We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the esteemed Hogwarts Winter Potions Masterclass…
Jamie and his family love Harry Potter! So for his 11th birthday they asked Easy Breezy Parties to transfigurate his house into an Hogwartian abode, and to lead the first years through a potions masterclass. What a great party it turned out to be!
The fun began with invitations styled as Hogwarts welcome letters, rolled into a scroll and hand-delivered, a ticket for the Hogwarts Express tucked inside each one. ‘We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the esteemed Hogwarts Winter Potions Masterclass,’ the invitation began. It went on, ‘Due to increased Muggle activity at King’s Cross Station, you will be require to board from a temporary platform, located at…’ And requested that students relay their acceptance by owl. Though ‘Should your owl be hibernating for the winter, please reach us by Muggle mobile on ….’
As each student duly arrived, they passed through a brick wall to reach platform 9 3/4 – a giant sheet painted by Jamie’s family and hung across a doorway. Inside, the Fat lady asked for the password, and newspaper clippings lined the walls – I’m sure the eyes were moving! Once inside, the students passed into the great hall, where battery operated candles floated above the banqueting table, suspended by fishing wire.
Around the corner was Warlock’s Ice-Creamery, where a delicious array of toppings were laid out ready to make sundaes. I used the top of a garden arch to create a decorative framework for this table. Off the frame hung keys with baking-paper wings, along with battery operated tealights. On the table were ingredients such as ‘doddernewt dungballs’ (choc melts), ‘slivered gurdeyroots’ (slivered almonds) and ‘dessicated pixie wings’ (coconut). Most popular of all were eye-ball gumballs. The kids loved them!
Photography by Silvergum Photography.
The Sorting Hat
At the start of the party I sorted the kids into their Hogwarts houses of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. I found a great idea online to tape a walkie-talkie under a chair. As each of the kids sat down and I placed the sorting hat on their head, Jamie’s Dad called out a house name from another room via the walkie talkie. The kids thought this was fantastic! Each of the kids then received a laminated house badge to pin on, and were to be awarded points for their houses during the party.
Marauder’s Map Treasure Hunt
The grounds of Hogwarts proved a perfect place to hide little treasures, including cosmic bodies (glow-in-the-dark star stickers), magical creatures (stretchy rubber lizards) and exploding candy. I made up Marauders Maps which unfolded to reveal pictures of the treasures, and the kids had great fun finding as many treasures as they could to earn points for their houses.
I wasn’t sure how this game would go…give a bunch of boys a bat and things can get dangerous! But the kids were a nice bunch, and the game worked well. The rules were simple – the kids took turns trying to get the quaffle (balloon) through the quidditch ring, while a beater tried to hit them with a bludger (another balloon, hit with a bat). They had to do this while riding a broomstick. When anyone got the quaffle through the hoop they earned 5 points for their house. The game had just the right balance of difficulty, and about a third of the kids got the quaffle through.
The highlight of the party was the potions masterclass, which was conducted outdoors in case of mess. I had laid out all the ingredients with their hand-made labels, and they made a fantastic display. There was boblear pus (glue), terror-tantula gel (dishwashing liquid) and all sorts of strange smelling supplies in test tubes. The kids were given their own Potions Handbook, which contained all the experiment instructions.
Want to run your own Harry Potter Potions Class inspired session? Check out my Wizarding Enchantments Class Kit – expanded and revised 2019.
Our first experiment was to make flubber, re-labelled as ‘Professor Snape’s Severely Sloppy Slime.’ The kids loved this! Flubber is a little bit oozey, a little bit rubbery, and it changes texture as you work on it. And as we discovered, too much water, too much red cololuring, and it looks like zombie brains!
The kids worked in their house groups to make up batches of slime, then pulled them apart to play with before each putting a piece in a ziplock bag to take home. I awarded points to each house based on my totally arbitrary assessment of their batches of slime.
Fortune Telling Potions
Our next experiment involved a bit of preparation the night before. I put a drop of food colouring in paper cups, and allowed it to dry overnight. Then on party day the colour was covered up with ice, and the kids poured ‘cooling potion’ (aka water) over their cup, which then magically turned that colour. These colours then told them their fortunes. Red was the one to avoid: ‘the colour of blood – watch out for warewolves!’
Explosive Gas With Inflative Properties
The next experiment involved blowing up balloons using a vinegar and bicarbonate-of-soda reaction, which creates a gas that inflates the balloon. We used the empty cooling potion flasks from the fortune telling experiment, and had a competition to see who could make their balloon inflate the most. There was lots of comparing, and once again house points were awarded.
Our final experiment was to pour dragons milk into a dish (funnily, the kids were really curious as to what the dragon’s milk really was!), add some drops of colour then use ‘tentacular gel’ (dishwashing liquid) on a ‘fluffle-bud’ to make the colour explode. Even though it’s a simple trick, the kids really liked this one and kept at it for quite some time.
Download full experiment instructions with the Wizarding Enchantments Class Kit.
After all that experimenting, it was time to tally up points and award the house cup. The winner was…Ravenclaw! Each student in Ravenclaw received a mini gold cup.
At this point in the proceedings my entertaining work was done! The kids headed into the banqueting hall for party food, followed by a trip to Warlock’s Ice-Creamery for some make-your-own sundaes.
And I headed back into my Potions classroom to clean everything away. Such is the lot of the Potions Master!
With thanks to Silvergum Photography for the fabulous photos, and Jamie’s family for allowing us to record their celebration.
Want to DIY your own Harry Potter party?
Get your Wizarding Enchantments Class Kit here.