Two things in life for which I am fantastically passionate are Harry Potter and Event Planning. Sure there are other things that I love and am passionate about, but we’ll get to those another time.
So what do you do when you’ve just entered into the fall season, you’re birthday is quickly approaching, and everyday feels more and more like that of an ordinary day at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry? You throw a party of course. Or at least that’s what I do.
I consider myself one who is detail oriented and very particular when it comes to throwing parties. Well, maybe not just when it comes to throwing parties but let’s stay focused! So a definitive decision was made to throw a Harry Potter Party, what next? Well, first things first: a guest list, a custom invitation, decor, a list of Harry Potter terminology and phrases, and a list of food items. And if it's going to be a Harry Potter party, why not make it a murder mystery.
Let’s start with the invitation. When I first ventured off to college, I decided to study interior design, however, during my studies I also had the opportunity to further develop my graphic design skills, among other types of design. I have always enjoyed graphic design, therefore, when the opportunity presents itself, I take advantage of creating materials myself. This invitation was going to be the first impression of what the party had in store and it needed to encompass the feel I was working to create. With a little fog, some creative word play, structured fonts and eery imagery, the invite turned out pretty well! Not to mention the party was scheduled for Friday the 13th. How perfect?!
Decor is always tough. No one likes spending a lot of money on decor and I'm no different. Especially if it’s not quite considered versatile, meaning I wouldn’t be able to use it for many of the other parties I throw. I started with the cheap home made items. Floating candles out of empty toilet paper rolls, flying skeleton keys from a collection of keys I already had on hand along with some card stock, and hand printed signage on coffin shaped wood cutouts saved from a previous halloween party. Homemade decor is definitely the way to go, but it can be very time consuming. Lucky for me, I have great friends who love spending an evening crafting, drinking wine, and watching Hocus Pocus, Monster Squad and Teen Witch.
Next came the purchased goods. Many of the items were purchased on Amazon and some were purchased at Target. Fake spider web, a bag of plastic spiders, a stuffed owl, a plastic rat, the Marauder's Map and a scented broom completed the shopping list. If you have not watched or read the Harry Potter series, this might all seem peculiar. So my recommendation would be…get into Harry Potter!!! It’s amazing.
There are a number of Harry Potter phrases and words that I know off the top of my head but I must confess that some research did need to be done leading up to the party. Like I mentioned, details matter. With, “Her body will lie in the chamber forever,” written on the bathroom mirror, it was the perfect way to incorporate the murder mystery. Many other words from the film were used to name the food items. The menu consisted of Muggles Meat, Mud Blood Pies, Gilliweed Salad, Ollivander’s Wands, Mandrake Cake, Chocolate Frogs, Every Flavor Beans, Polyjuice Potion, and Butter Beer. To lessen my load, guests were asked to bring a dish.
Now, the murder mystery portion of the event didn’t completely fall into line with the Harry Potter theme. I have done murder mystery parties in the past and I greatly enjoy being a part of the mystery. So, I decided to purchase a murder mystery kit online that had some great reviews. The kit followed a witch theme. In order to incorporate the Harry Potter theme, a few of the included documents were altered. Personalized character descriptions were created along with a background overview. These documents were sent out to each guest four days prior to the party.
Once everything was in it’s place, only a few final touches were left. To set the mood, a YouTube video portraying a dark forest in the midst of a thunderstorm played on the living room television while a playlist consisting of songs from the movie soundtracks aired in the kitchen. The only thing left to do was to wait for guests to arrive. The night turned out to be such a wonderfully witchy affair!