Harry Potter Party in the Forbidden Forest–On a Budget (free printables)

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Invitations from Minerva McGonagall on Hogwarts stationary, a trip to the Forbidden Forest and Quidditch Broom Cakes made for one super fun birthday party for my eight year old, avid Harry Potter Fan. And, here’s the best part– it cost about sixty dollars.  That’s good news in our family, where Spring birthdays abound.

Our invitations:  An acceptance letter from Hogwarts, with the Hogwarts crest at the top and signed by the deputy headmistress.

You can download the full text in a pdf document here and change the wording to whatever suits your party. I printed it on parchment paper  and used Hogwarts stamps printed on plain paper and lightly glued to close the letter. The Hogwarts crest for the top of the letter can be found here.

We also wrote a letter “To The Muggle Parents” of each party guest, detailing other pertinent party details (address of the party, where to meet in the park, etc.). It is contained in the pdf document above.

Firefly (the birthday boy) received his own Hogwart’s acceptance letter, which was delivered via owl.
 I then announced we were going on a trip to Diagon Alley (our foyer) to purchase his supplies. There, Firefly was presented  with a HP robe, glasses and wand (found at a consignment sale for $9). The packages were wrapped with white butcher paper, with Madame Malkin’s and Ollivander’s logos printed on parchment paper and affixed to each box. You can download them in a pdf file here, along with the Honeyduke’s logo for the party favor bags.

Boxes wrapped in plain white butcher paper. Labels printed on parchment.

The party was held at a local public park, which is heavily wooded with hiking trails.  The guests were invited to wear “dress robes” (all of these boys are avid HP fans, so some own a dress-up HP costume) or “Muggle attire”.

Upon arrival, they were presented with their very own wand, handed out by the birthday boy, from the “Olivander’s Wand Shop” box shown above. These were plain wooden dowel rods that Firefly painted with brown paint. I then streaked them with thin marks of black paint and sprayed them with clear coat so the paint wouldn’t rub off, since it was washable paint. Probably not necessary with permanent paint.

My son brought along an old witch’s hat from our costume collection and the kids performed a sorting ceremony. All the boys got to speak for the hat and call out their own house. They all chose Gryffindor, naturally.
 Once the guests were sorted, we ventured into the Forbidden Forest. I advised them all to travel with their wands at the ready, in case we ran into any unfriendly magical creatures. They are 7 and 8 year old boys, so wands drawn, they quite enjoyed running and spinning and jumping through the forest, battling imaginary creatures and each other.

Searching the “Hogwarts Lake” for the giant squid.

We stopped to take some photos and then we returned to the starting point, on the edge of the forest, to have cake. The single-serving cakes were concealed inside Quidditch brooms, based on the tutorial found here, although I used pretzel sticks for the broomstick. Inside the brooms was a serving of cake for each guest, packed in a mason jar. I wanted something easy to transport, easy to serve and something that wouldn’t be sitting out in the open, attracting bugs and other critters at the park while we were in the Forest.
Drinks were pumpkin juice (really orange juice) or water, served in goblets.  The goblets are plastic wine glasses, which I had on hand from some long ago party.

I baked thin cupcakes, putting about half the amount of cake batter into each cupcake pan.

Once baked, the flat cupcakes slipped easily into an 8 oz. jelly jar.  I layered cake and piped-in icing until the jar was full, added a few sprinkles on top and the cakes were ready to pack into the brooms.


After our hike in the forest and cake, the boys just ran around and played in the park. I purposefully didn’t plan any other activities because I knew they would just be happy to run around, explore, and cast spells on each other.  I had a couple of ideas as a back-up, in case the kids would’ve gotten bored, such as letting the birthday boy open presents and taking a hike on another path through the woods.  None of this was necessary, however. They made their own fun. They practiced spells, found a gate that they designated Azkaban, the famous wizard prison, and they tried out their Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans.

 I found the Bertie Botts’ at the grocery store around Easter time, but you can order them from Jelly Belly. I put them all in a paper bag with a “Honeyduke’s Sweet Shop” label and my son handed them out. The boys all sat down to read and laugh at the descriptions on the back of the box (ear wax, vomit, grass, sausage–blech!). They spit a lot of them out. Gross? Yup. That means we had a successful party, in the eyes of five boys, ages 7 and 8.

Cost Breakdown:
Parchment paper: $9
Paper bags: $2
Jelly jars: $8
Spoons: $2
Napkins: $3
Cake mix and frosting: $7
Bertie Botts (5): $15
Wooden dowels for wands: $2
Costume (2nd hand): $9
Juice: $3
Goblets: FREE

TOTAL:   $60
(note: my prices may differ a bit from the links included in this post, as I was able to find some of my items in local stores)

We kept the party small because it’s less stressful for kids and parents that way, but it also keeps the cost down.

And look at the adorable gift wrapping job my friend, Stephanie, did for Firefly’s present:

You can see more great Harry Potter party ideas on my Harry Potter Obsession Pinterest board.

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harry potter birthday party



  1. I love this so much! We are having Hogwarts school the last week of official school this year. I will have to borrow the cake idea. LOVE IT!

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  2. I LOVE this! My girls are too young for the Harry Potter series, but hubby and I are unabashed fans of the series and I can’t wait until they are a few years older and we can do these as read aloud books. I am so bookmarking this entry for later use, what adorable ideas! And I love the cupcakes in mason jars, my mind is going a million miles a minute thinking of ways to dress up those jars…what a perfect cake to travel with and serve outdoors!

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  3. Love this! My girls are heading to a Harry Potter potluck this weekend – this is very inspirational. I love the broom bags!!

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  4. What an awesome idea! I have some adults in my family who would be thrilled with a birthday party like this, hmmm…

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  5. I love this! My son (4) brought the first book to me a few days ago and asked me to read it to him. We’re going slowly, but he’s loving it!! (I’m a Harry Potter nut, anyway.)

    Thanks so much for sharing!!

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  6. Oh my goodness, this is so wonderful! I adore the HP books and I can’t wait to introduce them to my son whe he is older. You created such an amazing party and I adore the gift wrapping from your friend. What a perfect day. Happy Birthday to Firefly!

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    • Thank you, Ness! It was so much fun to plan and throw the party. Firefly and I have been reading the series together for several months. We are on the 6th book. I adore the series as much as he does!

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  7. How absolutely wonderful! What a special party memory you obviously created!! You are so clever!! Thanks for sharing your creativity and inspiration with The Kid’s Co-Op this week!

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  8. You did a wonderful job! I love the broom cake containers. Smaller parties work at my house too.

    Thank you for linking to Read.Explore.Learn.

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  9. How totally fun! You did such a great job with this party.
    Love HP so, so much.

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  10. What a wonderful party!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!! I hope you are having a wonderful week!

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  11. This party looks so wonderful! The only thing I would’ve changed is that you should’ve invited ME! 😉

    It’s the little details about Harry Potter that are so special to me & you included so many of them! I bet the kids will remember this story for a long time. I also like that it wasn’t heavily scheduled, kids need time just to run around & play.

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  12. fantastic, now can I convince my princess who is soon to be 8 that she wants this party? Cos I soooo do.

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  13. Thank you for the very coolest and user-friendly invitations!

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