Monday, October 7, 2013

Harry Potter Surprise Party (Part 1)

A few weeks ago we took a quick little weekend trip
to surprise my sister for her 18th birthday!

We flew out the morning of her birthday
& got to their house around lunchtime.
After eating a quick lunch we laid all the decorations out
so that we could try to figure out where to begin.
Seeing piles of everything there in front of us & knowing that we only had a few hours
to turn the entire house into Hogwarts was a little overwhelming.
So where did we begin?

We turned each of the bedrooms into the four house common rooms by decorating with whatever we could find (misc blankets, tablecloths, curtains, & pillows from thrift shops, and even towels or whatever we could find around the house) that coordinated with the Hogwarts house colors on the beds & throughout each room.
I didn't get pictures of any of the common rooms,
but if for whatever reason you aren't familiar with Harry Potter, here are the house colors:
Scarlet & Gold for Gryffindor
Blue & Bronze for Ravenclaw
Yellow & Black for Hufflepuff
and of course,
Emerald Green & Silver (we also threw in some black) for Slytherin.

We had Hubby watching the kidlets and cutting out potion labels & chocolate frog boxes,
since he knew nothing about Harry Potter & was probably the least excited about the party's theme.
He hadn't read any of the books or seen any of the movies, & had no intentions of ever doing so.
But let's get back to the party set-up.
We'll discuss Hubby's dislike for Harry Potter later...

My other sister Abby came home from school & got right to helping us!
She worked on finishing up the Hogwarts acceptance letter,
which was undoubtedly the most important part of the entire party
for without that letter,
her dreams would not come true.
You see, she had been waiting for this letter her entire life.
Well, ever since she was 11...
It turns out they had sent it with the Weasley's owl Errol
(don't ask me why they sent it with him),
but he lost it along the way.
He flew around trying to find it again
but due to his extremely poor eyesight it took him 7 years.
Better late than never, right?

We did a little rearranging of furniture in the living room & dining room to turn it into the Great Hall,
where we would later have our feast.
My mom bought some house banners online that we hung up along the wall.
We had also intended on hanging floating candles,
but naturally ran out of time.
I guess that's what happens when you attempt to turn an entire house into Hogwarts
with less than enough time to do it.

Keeping her away turned out to be kinda interesting...
She's a senior in high school,
& she doesn't have very many classes that require her to be at school.
She takes a lot of online college courses that are doubling as some of her high school credits as well.
Fridays are one of her short days,
so we had to figure out how to keep her away from the house.
She had been wanting to go to work with Dad for a while,
so we thought she could just hang out with him from lunch on.
They had a lunch date, then went back to his office until he was done with work.
We still needed more time so it worked out perfectly that there was a football game.
My dad dropped her off at the game, then came home to help.
McCall texted Abby asking if she was coming to the game,
& called when she didn't get a response.
We had to be completely silent since she didn't know we were there.
Since keeping the kids quiet was quite the task,
we sent her upstairs with the phone to come up with a reason why she couldn't come.
A little while later,
she called the house saying the game was almost over,
& asked for a ride home.
We were far from ready and tried to think of more ways to stall her.
Then Dad got a text saying something like this:
'Just kidding, it's only the end of 3rd quarter'.
Really, McCall?
Was that mini heart attack necessary?
Did she know something was up?
We knew we didn't have much time left
so we hurried as fast as we could,
Abby planted the acceptance letter in the mailbox,
& we were still running all over the place trying to finish
when she called saying the game really was over this time.

Mom & Abby stayed home to finish getting things ready
while Dad dropped our little family off
with our Harry Potter glasses & robes
at a park only a few blocks away from the house.
We had to wait anxiously & patiently
while Dad headed to the high school to pick up McCall,
then to Walgreens to get a new SD card so that we could record her reaction,
then back home so she could get her acceptance letter
& go to Diagon Alley where she would get her wand, owl, books, & school supplies.
Finally everyone would pile up in the Hogwarts Express to come get us at the park.

So there we waited.
& so shall you...

Part 2
Part 3

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