What child isn’t a Harry Potter super fan? This is a Harry Potter party done on a budget in a garden. The photographs will hopefully inspire and there are tips for you to run your own.

Guests were invited to join Hogwarts for Induction. The children dressed in robes and uniform and arrived at Platform 9 & 3/4. Increased muggle activity, at Kings Cross St Pancras, sent guests to a temporary platform on a quiet London street. Pupils were welcomed by Albus Dumbledore and gathered for assembly.

Guests were sorted into houses, with the sorting hat, and given wands from Olivanders. Albus announced the school was under threat and pupils must help to defend it. The children were hyper excited.

The Daily Prophet was shared, with the front page warning of the Dark Lord’s return. The children united as one team to beat the school’s enemy in potion class and house challenges.

Dumbledore and the Dark Lord led all the party games. A family friend, in role as Madame Pomfrey, helped out too. Voldemort was like a pantomime villain. The children booed him and chased him everywhere!

I photograph a lot of children’s parties, and this one was led by creativity rather than huge budget. Besides the costumes and time spent making signs, the biggest extravagance were crates of vinegar!

Children were involved making props, signs, party bags and chopstick wands, before the day.  Searching Harry Potter ‘printables‘ online offers a lot of these things for free.  A bit of blog research shows party versions of Quidditch are often unsuccessful,  unless you have a huge garden. Instead, the children enjoyed traditional party games.

Halloween decor rats were used for treasure hunt games, like Find Scabbers. Chocolate coins were treats from Gringotts Bank.

A family friend made the cake and biscuit treats. They looked amazing! You would never know they were homemade.

In potions class, the children worked in pairs mixing fizzy, volcanic potions. Using the garden table meant there was no stress about mess. Renaming ingredients to things like Dragon’s Pure blood (clear vinegar), Basilisk blood ( malt vinegar), Crushed Bicorn (bicarbonate of soda) made everything sound a little more like Hogwarts.

The children enjoyed the acid alkaline mix that saw clear liquid change colour. The finale potion used blue ice cubes of boiled red cabbage juice mixed with bicarbonate of soda. Two bowls were half filled with white vinegar. The children threw in their frozen giant tears and watched the potion erupt AND change colour. The crate, a Christmas gift from Nordic Style, helped the look and feel too.

Halloween games like Duck Apple became a relay against the Dark Lord, dad.

Splashing Voldemort between rounds created extra high jinx at this point. So be prepared for extra mayhem!

Charades became an animal transfiguration game. Guests worked in pairs. They had cards with animals but also an action. Each pair mimed the animal and then the action. There were ridiculous combinations: frogs on the toilet; rabbits being sick…. you get the gist! The boys at the party enjoyed the rudeness, though they were keener on performing than guessing.

Duck Duck Goose became Wizard Wizard Muggle. Simple but a hit. Quieter challenges calmed the excitement before Potions and farewells.  A-Z tables were popular; guests listed anything Potter for every alphabet letter. Codes to crack like Potter anagrams and a version of consequences were ready but not used because time flew.

In this party, the plan was to stick it to dad. Guests had to beat Dad in the challenges, so he paid a forfeit. The Dark Lord drank a potion that was safe but disgusting. The children won ingredients after every challenge and took turns shaking up the cocktail of doom. There was a lot to capture quickly, which is why lots of parents hire pro photographers for parties. They can feel quite the blur!

Unicorn blood was chopped tomato in juice. Dragon’s egg was a black painted hen’s egg. In fact the whole thing wasn’t far off a palatable Bloody Mary. The children loved seeing him drink it and painfully collapse to their chants: DRINK IT! DRINK IT! Voldemort was defeated. The birthday boy was delighted. Excited guests rallied together for a ‘class’ photograph and the young wizards struck a pose and flourished their wands. They looked amazing.

Guests took away party bags with Gringotts Bank chocolate coins; a free printable wordsearch; copies of the Daily Prophet front page; Potter spectacles; a Potter biscuit and a Weasley’s Wizard Wheeze. Lastly, they took home a reminder from Dumbledore:

It is our choices that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

This was a private party, so there are deliberately few images of guests here for privacy. However, if you’d like to see more of my typical children’s party photography, hop on to the party gallery here. For advice about fees for children’s parties, read about my packages here. Need tips for capturing your own children, have a read of my free tips for parents here.