Last Saturday we had a Harry Potter themed Birthday party for my 9 year old son! It was so much fun. Two weeks prior, my MIL and I scoured the internet and Pinterest for the best ideas. Admittedly, almost the entire party was made on "borrowed inspiration" but that's what the internet is for, right? However, I had to come up with ways to make the party inexpensive because I was on a very tight budget. I spent the most on my son's Harry Potter robe and tie (more on cost breakdown later) which was a splurge I could justify because he can use it for Halloween next year....that is if he hasn't moved on from his Harry Potter obsession by then...
We started off with a Platform 9 3/4 entrance sign on our front door made from a single sheet of red butcher paper ($1.10):
his tie and robe were both found on Amazon (total $46.)
Once everyone arrived, we did our Sorting Hat Ceremony:
The hat was made from a black hat we had on hand. I used the brown paper packaging that the Harry Potter Robe was packaged with to make the sorter hat's face. I wrapped it around and used hot glue to tack it down.
After everyone was sorted into houses, we searched the house for golden goblets and the hidden snitch. The one who found the snitch got bonus goblets to spend at Honeydukes:
The jars were made from .99 cents jars I found at Michael's, clearance ribbon for a dollar, and craft paper also a dollar (.99 cents.) I used Harry Potter books and a table cloth I already had for the display table. I used yellow posters (.60 cents) and black paint for the signs.
For the candy, I used twizzlers ($3) cut in half for the Slytherin snakes, a bag of skittles (from the pantry) for the Every Flavor Beans, Dum-dums for the Acid Pops ($3), gum from the pinata pack of candy for the Blowing Gum ($6.) I also purchased 8 cute mechanical pencils for (.45 cents each) them to add more variety.
Once their goblets were almost spent, it was time to spend their last one on purchasing a wand from Ollivander's wand shop. They had the choice of pretzel wands ($2), which they could then dip in chocolate or twizzler wands (left-over ingredients.)
After the wands, the kids began their potions class. The kids mixed 1 tbs. baking soda into a cup of water, and then added 2 tbs. vinegar for their bubbly potion. The night before I dropped food coloring drops in the mason jars to add color to their creation. All potions class materials I had on hand.
They had so much fun doing the potions. After the potions we all went into the dining hall for witches brew and wizards brew (food storage score), Butterbeer (cream soda $1.50 and dry ice $3) and cake ($4 total.) I didn't do a fancy cake because I was short on resources (time and money) but the kids didn't seem to notice or care.
The total of the party (not including items I already had on hand, but including all food and craft supplies) was $51.89! That's not including the Harry Potter costume which you could probably make for a lot cheaper than I paid for it. (I have no sewing skills and was short on time with the party being right after Christmas and New Year's.)
At the end, one of the boys said "that was the best party ever!" To a 9 year old, I'm sure it was pretty close. There are a million other things that I wish I could have done (robes for everyone, a game of quidditch, however you spell it, more potions, more magic, etc...) but, I stayed within a reasonable budget and the kids all had fun. And that's what matters most.