Friday, October 31, 2014

Jake's Harry Potter 1st Birthday Party!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!! My treat to you today is a monster post about the Harry Potter party we threw for Jake's birthday last weekend! :)  Can you even believe my BABY turned one?! It was the fastest year I've ever experienced, seriously.

Leading up to his big day, I felt totally exhausted by the prospect of a party. I'd set out with this tradition that each baby would have a big theme birthday bash for their first birthday, something pretty tiny for their 2nd and 3rd, and then move onto the friends and location-type parties after that. That's really only one big shindig per kiddo, but it's so tiring! 

The excitement of it the first two times around carried me through all of the hard work. But this time? Sorry, Jake, but I didn't feel like doing all!

Until I remembered that one of the coolest things about an October baby is the potential for fall parties - including a Harry Potter themed party. And I always wanted a reason to throw one! So I decided to commit myself to one last theme - I couldn't exactly leave him out of the tradition, anyway! I didn't want to over-do it, though. I saw SO many ideas on Pinterest over the years, and while I loved some of the things I saw, I just didn't have the energy to execute it for a one year old's party. No games, no costumes, no paid actors. No fabricated potions classes or self-constructed quidditch pitches. Just lunch. Hogwarts lunch, with a few notable pieces of (simple) decor.

Before I get into the details of what I put together, I just want to mention that I couldn't have had such an adorable party without the help of Adrienne, Katherine, Sarah, Kay, and Mandy. I'll show you all of the pieces they contributed to our day in just a second, but I wanted to make sure I thanked them properly. THANK YOU ladies, for being a part of my little guy's day, for being inspirations to all, and for being my new friends! xoxo


Jake's party was on his actual birthday, this past Saturday. It was SUCH a scramble! I came down with strep throat on Monday night and wasn't back to myself until Friday morning. YEAH! Talk about getting behind! Thankfully I had completed many of the major crafts the weekend before the party and had a lot of family around to help me piece things together.

One of the biggest decor plans I had for the party was to hang the floating candles from the great hall in our dining room. I bought a 36 pack of LED tea lights and turned them into small pillar candles by wrapping them in white cardstock. I added some thread and taped them all to the ceiling above the table. They were so cool! I left them up at night and it was so cozy in here!

Next, I have almost no empty wall space in this house, but I wanted to put up a little mural of Jake over the past year. Adrienne from Hawthorne Ave sent me her adorable Mischief Managed banner, and I thought it would be really cute to hang it with his monthly pictures in sort of a "first year of trouble making complete!" way. To make room, I covered the door leading to our basement in kraft colored wrapping paper, and hung everything there. It was impossible to get a picture of this without a glare, but you get the idea.

I love this banner so much! She also sent me some AMAZING photo props (which you will see shortly!), and I think I'm going to hang this and some of the props above Jake's crib for decoration so I can keep them up somewhere! A post for another day ;)

My friend Joy made Jake a Happy Birthday banner that played off of Hagrid's cake for Harry. So yes, the spelling is intentional! I asked her to make it green and in some sort of handwriting font to look sort of like the cake, and I LOVE how it turned out! I wasn't sure if I'd have time to make the cake for the party, so just in case I wanted this, too. And I loved how it came together - it was perfect!

Everyone that came to the party knows us well enough to know where the bathroom is, but I thought this sign was so cute that I just had to put it up! This is from Printy CA.

We were still cooking and putting things away when the first of family arrived - thankfully they love us enough to not care ;)  I tucked a few things away and put some Harry Potter music on through the bluetooth to set the mood while everyone helped us scramble.

Guests were greeted by this Platform 9-3/4 sign by Printy CA that I printed out on kraft cardstock to give it more of the aged, Harry Potter world feel. I heard a couple people point it out on their way in - the HP fans were all pretty excited.

Lunch was being served just as guest were arriving, so I quickly took pictures of all of the food we were serving that day.

First was the drink table where we had "Pumpkin Juice" (just apple cider - I didn't want to make one of the recipes out there because they honestly sounded gross!), and Butterbeer. I served the Butterbeer punch-style with homemade whipped cream that I'd added butterscotch and rum extract to. The labels on the punch bowl are from Printy CA (they were intended for individual bottles but worked well like this, too!) and the straws are from Pop Up Parties Shop. I added in a few extra from the dollar store, also, to make sure we had enough. The cups I set out for drinks were in Hogwarts house colors so people could chose their house! We also had bottled water that I called Felix Felicis in a cooler outside.

Next to the drink table was the snack table. I covered my hutch with some black table cloths and set out the treats on some metal trays I found at the dollar store that reminded me of what they'd serve the feasts on a Hogwarts. I made some really simple labels for the food by downloading a free Harry Potter font and printing them on cardstock. Between the drinks and snacks was a little stand where our friends Hedwig, Crookshanks & Scabbers were hanging out with the goodie bags (and I apparently failed at photographing that).

We had Dragon Chili and Cauldron (Corn bread) Cakes for the adults, and Dragon Wing Nuggets and fries for the kiddos. There were lots of treats including Pretzel Wands, Caramel Covered Apple Slices, Candy Corn, Golden Snitch Truffles, and Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. 

Using The Pioneer Woman's pie crust recipe (my fav, and the only one I don't ruin!), plus a simple spiced pumpkin filling, I made Pumpkin Pasties. Basically mini pumpkin pies. These were a hit!

Despite running out of time to decorate these, my Hedwig cut out cookies were super cute (and really yummy!) I used an owl cookie cutter from KL Confections and my family's fail-proof sugar cookie recipe to make these guys! White frosting was all they really needed to scream Hedwig (though I would have liked to add eyes and a beak to each).

I filled a plastic cauldron with popcorn, which of course is the simplest thing ever, but a few kiddos were crowded around it, munching away for a while.

So guests ate and visited for a while, and I made my rounds taking photos where I could. I really REALLY wish I had more time to take more silly photos, especially with our awesome props, but OF COURSE, hosting a party is really busy and chaotic, especially when there's a dozen or so kids around, so I was busy doing a lot of little things. I even remembered to ask Matt to take the camera and take a picture of me with Jake, but he doesn't know how to work a prime lens and they were ALL blurry and underexposed. Ahhh, well.

Here are some cute ones I captured:

After everyone had something to eat, it was cake time! I did end up making the hagrid cake for Jake's smash cake. HP fans thought it was awesome, and those that had never seen the first movie were a little confused! I had to explain that it was ugly on purpose ;)

The rest of us had cupcakes. My SIL makes them as a hobby but her family doesn't like to eat them, so I asked her if she would want to make them for Jake's birthday. She made three kinds - chocolate peanut butter cup (my favorite, I ate more than I'd care to admit, haha), vanilla with chocolate filling and frosting, and vanilla with strawberry filling and vanilla frosting. I'd made a bunch of cupcake toppers for them - quidditch hoops and house flags, and Adrienne sent me some lightening bolts and golden snitches. We had so many that we ended up making a big quidditch pitch out of the cupcakes and toppers with the snitch in the middle of the field - so cool!!! I used the lightening bolt ones in the chicken nuggets - it worked out perfectly!

Can you see the hoops at the end? There were hoops at the other end, too. It looked so cute!

Cake smash is always the highlight of any first birthday party, right? We couldn't wait to see what Jake would do! His brothers both got pretty messy with their smash cakes and had colorful baths afterwards!

Ready for cake! Check out his adorable Hogwarts bib from Out of My Head Designs. CUTE or what? It's reversible, too (with the deathly hallows on the other side). It was so perfect for his party, and I'm so happy to have this keepsake!

He was mesmerized by the floating candles while we were searching for a lighter, haha :)

He didn't get as messy as I thought he would! He still clearly enjoyed himself, but aside from that one streak in his hair, he kept it on his lower face and his hands - my other boys WORE their cakes! So he had a really quick bath before presents. He got a lot of sippy cups and dishes and things (which I'd asked for since we are already overloaded with boy toys and clothes!), and he LOVED the cups! He sat there playing with his cups while his big brothers played with his toys, haha!

I almost forgot, but just before the kids left, I handed out goodie bags. I wanted to keep them simple - something fun and Harry Potter themed, but not a ton of sugar (after I'd just served a lot of sugar!!) or a ton of tiny plastic toys. Each one was in a pumpkin bag and had a little cauldron with candy corn in it, a little bottle of pumpkin bubbles, a broom pencil (that I made with Halloween pencils, kraft wrapping paper, and twine), plastic spider rings and glow in the dark snakes (both things that make me think Harry Potter!), and a package of fruit snacks.

It was busy and difficult at times, but I think it turned out to be a great party! The kids even ran around outside for a while and had fun playing together. I got a lot of compliments on my floating candles, pumpkin pasties, and butterbeer. And I think I made the Potterheads happy :)

It was such a fun way to celebrate my little guy turning one! I'm glad the work is behind me, but it all came together in the end! Thanks to everyone that helped and contributed - I couldn't have done it without you!!!


  1. I love this so much! I might have to steal this idea for my friend's (thirty)first birthday next year! I pinned it so I won't forget!

    1. Thanks, Rachel! It was a lot of fun!!

      (Also, my comment notifications keep going to spam so I'm super behind on responding! lol)