July 31st is Harry Potter’s birthday… so why not have your friends over for a Harry Potter-themed brunch? And don’t worry, you don’t have to have a big budget or be a super crafty person to make this a magical experience. All of my ideas below are low cost and don’t take hours to prepare.
And before we begin, special thanks to my sister-in-law, Marin Delmonico (@marinnicole_), for taking some of the photos you’ll see below!
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Easy Harry Potter Decorations
To me, the Harry Potter decorations are the most important part since they spark the magic and remind HP fans of all of their favorite aspects of the beloved story. But just because they’re important, it doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money.
Greet your guests when they arrive with a Platform 9 3/4 sign. Find a design and shape that you like on Google, and then print it out and tape it to a piece of poster board to add thickness.
Remember the exciting scene in the Sorcerer’s Stone when Harry receives hundreds of letters flying out of the chimney, pushing their way through the boarded up mail slot in the Dursley’s home on Privet Drive? You can do that!
Using small square or rectangular envelopes, address the front of your letters to:
Mr. H. Potter,
The Cupboard under the Stairs,
4, Privet Drive,
Make as many of these as you have time for. Since I did not have a fireplace, I decided to hang Harry’s Hogwarts acceptance letters in my entry way. To fit the space, I taped three letters to a piece of fishing line and hung three lines of letters on the doorframe. And voila! Magical entry way mastered!
I didn’t have a stamp handy, but if you do, stamp a red seal on the back of the envelope for an extra touch.
Another easy decoration are Hogwarts house banners. Print Gryffndor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff house crests and tape them to pieces of cardboard to create these simple, but totally worth it, house banners.
(Anzu’s wearing green because he is obviously a Slytherin.)
Throughout my living room and kitchen, I found and made some awesome Harry Potter printables. While some required cutting and taping, this was the extent of my “crafting.” Aka, if I can do this, you can do this!
Looks like there is a puppy out of bed on the third floor corridor… he doesn’t know his invisibility cloak fell off and we can see him.
For a nice photo background for guests, print out multiple “Have You Seen This Wizard?” posters. And if you have extra time, make some photo props for muggles to take their own Azkaban photos. For my photo props, I found this tutorial from Paper Trail Design helpful.
Pull your refreshment table together with a Honeydukes sign. I printed one off from Google and taped it to poster board for more support.
And don’t forget the bathroom! Surprise your guests by taping a picture of Moaning Myrtle to the back of your toilet.
Gather & Collect Harry Potter Items From Your House & Friends
Free decorations? Yes! By all means, use what you’ve got. Start by gathering all of your Harry Potter books, memorabilia, and trinkets (like a stuffed Hedwig, Triwizard Cup, action figures, puzzles, wands, Sorting Hat). Next, do another sweep of your normal home and seasonal decorations. Pull out any renaissance-esque items that may fit within your magical theme. Candles, spooky Halloween decor, antique trunks, etc.
Use these items as props and decorations throughout your party area. They add a simple Harry Potter feel that appears effortless.
Harry Potter Snacks & Drinks
For drinks, I served Butterbeer, Polyjuice Potion, Liquid Luck, and Gillywater.
Now, there are a lot of recipes for Butterbeer out there, but with some advice from my co-worker, I found and adapted the perfect recipe from Bakingdom to replicate Universal Studio’s Butterbeer taste.
Butterbeer (1 serving size):
1 12-oz can of Cream Soda
1/2 tsp. of Imitation Butter
Foam (enough for 6 servings):
2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
5 tbsp. of Sugar (Note: I decreased the amount of sugar from the original recipe)
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
First, prepare the foam. In your standing mixer (or a large bowl), mix heavy whipping cream for 3-4 minutes until thickened. Add sugar and mix for another 3-4 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Set aside foam until Butterbeer is made.
Next, in a tall plastic cup, add 1/2 tsp. of imitation butter. Pour in 1 can of chilled cream soda. Stir to mix.
Add as much foam as you like to the cup with Butterbeer mixture. And Enjoy!
And for that extra special Harry Potter touch, print these Butterbeer labels and use double-sided tape to stick to clear plastic cups.
OJ + champagne = Felix Felicis or Liquid Luck
Peach juice + champagne = Polyjuice Potion
Gillywater = bottled water with labels… c’mon this is so easy. You have to do this. Find the Gillywater label I used from Over the Big Moon blog.
It’s important to note, I have geeky friends who were just as into my brunch theme as I was! Special thanks to Britt-Marie for making these creepy snake breadsticks! LOVE them.
And huge shoutout to my friend Michelle for taking the time to bake these detailed Sorting Hat cupcakes. These are a great way to sort your guests into houses! Topped with an edible caramel hat and filled with M&Ms the color of your assigned house, these treats are sure to leave your guests smiling – even if the Sorting Hat places you in your not-so-favorite house.
And if you’re celebrating Harry’s birthday, you have to make him a cake! Or at least something that resembles Harry’s birthday cake from Hagrid.
Since we already planned to make Sorting Hat cupcakes, I decided to turn Hagrid’s birthday cake for Harry into an oversized sugar cookie.
The best part about this treat is that you CAN’T mess it up! I mean, honestly, I think my lettering could have been sloppier to be more accurate!
Using a round cookie sheet, spread out two rolls of prepared Pillsbury cookie dough. (I had a little left over, and kept that for snacking.) Bake according to the directions on the packaging, but you may need to add a few more minutes to bake all the way through depending on how thick your cookie is.
After the cookie is out of the oven and cooled (slightly warm to touch), frost the cookie with hot pink Pillsbury frosting.
Next, spell out the HAPPEE BIRTHDAE HARRY message – and don’t worry if your letters are cramped or disorganized, they’re supposed to be!
For your guests to remember the event, golden snitches made from Ferrero Rocher candies and paper wings make an easy take-home treat.
Harry Potter Games & Activities
Looking to add some friendly competition to your brunch? Sort your guests into houses and award points throughout your event for trivia, wand duels, and more.
Since guests have varying familiarity with the wizarding world, I asked each person to rate their HP knowledge when they RSVP’d and then I pre-sorted everyone into teams (aka houses).
Set out Harry Potter coloring sheets for your guests. My favorites are these Harry Potter coloring books from Barnes and Noble.
Make sure to have your wands on hand for wizarding duels!
If you have a Nintendo Switch, the 1-2-Switch game has an interactive wizarding duel which is a lot of fun to play and watch. But if you aren’t trying to be that high tech, and if you don’t have wands (which you should!), sticks from your back yard will work perfectly fine.
For all of the Slytherins, and anyone who likes tattoos, have some Dark Mark temporary tattoos on hand.
Have other awesome Harry Potter party ideas? Share them in the comments! I’d love some new ideas for my next Harry Potter brunch because I’m thinking this should be an annual thing!
And good luck on your own Harry Potter brunch or party! I hope it’s a magical experience for you and your guests.