It's finally here. The movie every Harry Potter fan has been waiting for, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, is coming to theatres in just a few days.
Whether you're waiting for a midnight premiere or gathering after the movie to talk about how great it was, this cheap and easy Harry Potter-themed party will please even the pickiest wizard.
We all know that the best way to get to Hogwarts is by catching the train at the legendary Platform 9¾. This door decoration was done in less than fifteen minutes with some craft paper, a sponge and red paint.
The Platform 9¾ sign was printed from here, but there are a bunch available online, so feel free to pick your favourite.
Repurposing the Harry Potter merchandise that you already own is a great way to lend the party some authenticity, and it makes decorating even easier.I used this blanket as a tablecloth, but a black plastic one could just as easily be spiced up with some decorations.
These dollar store potion bottles cost less than $5 and add some much-needed magic to the table setting. If you can't find them in the post-Halloween Christmas craze, clear glass bottles filled with food colouring and water would look great too.
Tug on a few cotton balls and string them around the bottles for a spider web effect. If you really want to throw it back to The Chamber of Secrets, decorate the web with some plastic spiders.
Before everyone arrives, work your magic by dropping a small amount of red, yellow, green and blue food colouring into alternating plastic cups. Let it dry for as long as you can, and then pour ice on top of it until the colour is hidden.
When it's time for the most important part of the evening—the Sorting Ceremony—let your guests choose whichever cup speaks to them. Once everyone has chosen, fill the cups with Sprite or 7-Up and watch the clear liquid change into the colour of your rightful house.
Once you're all settled into your houses, it's time to pit the loyal Hufflepuffs against the cunning Slytherins and the brave Gryffindors against the wise Ravenclaws.
You can make up rules if you want, but we found it most fun to award points arbitrarily. I lost five for wearing pastels, but gained them back for making a really good joke.
No host wants to spend the whole night in the kitchen while your guests are having fun, so these easy snacks are the way to go.
To make authentic Honeydukes cauldron cakes, just decorate regular chocolate cupcakes with yellow sprinkles. For the handles, use chocolate icing to draw semi-circles on wax paper and freeze until solid.
There are two ways to bring the magic of the Nimbus 2000 (or the Firebolt, if you're fancy like that) to your party.
For the sweet version, gently push pretzel sticks into the bottoms of miniature peanut butter cups. Feel free to add some caramel at the base for extra support (and presentation value).
For the savoury version, cut a piece of string cheese and peel it halfway to make the broom's bristles. Stick the pretzel in the other end of the string cheese and tie a thin piece of liquorice around it for a nice final touch.
For those of us who are less skilled in the kitchen, making Golden Snitches using Ferrero Rocher chocolates couldn't be easier. All you have to do is print out these wings and attach them beneath the sticker on each chocolate.
Once everyone has had their fill of drinks and snacks, it's time to get the party started with some games. Your options range from easy things like Harry Potter trivia to more difficult things like Quidditch Pong. We decided to go with a fan favourite and eat some Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans.
If you want to turn it into a competition, Beanboozled is an alternate version of the Bertie Botts game that comes with a spinner. Don't forget to award house points to the last person standing. If you get the 'dead fish' flavour, rest assured that person won't be you.
Before the party ends, make sure to award the House Cup to the winning witches and wizards. If you really want to rub in your victory, drink Butterbeer out of the cup while laughing at your opponents.For the three losing houses, don't be too upset—there are four more Fantastic Beasts movies on the way, so you'll get another chance soon enough.