& Fridays: My Christmas Party: Chocolate Frogs, Mandrakes, and Muggle Studies (Oh My!)

Hedwig balloons!

Hedwig balloons!

So I had a Harry Potter-themed Christmas Party.

Yep. I went there.

My best friend posted a link to a few Potter-themed party favors and ideas and tagged me, basically all Caps-shouting “SARAH, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS!” (Also, it’s 2015 – almost 2016 – where is the ability to italicize things on Facebook?!)

So I did. I set a date, made a Facebook event, enlisted the help of another friend to help me set up and organize it, and let my nerd flag fly.

Plastic spiders leading to the Forbidden Forest

Plastic spiders leading to the Forbidden Forest

First of all, the event description alone was a game of “let’s see how many Harry Potter references I can fit into a couple of paragraphs.” I live in a rural area, so of course people are traveling through the Forbidden Forest to get to me. I didn’t want people to arrive in ballgowns and tuxes, so dress robes could be left at home, and “Weasley jumpers  and the like are encouraged.” The White Elephant gift exchange turned into a Muggle Studies gift exchange, and in case weather permitted transportation to my house in the woods, the party could have moved “to either Durmstrang or Beuxbatons.”

Getting the idea yet?

Mandrake cupcakes! Devil's food cupcakes, crushed chocolate wafers for dirt, baby shower favors, and rosemary!

Mandrake cupcakes! Devil’s food cupcakes, crushed chocolate wafers for dirt, baby shower favors, and rosemary!

I fervently brainstormed, Pinterest-ed, and crafted my little but off in the weeks leading up to the party. I made my own Harry Potter-themed props for a photo booth, I duplicated Honeydukes (using Muggle candy, of course), and bought ingredients for Shepherd’s Pie (very British pub food), Snitch cake pops, and Mandrake Cupcakes.

The whole week leading up to the party was manic for me. I would go straight home from work, or pick up groceries and then run home. I baked the cake pops two days ahead of time, and the Mandrake cupcakes the day before. I enlisted the help of my family to help carve foamcore backgrounds for my props. I hot glued wings to gold ornaments to make Snitches for everyone to take home, and I bought a frog mold to pour chocolate in to make a favorite Hogwarts treat.

Winged keys hung in the entry!

Winged keys hung in the entry!

And people loved it. I did too, although I was exhausted the next morning. Pictures galore were taken, the Shepherd’s Pie was devoured (I have made it again since the party – it’s DELICIOUS. And I like you so much, here’s the recipe!), and the Honeydukes bags stuffed to the gills. For the Muggle Studies gift exchange, a friend of mine crocheted a Gryffindor scarf, and I got a hilarious book mimicking male models (Coffee table post on that later…)

 

 

 

The Honeydukes pop-up shop!

The Honeydukes pop-up shop!

And you know what? My nerdiness really helped with this one. My familiarity with the Harry Potter world surprised even the otherPotter fans in the room, even if Moaning Myrtle scared them when they were in the bathroom. So don’t be afraid to let out some of the nerd, everyone. Even if everyone at the party or dinner or whatever it is you host is not as big a fan as you are of Firefly or Bob’s Burgers or The Big Bang Theory, they can appreciate hard work. And you’ll have fun doing the work, because you love the franchise/indie film/TV series. It’s a win-win-win, in my opinion!

Can't have Honeydukes without Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans!

Can’t have Honeydukes without Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans!

In case you are curious, here was my Honeydukes menu:
Chocolate Frogs (chocolate poured into my handy, dandy $5 plastic mold)
Peppermint Toads (chocolate with a little peppermint extract)
Licorice Wands (sour straws – I could have used Twizzlers or actual licorice, but these were cool colors! Chocolate covered pretzels would have worked too)
Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans (jelly beans – any kind. They do make an actual Potter sponsored Bertie brand, but they’re more expensive)
Cauldron Cakes (Ding Dongs – Hostess cupcakes would be another good option)
Jelly Slugs (Gummi worms)
Sour Slugs (not actually a Potter candy, but I have a lot of friends who like sour gummi worms…)
Pepper Imps (Red Hots or other cinnamon candy)
Acid Pops (Caramel Apple Pops – Dum Dums or Tootsie Pops would have been great, too. But the apple pops were a nice bright green)
Lemon Drops (Lemon Heads)
Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum (Hubba Bubba bubblegum)

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