Recently it was Prince No. 2’s 6th birthday. This of course entailed a birthday party. When I asked him, ‘What do you want to do for your party?’ He said, ‘I want a Harry Potter party.’ HARRY POTTER. I was at a loss, how do you make a Harry Potter party? Luckily I love Harry Potter and it sparked my imagination, so I agreed.

I smsed the invitations (sloppy I know but the wording was cool) to a dress up Harry Potter party by order of the Ministry of Magic. And then I freaked out. I realised that my normal party formula was not going to work. This had to be special, this was themed. Themed with Harry Potter to live up to no less. And so I did what I do these days with a query, I googled, ‘Harry Potter party’. And lo and behold I wasn’t the first person to have embarked on the project.

The most useful site was an article with about ten Harry Potter party ideas, from magic cups that turned into a colour when liquid was poured in, thanks to dried food colouring at the bottom. To licorice magic wands and broom stick party bags. It was so useful I found myself making all these gimmicky, time-consuming things with glee. I never do party bags, but this time was different because they were broomsticks.

I bought child sized wooden broomsticks for flying – thank you to Johannesburg street hawkers (artisans) who make brooms that look like real witches and wizards flying sticks.  Another lucky thing was that Prince No. 2 has about eight children in his class. This means I could buy fifteen brooms and it was enough for them to go flying around playing quidditch in the garden. It was a small enough number for them to enjoy throwing water bombs. And here’s where I’m really proud of myself. I kept the number of children small.

I used to like throwing big parties for the Princes. The more people the better. (Except when they’re one and two years old. I think that’s too overwhelming.) For me to decide to have a small party and not invite my friends and their children was SO difficult. I asked Prince No. 2 whom he wanted of the kids he knows, and that’s exactly whom I invited. So all in all there was ten invited children. Plus siblings. (They always come to Sunday parties.) Plus cousins (all of whom are littlies). So for once I had a very contained, focused party, and Prince No. 2 felt like a real Harry Potter birthday Prince. I learnt that small parties, especially for kids who tend to be introverted, is essential for their enjoyment and confidence.

Now the party was a smash hit success. And it wasn’t the Harry Party gimmicks I got together. Although that was fun. I had a secret ingredient and that was the Prince’s uncle, Colin Levin. He was very excited when he heard about the Harry Potter party and he offered to run the Harry Potter kids activities. This was the biggest win ever. Colin is the Pied Piper of children. So much so that his business is children’s developmental play equipment. (To see his stuff look up http://www.geppettosworld.co.za – it’s worth taking a look and I’m not just saying it because I’m his sister-in-law. His creations are seriously fun and educational.) The children were enchanted from the moment he arrived at the party shouting, ‘Who wants to go to Hogwarts?’ till the end where he was getting the kids to feel and taste slimy spaghetti potions and laugh hysterically at exploding bottles of diet Coke (you just drop a mentos into it). He also let the children throw water bombs at him. It was hysterically funny for all us parents.

I’ve never received a thank you card after a party. A mom from Prince No. 2’s school wrote me a beautiful one saying it was the best party her son had ever been to. Her son was a boy of few words, but after the party was playing Harry Potter games with his dad the whole afternoon. I never knew parties could have such an impact. I was humbled. Every bit of effort was worth it. Every ounce of lost, worried sleep didn’t matter. Having a themed party was ALOT more work than normal, but it was special and I think Prince No. 2 will never forget turning six. Will never forget he is special and loved. Will never forget the party where he got what he wanted not what his mother thought he wanted.

I forgot to add that when I told Prince No. 2 what games I was planning for his party (the usual pass the parcel etc) he said, ‘No, I don’t want that.’ I was frustrated and said, ‘So what do you want?’ I was astounded when he answered with the most incredible suggestions. ‘Follow the spiders to the chamber of secrets and kill the snakes’ (we didn’t do that), dragon eggs (we did do a dragon egg treasure hunt with coloured Kayleys eggs), quidditch. I loved his original ideas. They were so much better than mine.

Having an awesome time playing quidditch!

I’m also adding a photo of the birthday cake (see below) because it was quite a story. The image was taken from our Women’s Weekly Party book, which the Princes love and look through all the time. Prince No. 2 chose a witch, which he wanted me to make into a wizard.

Harry Potter Birthday Cake - This looks NOTHING like the book picture!

I loved making this cake! Because it looks nothing like the cake book’s picture and I had no idea how it would look. (I’m always relieved that my boys don’t compare their cakes to the book once it’s done otherwise I’d be in REAL trouble.) At the beginning of the process I thought it would never come together, and then miraculously it did. Sweets help. Lots and lots of smarties and licorice All Sorts help. They hide a myriad of baking sins. Unfortunately, of course, no matter how much butter I put into the cake, birthday cake and icing just doesn’t taste great. Too sweet. The kids enjoyed it though. Especially the six sparklers I put in the wizard’s hand.

So all in all. It was a great party. A party worth blogging about. A lovely memory and a couple of hours in Prince No. 2’s magical world.