Add a celery stalk if you like
Mix the tomato juice, lime juice, tequila, Worchestire and tabasco sauces. Mix chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Rub a pint glass rim with a lime slice and roll the outside glass rim in chili salt. Fill the glass halfway with ice. Add the tomato juice mixture, then pour in the beer. Garnish with celery. Check out more drink recipes here.
4. Have a Sorting Ceremony
Find out which Hogwarts House guests belong to with a sorting ceremony. Come up with your own entrance rules for each of the houses. Assign a person to hold the Sorting Hat and interview attendees to determine which house they belong to, or use the Sorting set on the Pottermore website.
Make a costume sorting wizard hat, and get a stool for the wizard. A wand would be an excellent additional prop, even if the Sorting Wizard doesn’t use it. Make our own badges for the Hogwarts houses or download printable versions. The four Hogwarts houses Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin.
An alternate sorting assignment doesn’t depend on the wizard’s picks. Gather guests by the sorting stool. Ask guests, one at a time, to sit by the stool and place the sorting hat on their head. The partygoer then closes his or her eyes, reaches into a bag and pulls out a badge. The badge shows which house assignment they’ll receive.
You can make impromptu dinner table assignments by placing members of each house at separate tables.
5. Triwizard Tournament
Create a Harry Potter trivia game, Replace your Monopoly or Life game board with Haeet Potter game pieces, like dragons, wizards, and mermaids. Better yet, buy Harry Potter-themed board games, including Harry Potter Clue, Harry Potter Hedbanz, and Harry Potter Codenames.
Harry Potter Hedbanz
The Hedbanz game is made for two to six players seven years and older. Every player wears a headband and a card is placed on the headband. The cards show pictures of creatures or spells. You ask a yes or no question to find out what’s on your card. You’ll get a chocolate frog game piece if you guess correctly. Then you’ll get a new card.
A potion token requires a rhyme, description, or acting out as a clue. The first player who collects five chocolate frogs wins the game.
The cards in this game have words and pictures from Harry Potter on them. Even players who aren’t familiar with Harry Potter can play the game too, as the clues are understandable to all users.
Two teams compete with one player from each team, giving one-word clues hinting at secret agents in the cards. Players should guess the right cards for their team and avoid guessing their opponents’ cards. All players need to avoid the Death Eaters, which assures a bad end for their team.
Harry Potter Clue
In this version of Clue, the board is a map of Hogwarts. Players move around the castle and try to find a student who has disappeared. The board has wheels that reveal secret passageways when they’re turned. The wheels even move the rooms.
You can choose to play Ron, Ginny, Lina, Neville, Hermoine or Harry. The goal is to find out who attacked the missing student, where they did it, and what spell they used. Players go to Dumbledore’s office when they are ready to accuse an attacker. You can protect yourself from Dark Mark by using help cards.
6. Have a Harry Potter Movie Marathon
Throw a private movie screening of all the Harry Potter movies. Partygoers can experience all the excitement of the movie series by watching one or two of your favorite Hogwarts films. (Unless you’re having an all-day party, you’ll need to choose one or two of your top movies.)
You can show documentaries about Harry Potter, movie clips, or have guests read from the books while in costume. Serve special Harry Potter themed treats while watching the films.
If you’re watching Chamber of Secrets, eat soft pretzels on skewers. Tie homemade soft pretzels into a snake shape instead of a knot. Use mustard as eyes and rock salt as pointy teeth to make a Basilisk.
For the Half-Blood Prince (Snape’s alter ego), make your own fanciful potion. Use orange soda and vanilla ice cream to make a sweet, orangey-gold glass of good luck.
A movie marathon is a great choice if you don’t have the time or money for more elaborate parties.
7. Recreate Leadenhall Market/Diagon Alley
Leadenhall Market is a real-life market in London Harry passed through on his way to Diagon Alley. Draw or paint homemade storefronts on pieces of cardboard. Set them up around your party room. Sell Harry Potter treats and souvenirs in exchange for play money.
Make a cake to sell from in Leadenhall Market. Prepare four cake layers, one covered with vanilla frosting and the other with chocolate frosting. Fill the middle of each cake with whipped cream or any filling you like. Top the cake with confectioners sugar calligraphy, a chocolate sorting hat, a red and orange scarf made with food coloring, or other Harry Potter items in sweet form.
Diagon Alley, the wizarding and shopping center behind the Leaky Cauldron, is hidden from the Muggle world and has everything a wizard could need.
Sell spells, wizard hats, wands, and magic potions in these shops. Make your own Diagon Alley by following maps. And putting up storefronts or simply signs. Partygoers can pick a wizard hat, cauldron, or wand from the storefronts.
8. Turn Your Backyard into Forbidden Forest
In the summer months, you can turn your backyard into the Forbidden Forest. Turn a tree into a Weeping Willow to give your guests a path to the Forest. Buy fake vines to cover chairs and picnic tables. Make potted Mandrakes and other wizard-ing plants as centerpieces and decorations.
Have even more adventures by using a public park as the Forbidden Forest. Guests wear robes and hats and bring wands to ward off unfriendly creatures. A few thespian partygoers could dress as Centaurs and surprise guests who wander too far into the forest.
9. Real Live Wizards and Witches
Hire actors to play Harry Potter characters or generic wizards or witches. A magician can perform magic tricks, or an animal trainer can give kids lessons in taking care of magical creatures, aka reptiles. You can dress up as a fortune teller and read guests’ palms or tarot cards.
Make a transfiguration booth so attendees can have their pictures taken with makeshift movie props, other partygoers, and/or actors playing movie characters or wizards.
Get a large black sheet or curtain to use as the backdrop, toy owls, wizards’ hats, robes, eye patches and wizard wands. Affix the backdrop to a wall with duct tape. Put props and clothes on a nearby table so guests can choose the props they want.
10. Create the North American School of Wizardry
Mount Greylock is surrounded by a thick fog that hides the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Magical beasts roam around the school building, and there are four houses at Ilvermorny, like at Hogwarts. Make badges for the four Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft houses – Horned Serpent, Thunderbird, Wampus, and Pukwudgie.
The Sorting Ceremony is different than at Hogwarts. Replicate it by drawing a Gordian Knot on a sheet or piece of white fabric. Place it on the floor and have each party guest stand on the knot. In the Harry Potter Universe, stone carvings come to life and choose the house for the student.
You can place replica “carvings” made of cardboard around the Gordian Knot, and have guests take on the voices of the Thunderbird, Wampus, etc. You can also make DIY Ilvermorny house banners to decorate your party room or backyard.
Wizards’ hats aren’t used for the selection process, but you can still make hat cupcakes for the party. These wizard hat cupcakes are adorned with sugar cones. You’ll need these ingredients –
- Vanilla icing
- Chocolate cake mix
- Chocolate chips
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Yellow frosting
Bake cupcakes as usual. Cool, frost, and set aside; melt the chocolate chips. Pour the melted chips into a shallow pan, and roll sugar cones into the chocolate until covered. Put the cones upside down on wax paper and let the chocolate dry. Place a chocolate cone on the top of each cupcake. Etch lighting bolts on the cones with yellow frosting.
If you don’t like to bake, buy chocolate cupcakes, and put yellow frosting lighting bolts on each one.
11. Platform 9 ¾
Get to Hogwarts aboard the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 ¾. In the books, students need to pass through a brick wall to get to the platform on the other side.
Make a DIY platform using a patterned brick backdrop from Amazon, or make your own using red construction paper, fabric, or other material. (Use this printable pattern) Place the backdrop on your front door or the door to your party room.
Party stores sell replica backgrounds with signage and brick patterns similar to the platform in the movie. Have attendees take their photos in costumes in front of the wall.
Make a replica of the Hogwarts Express by turning large cardboard boxes into train cars, or hire a real trackless train for the kids from a party service, complete with a conductor. Fashion trunks and luggage out of cardboard filled with treats and party favors.
Guests can read from Harry Potter books or trade wizard and witch cards as they ride to Hogwarts.
12. Play a Quidditch Game
Playing Quidditch like Harry, Ron, and the other young Wizards isn’t out of reach for Muggles. Although mere mortals can’t fly on broomsticks, we can build our own version of Quidditch,
Buy six hula hoops as Quidditch hoops. You may be able to find hula hoops at your local Dollar Store. You’ll also need screws, lumber, and a drill.
Four 2 by 2s cut at 38 inches, two 2 by 2 by 48 pieces, 12 two-inch screws, six 7.25 inch cuts of 2 by fours, and a drill with 3/8th inch bit nails. You’ll also need brown spray paint.
Drill two holes in each base center. Countersink and drill the holes halfway through each piece of wood. When you drill holes into the two by twos, the nails won’t stick out and make the hoops wobble. Once the bases have pilot holes, screw the two by twos and bases together.
Nail a hula hoop to the top of every two by two. Push the nail through the hula hoop before drilling it into the wood. The hoop won’t slip around if you put the nail through the plastic first. Spray the hula hoops brown to give them a formal look. You can put a sandbag on top of each of the stands to keep the pitches steady during intense play.
Gather the rest of your Quidditch supplies – six broomsticks, a slightly deflated volleyball (quaffle), two foam balls. (Bludgers) and a golf ball painted gold (Golden Snitch).
Here’s how you can play Quidditch on the ground:
- Keep the broom between your legs.
- Each team has three Chasers. They need to get the ball through the opposing teams’ hoops for ten points per score.
- The game has one keeper, and the keeper has to stop the Snitch from entering the hoops.
- Each team has two beaters who knock people with the bludgers until they’re out of play.
- The Seeker must find the Golden Snitch when it is hidden in the yard. There’s only one Seeker.
- A player who is knocked with a Bludger must touch their team’s hoop before resuming play.
Quidditch is perfect for summer parties and can be played by elementary school kids, teens, and adults.