Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Harry Potter Party Documentation

Once again, I have returned to my oft-neglected blog to share tales of my summer exploits! I'm doing them rather out of order, since this happened much more recently than the events that will be detailed in posts (hopefully soon) to come, but I thought I'd do both of my food-related posts first and then move on to the posts about art. So here's my account of the marvelous Harry Potter party that I assisted my friend Brooke (an amazing cook, artists and party planner) in preparing a short while ago.

As you can see from the photo above, we went all-out on the Harry Potter theme and prepared quite the extravagant spread of sweets. Brooke and I got together and worked on cooking, planning and decoration for it for between 6-10 hours each of the two days before the party. I'd definitely never done so much cooking within so little time before, but despite how much time and effort it took it was lots of fun, since it was also time spent with a friend.

I think I made a pretty good cooking assistant, and Brooke was definitely an excellent head chef. She was calm and level-headed the entire time, gave clear directions and was somehow able to cook 5 different things at once and shop and think of games and decorations and still stay sane. Now that's what I call a competent party planner! If you want someone to help you throw a great themed party you really should contact her. (Yes, I will be this shameless in promoting her - I have tasted her food, I can't not tell you to give yourself the chance to try it too.)

Anyways, let's start talking about the food! Below are more photos showing almost the whole selection of sweets we made. Brooke also cooked normal non-dessert food to eat - roast chicken, vegan mashed potatoes and cheesy non-vegan mashed potatoes, gravy and peas (selected because Brooke noticd that there are always platters with great mounds of peas on the tables whenever feasts happen in the Great Hall in the Harry Potter films). Those, however, were finished and added to the table just as the party began, and I didn't get any photos of them before they were gobbled up.

Now I'll be describing the snacks individually. First, the chocolate frogs! A must have at any Harry-Potter-themed event.

These were made using a chocolate mold that I'd gotten for Brooke as a Christmas gift a few years back. The mold sadly only had one frog in it so we had to make them one at a time, and combined with the amount of time it took to complete each frog - which involved filling the mold with an initial layer of chocolate shell, cooling it in the freezer, removing it to add the filling and second layer of chocolate shell, and then freezing it to solidity one final time - it meant that it took two and a half days of work to complete this tray of frogs. We'd pretty much do a step in making our latest frog and then wait and work on something else until we could perform the next step in the process, and repeated this ad nauseam.

For all the time it took to make them, they turned out really great and we were able to make a good amount of them. We had a few frogs filled with raspberries, and the rest either had some sliced almonds with of the green caramel inside them left over from the cauldron cakes, or some of the leftover peanut butter mixture that the mandrakes were made from.

Also featured on this tray were our lovely golden snitch truffles.

They were made of a truffle mixture using milk chocolate with hazelnut liqueur mixed in, and each also had a hazelnut in the center and were rolled around in edible gold dust to give them their snitch-like appearance.

We also made on large display snitch to clue the guests into what the truffles were supposed to be, if they couldn't already tell. Brooke made white chocolate wings painted with gold dust for this snitch, which looked fantastic.... until her dog (who's named Godric Gryffindor, so her was perfect for this event) ate one of them just before the party was going to the start. It was rather disheartening - a one-winged snitch simply doesn't look the same - but thankfully not dangerous to Godric.

Over the course of the party preparations, Godric (pictured above) also ate a bird and several books, and vomited on the carpet quite a lot. He's a troublemaker, but he was so dopey and cute everyone forgave him.

At least Godric didn't eat the entire snitch, for we would have been in quite a pickle if he did. You see, one of the big events of the party was a Horcrux Hunt, and just as it was in the original story, the ring horcrux was hidden in the center of the snitch!

You'll have to secure your earmuffs tightly before we talk about this next snack, because these mandrake roots are an earful as well as a mouthful!

These paralyzingly good snacks were made of a peanut-butter based mixture (I'm not quite sure what went into it, but it was tasty), which was shaped into the mandrake's  fat little bodies, arms and their screaming faces.

The dirt in the cups we planted them in was made of a mixture of pulverized Oreos and the chocolate cake scooped out of the center of our cauldron cakes. There was an extra layer of the peanut-butter mixture at the bottom of each cup because otherwise there would't have been enough dirt to cover as many mandrakes as we did. The leaves stuck into the top of each mandrake to complete the effect are basil leaves.

 I made sure to take pictures of as many as their cute little squalling faces as I could because they were so cute.

Next up, cauldron cakes!

These are comprised of chocolate cupcakes hollowed out in the center, so that they're like cauldrons, and filled with a potion consisting of caramel dyed green with food coloring, with a few bone-shaped sprinkles to complete the effect.

Next we have a platter of cockroach clusters, which are pretty simple - we covered some messy piles of walnuts with a coat of melted milk chocolate, and allowed them to cool.

Next up, we have pumpkin pasties! These are pretty much miniature pumpkin pies. Everyone praised them for having just the right ratio of pie filling to crust, and they were definitely a favorite item at the party.

 The above treats are Licorice Wands - which are twizzlers dipped in white chocolate and rolled in chocolate crumbly stuff - and Acid Pops - which are blow pops rolled thoroughly in pop rocks. The wands were good, but the Acid Pops were especially fun and I heartily recommend giving them a try. The pop rocks gave the blow pops a longer life than they otherwise would have, since you didn't really start sucking on the blow pop itself until after the pop rocks had all popped their last, and the pop rocks added some zazz to the otherwise ordinary lollipops.

That's it for the treats, so now let's move on to the alcohol! Brooke decided to make a Potions-themed station with it, so she made sure most of it was in glass bottles and put paper over the main labels on each bottle so they could be labeled instead with the name of a potion or ingredient. There was also a cauldron of non-alcoholic Polyjuice Potion - a punch made with lemon-lime soda, pineapple and fruit sherbert - which was very tasty. There was also a pitcher of butterbeer set out on another table, which had butterscotch schnapps and cream soda. Below, you can see all the various labeled potions and ingredients.

 Finally, I've got some photos of the costumes from the party, and then I'll describe the games we played as part of it. Immediately below you can see Brooke's boyfriend Ben dressed up as Hagrid, complete with a very shaggy beard and wig, and in the second photo just below it he's accompanied by Rowan Pope, who was Harry Potter.

In this one the two of them are reenacting the scene in which Hagrid tells Harry that he's a wizard. Rowan is quite tall, so he had to crouch down really low for the shot. Also he made the best silly excited face for it.

And here's our last photo, which shows all the people in costume at the party. I'm on the bottom right, and with a long black cloak and a hilariously terrible gray wig I was Madame Hooche, the Hogwarts Quidditch coach. Besides Harry Potter and Hagrid (who stood on a chair for this shot) we had a great Luna Lovegood and Draco Malfoy, and a few regular Hogwarts students.

Besides food and costumes, this party also had some great Harry Potter games! First, we had two "wizard chess" boards out for people to challenge one another with. Then we divided up everyone into houses (and teams) by drawing from a sorting hat.

We competed between the houses first by playing a Harry Potter anagram game, and then we all drew and cut out paper patronuses and played pin-the-patronus-on-the-Dementor, suing a Dementor Brooke made out of a foam skull and black sheer fabric and pinned on the wall. The aim was to pin your patronus near the area of the heart and plenty of people got close, but the Hufflepuff representative with a cheeseburger patronus ended up pinning his to the dementor's head, haha. Some other fun patronuses were a unicorn and the Loch Ness Monster.

We were going to play more general inter-house games after this, but since the evening was wearing on we decided  to have the Horcrux Hunt right away. Brooke and I had set up the event and hidden each of the horcruxes just before the party, and we wrote up clues to help lead the teams to each one. Each team to find a horcrux would get a point, and the team with the most points would win the hunt.

A list of the Horcruxes and where we hid them:
  1. Marvolo Gaunt's ring (a ring with a green stone hidden in the large snitch truffle)
  2. Nagini (a small snake plushie hidden in a window well outside)
  3. Hufflepuff's Cup (a metal tankard hidden in a vase of fake flowers)
  4. Ravenclaw's Diadem (a burger king crown, buried in a select spot near the front yard)
  5. Tom Marvolo's Diary (a plain notebook hidden in the crook of a tree outside the block)
  6. Slytherin's Locket (a necklace hidden in a solar light outside.)
We went through each Horcrux, read the riddle-like clues to our guests and watch them search for the horcruxes, and drop more hints if need be. Some of them were easily found, and some of them took a lot of extra clues for people to catch on to the location, but overall it was a lot of fun, and that's really what party games are all about.

We also played a Harry Potte game of Mafia after the other horcruxes were found, in honor of the fact that Harry was also a horcrux, even though nobody knew for the longest time. We played it with Harry as the Jack/Detective, Dumbledore as the Queen/Doctor, Voldemort as the King/Killer, and Ace as Voldemort's Horcrux.

Overall the everything about the party was a lot of fun, even the prep work and cooking. I'll definitely be taking photos at and reporting about any more themed parties of Brooke's that I'm able to attend in the future, because they are awesome and well-deserving of documentation.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing party! So glad you captured and described it all.