How To Throw A Harry Potter Movie Night

My parents are top notch, but they failed me in one major way.

None of my birthday parties were ever Harry Potter themed.

I KNOW, right?! It just seems like the worlds biggest oversight on their part. Would I ever have rebelled as a teenager if I had gotten a snitch shaped birthday cake even once?! Something to think about. The world will never know. 😉

Anyway, I’m sure it surprises no one that the idea of hosting any Harry Potter themed get-together sounds like heaven to me. I’ll probably overcorrect from my failed childhood (lol, kidding) and make every one of my future kids’ birthday parties Harry Potter themed. My hypothetical wedding might have some Potter-ish aspects to it. Today, though, we’ll start with an admittedly lower stakes kind of party: a movie night.

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Throwing a Harry Potter movie night is kind of like…duh. What better way to celebrate than by watching 1 or 2 of your favorite Potter films with some friends? It doesn’t take a ton of expertise to pull off, but I thought it would be fun to share how I did it.

The Guest List

First things first? Knowing who to invite. My ideal guest list for a Harry Potter movie night is a bunch of already established fans (or at least people who know the story and appreciate the franchise). If you have a bunch of non-Potterheads on the guest list, you run the risk of a few things happening: 1) they won’t appreciate the little details and extra efforts you made as a hostess, 2) you might have to stop the movie(s) to explain things to them (annoying), 3) playing themed games might be less fun for them, and 4) they will probably hate it when you and your other Potterhead guests recite the very famous lines along with the movie (when I went to the Hollywood Bowl to watch Sorcerer’s Stone, literally every single person in the amphitheater recited the line “she NEEDS to sort out her priorities ” at the same time and I was so happy I almost passed out).

The Decorations

For any kind of organized gathering, it’s best to have some sort of decorations set up. If it were closer to Halloween, I might’ve thrown up some spider webs or brought out some skulls and potion bottles. Since it’s the middle of summer however, and I really didn’t want to go digging through my holiday decorations, I chose to go a more classy, subtle route. Flowers are always a must for me. I stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up some dark red blooms, golden mums, calla lilies (a subtle homage to Lily Evans!) and eucalyptus for dirt cheap. The rich, moody colors and greenery went well together and were so on theme.

Candles are also a requirement for any HP themed event, preferably tall tapers with either black or gold holders. For me, candles helped set the mood with some medieval vibes and warm tones.

I like displaying quotes, especially since Harry Potter has so many good ones! So I used my letter board to showcase a silly, well known quote that guests were bound to recognize.

If there’s ever an appropriate occasion to bring out some souvenirs you might have from the Universal Studios Wizarding World, it’s this. I happened to save a few boxes from Honeydukes that I strategically placed about. They were obvious, but not over the top in your face, so they worked. You can also order these or download printables from the internet!

Finally, with a little more time I would have loved to hang some Hogwarts acceptance letters with fishing line from the ceiling in my entryway, so it resembled this scene & so guests felt like they were entering a little realm of magic right away! Next time, for sure.

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The Food

Obviously, the menu is crucial. Most of the food mentioned in Harry Potter are types of sweets. Luckily, it being a movie night, sweets are definitely appropriate. It took no effort at all to set out some jelly beans to resemble Bertie Bott’s Every Flavored Beans, & chocolate coins to look like big galleons (wizard currency). I even made Fizzing Whizbees, a popular candy from Honeydukes, which couldn’t have been easier (you just add melted chocolate and Pop Rocks to a bumblebee candy mold, freeze, and serve). 

No movie night is complete without popcorn, and no bowl of popcorn is complete without m&m’s sprinkled throughout. I chose to put out a big bowl of popcorn and surrounded it with smaller bowls of m&m’s separated in the colors of the four Hogwarts houses. Guests can prepare their own personal bowls and choose the m&m’s that represent their own house. It’s fun to see how all your friends have been sorted! 😉

Not everyone has as big of a sweet tooth as me, so I always think it’s a good idea to set out at least one savory option. An easy flatbread or a moody cheeseboard are perfect candidates.

Finally, every event needs a signature cocktail! I set up a mini martini bar so that guests could make their own Voldemortini (which is really just a dirty martini). So easy and so fun!

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The Games

Whether or not games are needed depends on your crowd and your preference. Some people just want to get right to watching the movies, and I respect that! But if you have time to kill, or you’ve all seen the movies 100x and can afford to play/chat as you watch, consider a game of Harry Potter themed Trivial Pursuit. Or Harry Potter Clue. Or make up hilarious drinking game rules! “everyone takes one drink every time Ron says “bloody hell!”

The Movies

Nobody asked my opinion, and everyone has a different answer for this, but my definitive ranking of the Harry Potter films are as follows:

  1. Sorcerer’s Stone
  2. Deathly Hallows Part 1
  3. Prisoner of Azkaban
  4. Chamber of Secrets
  5. Deathly Hallows Part 2
  6. Order of the Phoenix
  7. Half Blood Prince
  8. Goblet of Fire

So, that’s my recommendation. It’s probably best to take a vote on what movie(s) your specific group wants to watch. Recently, when my family was tasked with choosing a movie to watch together, we came up with a bracket system and everyone had to make spirited speeches for the movies they wanted considered. Choosing the movie became as fun as watching the movie itself!

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There ya have it! Honestly, the most important thing is to have fun and try not to cry an embarrassing amount when you see the golden trio together for the first time in Sorcerer’s Stone. I know, easier said than done.

Thanks for reading!

Popcorn Bunny Tails 🐰

These popcorn balls have been one of my favorite treats for as long as I can remember. I used to ask my mom to make them all the time. And I remember she was always pretty resistant. Now I know why. They’re not the healthiest and the clean up isn’t the easiest, but damn, are they worth it.

Just so freakin’ cute and festive. I love a good colorful treat.

These are also fun to make cause you can change out the candy and sub in a new name for each holiday. Like for Halloween you can dye the marshmallow mixture pink so that they look like little brains or use themed candy. Or for Christmas you can call them snow balls and fill them with blue and white candies/sprinkles. Full disclosure, I’m really tempted to call these Easter Bunny Poops because it just looks like a cute version of if a bunny got into a bag of M&Ms and then…well…you know. But we’ll call them Bunny Tails instead.

I made these and fully intended to wrap some up, take them into work, and maybe add some into easter baskets for the roommates. But alas, they were too good and without asking Mark decided to eat them all in one night. Plus…I don’t really think my roommates deserve my baking right now. 🙂

They’re really easy. You need a 3 oz bag of popcorn, a 10 oz bag of marshmallows, 1/4th cup of unsalted butter, and any candy of your choice. I have been looooving these peanut butter m&m’s lately, almost too much for my own good. Last year I overdosed on the cadbury eggs…this year it looks like it will be these m&ms. Yikes.

So…

Step 1: Pop your popcorn.

Step 2: Melt the butter and marshmallows together in a pot over low heat, stirring regularly. You’d be surprised how fast it all liquifies. If you use high heat or you don’t stir it enough it will burn and be gross.

Step 3: You have to work quickly here. In a bowl (not the popcorn bag), pour marshmallow mixture and candies over popcorn. Start to mix immediately so all popcorn is coated as the marshmallow cools. Don’t let any gather/cool at the bottom of the bowl!

Step 4: Spray your hands with non-stick spray. Trust me here. Then grab a handful of popcorn and, like a snowball, pack together into a tight ball. Binge accordingly, lol.