How to throw a Harry Potter board game birthday party

In celebration of my girl friend, Shanine’s 22nd birthday, I’ve decided to throw her a Harry Potter party combining seven of her favourite things: Board games, cheese, cake, pasta, books, music and Harry Potter!

1. Harry Potter themed decoration and table setting

What’s a themed party without themed decor? One of the most distinctive decoration in a Harry Potter party must be none other than the floating candles! Think of floating candles and you’d think of the setting in the Great Hall of Hogwarts. I handmade these candles with white card, battery-operated LED candles and some transparent beading thread. They light up gloriously in the dark!

For the background, I hung a Gryffindor wall banner in the middle of the wall behind the dining table, then placed a bunch of helium balloons of red and gold on each side. You can get the Gryffindor wall banner here. Since, three of the girls who are attending the party are from the house, Gryffindor, I’ve decided to be bias and convert everyone to Gryffindors. As for the table, I placed a supposedly red table runner on it. The table runner I got came pinkish. I didn’t have time to order another one, so I just used it. For a magical touch, I placed small LED candles in a vintage looking candle holder and also added some larger LED candles of different heights. What I love about LED candles is the fact that they’re flameless so the house won’t catch fire!

And to honour our house, I gave everyone Gryffindor ties as a door gift to wear with their white collared shirts.

Harry Potter is all about the books. So as table decorations, I placed all my seven Harry Potter books on it! I tied some of the books with brown craft string and also paired some books with a DIY spell book.

For the table setting, I printed the back of the agenda and menu with the cover of The Daily Prophet, announcing the news of Shanine turning 22 as the headline. I placed it on the plate and a magic wand on top of it as a protection in case it tries to fly away.

Instead of the typical place cards, I wrote each one’s name in brush calligraphy on a brown envelope as I thought it would resonate with the letters sent from Hogwarts. In each envelope, I included the party invitation as a souvenir in the form of the Hogwart’s Express train ticket. I placed these envelopes above the plate to indicate who should be seated where.

As an added touch, I bought some yummy jelly beans from the local store and labelled it as “Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans“. They give the table a vibrant burst of colours.

And not to forget! A Hogwart’s Express invitation must lead to a party entrance of the famous Platform 9 3/4! I didn’t do the brick wall, so I just printed the signage on an A4 paper and stuck it at the entrance of the door.

2. Delicious homemade butterbeer

A Harry Potter party will not be complete without butterbeer! It’s such a popular wizarding beverage and an iconic one too in the Harry Potter world. It’s very simple to make and tastes absolutely yummy! Simply fill up 2/3 of a glass with Virgil’s Cream Soda or Flying Cauldron’s Butterscotch Cream Soda then add 1/8 teaspoon of butter extract. After that, cover the top of the glass with whipped cream drizzled with Smucker’s butterscotch sundae syrup and your butterbeer is ready to be served!

This drink is sweet and has a nice buttery tinge to it. Most of us loved it except one guy who isn’t a sweet tooth, so another guy happily drank his serving. The girls definitely loved their butterbeers for sure!

3. Harry Potter themed desserts

For the cakes, I know Shanine loves cheese… and cake… so I thought, why not get her a really good locally homemade cheesecake. My dad has a friend whose son makes really good cheesecakes, so I decided to get her that as her main cake. I gave the cake a simple gold coloured “Happy Birthday” cake topper.

To enhance the theme, I also got her Harry Potter cupcakes that looks gorgeous. I got them from a house-based cake shop called Blue Ribbon Bakery.

On top of that, I also made chocolate Golden Snitches by sticking printed angel wings on to Ferrero Rocher chocolates. You do so by carefully peeling out the existing brand sticker, place the printed angel wings on top of the golden wrapper, then glue back the brand sticker to secure the wings onto the golden wrapper. I placed these Golden Snitches around the table as part of the decoration that doubles as a snack!

4. Simple and easy cheese board

Shanine loves her cheese. So, I assembled her a cheese platter consisting some of her favourite cheese as the appetizer. I used three different types of cheese: Emmental for a light taste with medium texutre, aged Gouda for a strong taste with a harder texture and finally Brie for a soft texture. I made sure all of the cheese came in different shapes to form an aesthetically pleasing cheese board. I’ve also included some sweet seedless grapes and water crackers to go with the cheese.

As for the main course, her good friend Fidelia made all of us scrumptious cheesy and creamy carbonara with chicken and bacon. It was a really satisfying meal that lasted through the night as we almost finished all the cheese!

5. Homemade Harry Potter themed board game based on “Codenames”

I wanted the board game experience in this party to be the highlight of the night, so not only does the game needs to be Potter-themed, it has to be something easily enjoyed by everyone. Hence, I decided to handcraft a Harry Potter board game based on the game Codenames. It’s a very simple game where two teams compete by each having a Spymaster give one word clues which can point to multiple words on the board. The other players on the team attempt to guess their team’s words while avoiding the words of the other team.

Around six to seven people have confirmed their attendance for the party, so I made sure that I create enough cards so that everyone can have a chance to be the Spymaster once. I shortlisted 80 words that I find fun to guess and from the Harry Potter books such as “Whomping Willow”, “Dementor’s Kiss”, “Time Turner” and many more.

To make the game more thematic and visually appealing, I’ve selected neutral creatures from the books such as the Griffin, Acromantula, Grindylow and more for the neutral cards; the Ravenclaw crest for team blue cards, the Gryffindor crest for the team red cards and finally, the face of Lord Voldermort to represent “The Assassin”. For the key cards and the card stand, I just used the components that I already have from my copy of Codenames.

For more flavouring, I added a little twist in the rules of game whereby to finalize the decision of the specific word card chosen, you must touch it with your magic wand. For this, I’ve made magic wands for everyone from wooden chopsticks. I designed the handle of the wand by drizzling patterns over the chopsticks with a hot glue gun. When it’s dried, I painted the wands in wood and gold colour in acrylic paint.

And for the final touch, I created a Harry Potter themed packaging for the game so that the birthday girl can conveniently bring it back home as a gift.

I’m very happy with the outcome of the game, as it brought lots of laughter to the table. The gameplay surprisingly became really intense and competitive! I’m also glad that despite one of our participants being unfamiliar with the Harry Potter universe, he told use that he thoroughly enjoyed the game and finds it really fun.

Apart from the handcrafted Harry Potter Codenames, we also played other party games from my board game shelf such as Absolute Balderdash and Midnight Taboo while munching on cheese from the cheese platter and sipping on butterbeer. Perhaps being dressed as students from Hogwarts, we were somehow attracted to word-based board games that night! We had great fun and lots of laughs.

6. Potter-themed background music for the party

I used this complete Harry Potter soundtrack by John Williams as background music for the party. For Shanine’s birthday entrance, I played Harry’s Wondrous World. While we’re eating, I played Diagon Alley and the Gringott’s Vault. For present opening, I’ve chosen Hogwarts Forever! And the Moving Stairs. I really love Harry Potter’s soundtrack, there’s almost every song for every scenario in the party and most of all, it sounds really magical!

7. And last but not least, a Potter-themed cookbook birthday present for the birthday bookworm

Our birthday girl, Shanine loves Harry Potter, baking and reading. So to combine the three, we got her The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook! I love that this cookbook draws out stories from the book that contains the food that the characters were eating then presents the recipes for them!

I wrapped all of Shanine’s gifts with Harry Potter themed wrapping paper that I bought from Typo. I’m not sure if the shop still sells them now as their themed merchandises are usually seasonal.

And this pretty much sums up everything I did for Shanine’s Harry Potter themed board game birthday party! I hope she enjoyed the party as much as I enjoyed hosting it. I also hope that the party ideas are helpful for those who wants to host a party like this. And for the rest of you, I hope you enjoyed the read. 🙂

❤ Yan

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