Courtesy of Donna Pilato
About's Entertaining Guide
A Harry Potter Halloween Party for the Whole Family
I am a huge Harry Potter fan. The trials, tribulations and triumphs of this boy wizard have managed to capture my imagination, along with that of millions of other adults around the world. Some adults have become hooked on the series while reading it to their children. Others, like me, picked up on it because they enjoy reading fantasy books. But whatever the excuse, this is one book that has true multigenerational appeal.
Coincidentally, Halloween has evolved over the years into a multigenerational holiday. It is no longer just an excuse for kids to indulge in parent-approved treats, it has become an occasion for adults to dress up and hold parties, as well. Since the Harry Potter series is full of good and evil characters of all ages, wizards, creatures, ghosts, goblins, and their own special holiday feasts, it seems to me that a Halloween Party set at Hogwarts is the perfect theme for an all ages party.
Create invitations on parchment paper. On one side put a map to your home, titled "Marauder's Map". On the other, write your invitation details in invisible ink. Be sure to include instructions for decoding the message. Send invitations by owl (or snail mail if you're not fortunate enough to have your own owl).
Transform your home into the Great Hall at Hogwarts on Halloween:
Put a sign over the entrance to the party that says Platform Nine and Three-Quarters.
Place pumpkins with lighted candles inside throughout your home (out of reach of any young children, of course).
Create a Sorting Hat centerpiece for your buffet table out of felt. Decorate it with stars, crescent moons, lightning bolts, or any wizard imagery of your choice. The more tattered and frayed it looks, the better.
Create a centerpiece for another table by filling a large pot with a variety of herbs. Label the table Professor Sprout's class.
Scatter golden snitches on your buffet table or hang them from ceiling. Create the snitches by spray-painting small plastic balls with gold paint, and gluing feathers to each side in the form of wings.
Suspend clouds of fluttering crepe paper bats from your ceiling.
Hang orange streamers throughout your home.
Decorate the ceiling with purchased glow-in-the-dark stars (if you will be keeping the lights low), or make your own stars from cutouts covered with aluminum foil.
Play scary Halloween music with plenty of ghost and goblin sounds.
Decorate your walls with lightning bolts and portraits of knights in inexpensive old-looking frames (perhaps purchased at yard sales or estate sales).
Record a tape of someone moaning and play it continuously in your powder room for the 'Moaning Myrtle' effect.
Hang toy owls over the buffet table.
Create or purchase potions cauldrons and serve treats in them.
If you hire a band, request that they dress as ghosts (ghosts are the house band at Hogwarts).
For more on this party idea including
costume and game ideas
About's Interior Decorating Guide