1. Pumpkin juice
Pour orange juice into a pretty vessel. Call it pumpkin juice if anyone asks. Done.
Or you could just clean up the sticks in your yard and/or go to a dollar store for wooden dowels.
Unicorn hair optional. More vegan that way.
I had vague plans about the kids decorating the wands, but only my daughter did. Good news: just reuse them for your next party! Or throw sticks back in the yard. You can also use whatever wooden dowels are used for.
3. Sorting hat shortcuts
I was going to print out questions and put them in the sorting hat. Based on each person’s answers, I planned to yell, “Gryffindor!” etc.
This would involve printing out questions and cutting them up. Too much work.
Instead, we went online and did the entire quiz without killing any trees. Apparently, I’m secretly a Ravenclaw. Four kids ended up going into Hufflepuff, included two self-designated Slytherins, so I consider that my contribution to making the world a better place.
4. Force your kids to make the swag.
Are your children addicted watching YouTubers on Minecraft? Me too! So tear themoff the screen and put them to work, making decorations for your party. It’s not as pretty as Pinterest, but that’s not the point. The point is to make them touch the 3D world and use their own imagination.
Don’t have kids? Borrow someone else’s.
Or, okay, just print stuff off the Internet. That’s easy too.
5. Pin the Harry and Ron in the Ford Anglia and Whomping Willow
My daughter, Anastasia, was asking about Harry and Ron missing the Hogwarts train and flying the Ford Anglia into the Whomping Willow.
And I thought, wouldn’t that make a terrific pin the tail on the donkey game?
We bought two sheets of Bristol board. I asked my husband to draw the Whomping Willow, because he’s more artistic, but he was already making two cakes and feeling quite overburdened, so I sketched it out, and Anastasia made the car. My son Max drew Harry and Ron, but he lost them, so he and another girl hastily drew another.
Spin the kids around (we didn’t bother with a blindfold. Too much work) and see if they can place Harry or Ron in the car!
If you make the car enormous, they’re guaranteed to win. Kids love this. (I’m sure adults love this too, but no one else wanted to do it except me.)
I realized that I’d forgotten to get any prizes, but then I had them pick the “wands” from #3 out of the sorting hat, and they were perfectly happy to pretend to kill each other with them. Mischief managed!