A Harry Potter Party for Teens

  • 01 of 03

    Planning a Harry Potter Party for Teens

    Butterbeer, pumpkin pasties and a tower of finger sandwiches makes perfect fare for any Harry Potter-esque festivities. Photo by Jackie Burrell

    Planning an 18th birthday party? Or winter break festivities for your college kid? The tale of Harry Potter has such enduring appeal, 18-year-olds take the books to college and play quidditch in the quad. More than 300 universities and high schools have intramural quidditch teams.

    Which is all just prelude to saying, a Harry Potter-themed party is the perfect thing for an 18th birthday celebration, a last-night-with-the-high-school-gang gathering, or winter break event - or even Grad Night. Or it...MORE is, as long as you don't suggest the kids play "pin the tail on the sorting hat." No, we have much better ideas that that.

    Here's how to channel the spirit of Hogwarts and appeal to the child within, while entertaining your college kid too.

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  • 02 of 03

    Harry Potter Party Food

    Pumpkin pasties
    Half-moon shaped Pumpkin Pasties are perfect fare for a Hogwartsian feast. Photo by Jackie Burrell

    You'll have to save the Fire Whiskey for that 21st birthday party, but butterbeer and finger foods, such as pumpkin pasties and sandwich towers - plus a few boxes of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (compare prices)- are a great start for that Hogwarts buffet.

    • Butterbeer: This foamy, sweet beverage figures in every Harry Potter book - and it has enough oomph to get a house elf mildly buzzed. So the recipes floating around the web run the gamut, ranging from a straightforward butterscotch-cream...MORE soda combination to some very elaborate mixtures made with sweetened condensed milk or butterscotch schnapps (best not to serve that to house elves and or the under-21 crowd). My favorite, teen-appropriate recipe mixes a very good quality vanilla cream soda, such as Henry Weinhard's, with a dollop of butterscotch syrup. (Mix it to taste, or use the proportions from HarryPotterRecipes.com.) Whichever way you go, be sure to wrap your bottles with butterbeer labels, such as these free, downloadable labels from DesignDazzle.
    • Pumpkin Pasties: Making these half-moon shaped turnovers is as easy as pie. Literally. Roll out a batch of your favorite pastry dough or pate brisee recipe. Cut out 4- or 5-inch circles - the soon-to-be empty, a large pumpkin can make a great tart cutter. Top with a tablespoon of pumpkin filling - canned pumpkin mixed with a little pumpkin pie spice. Moisten the edges with water, fold in half and crimp the edges with a fork. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with white sanding sugar ​and cut a small vent for steam. Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
    • Sandwich Towers: These towers of stacked finger sandwiches provide a little wow factor when they're piled high and held in place with a Gryffindor pennant-topped skewer (there's a photo on the previous page). And the fillings offer all sorts of creative options. Among the teen-pleasing possibilities: pumpernickel or dark rye, cut with a scalloped biscuit cutter, and filled with dill-flecked cream cheese and smoked salmon; sourdough bread with pesto, cream cheese, and Genoa salami; Jewish rye with butter, chives, mortadella and cheddar; and whole wheat bread with sweet mustard, sliced turkey and Fontina.
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  • 03 of 03

    Harry Potter Games and Activities for Older Teens

    Quidditch brooms at Middlebury College. Photo by Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images

    Older teens want to spend time hanging out, not playing musical chairs with sorting hats - thank heavens! That said, here are some entertaining ways to fill the time:

    • Quidditch: Thousands of college players can't be wrong. Muggle quidditch is an excellent game for players and spectators alike. And all you need is a large field, brooms, hula hoops and balls. And collegiate quidditch rules are all you need to get started. The other option is the Quidditching meme that went viral recently:...MORE Players straddle brooms and leap into the air just as someone snaps a photo. The effect is rather fabulously realistic.
    • A Movie Marathon: Watching all seven Harry Potter movies back-to-back is a particularly popular way to spend that last evening with the old high school crowd, before everyone leaves for college. For added fun, include a screening of "A Very Potter Musical," the hilarious brainchild of a group of University of Michigan students - including Darren Criss of "Glee" fame - or the documentary "We Are Wizards" (compare prices), about Hogwarts fandom and wizard wrock - rock and roll inspired by Harry Potter.
    • A Dinner Party: Set the banquet table, dangle electric candles from the ceiling and cue up the wizard wrock or "Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince" soundtrack (compare prices). Hogwarts' house elves cooked quintessential British fare, so The Spruce's British Food pages are a gold mine of banquet suggestions - including a recipe for treacle tart. Other great sources include the "Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook" by Dinah Bucholz (compare prices), which includes Kreacher's French Onion Soup.
    • Gringott's Casino: Blackjack, craps and poker take on new liveliness when the venue is a goblin bank and the playing cards come from a bizarre, fabulous red dragon deck (compare prices). Use gold foil-covered chocolate coins for poker chips, or break out the spray paint and coat your poker chips in gold, silver and bronze, to represent galleons, sickles and knuts.