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Host a Hogwarts at Night Event for Grownups: Part One

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

Why should the kids have all the fun? Grab your cloak and your wand and get ready to plan an epic, magical Hogwarts at Night event filled with all kinds of ways to immerse yourself in the wizarding world ... from magical classes, to a make-your-own potion bar, a spell duel, a triwizard tournament, and of course, quidditch, butterbeer and chocolate frogs among many other things!

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Author JK Rowling went above and beyond when she described the magical world of wizards and witches in the wildly popular Harry Potter books, which makes our job much easier! We know what Hogwarts should look like, what foods we’d like to try, what activities will thrill our guests … it’s just a matter of planning the flow of the party then collecting and creating the items we need to bring Harry’s world to life.

This is the first post of a two-part series. In total, we’re going to talk about the four elements you’ll need to create an authentic and immersive Hogwarts at Night party, including the decor, the activities, the food and the costuming. This post will cover the decor and activities, and Part 2 will cover the food and the costuming.


Before you even start to think about how you’ll decorate your space, you can set the stage for your event with an “in-game” invitation. The fun of immersive events is helping your guests feel like they’ve become a character in their favorite story. This is not just a regular costume party where everyone just comes over, eats and chats. You are building a world and inviting your friends to join you there for an adventure.

So with a Harry Potter theme you have a fantastic opportunity to get your guests really excited for your event by creating a letter from Hogwarts as the invitation. Look in Book 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (page 51) or online to familiarize yourself with the wording of Harry’s letter from McGonagall, then type it up, personalize and print one for each guest. If you’re handy with a graphics program, like PicMonkey, you can even customize your envelopes as well. Make sure to mention that your guests should dress in their Hogwarts robes or house colors, and they should bring their magical pet as well. If you think they’ll be confused by that, you can insert the word "stuffed" as necessary.

Now you can build the magical world of Hogwarts in your own space by combining actual licensed Harry Potter themed items, with general items that suggest a castle, and custom items that you print or make. Let’s take those three categories one at a time.

I’m going to assume that you’re a passionate Harry Potter fan yourself, and as such you are likely to have a few official Potterhead-type items strewn about your abode. Collect all your wands, your house scarves, that sorting hat you got for your birthday and the empty pumpkin juice bottle you brought home from Universal Studios. Those are going to be your featured items.

Then scour your house for items that are similar to items mentioned in the books. Maybe you don’t have a licensed Hedwig figure, but you can put your hands on a stuffed white owl and just tell everyone it’s Hedwig. Now collect things that all the wizards had, like a trunk and a broom, and maybe some old books.

Next, look for things that can suggest a medieval castle – things like candles or lanterns, a pewter punch bowl or tapestries. Whatever you have. Keep an open mind as you survey all the random things in your house. Think “what could I do with this?” … maybe when you see an old birdcage you might think aha! I can put Cornish Pixies in here like Gilderoy Lockheart did in Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets.

And speaking of Professor Lockheart, that brings me to my next category of decorative items – your printables. If you want house crests to mark different rooms as common rooms, or Umbridge’s proclamations to hang on the wall, you can grab those off the internet and print them out. You can print photos of Hogwarts professors and frame them and set them in different “classrooms”, or you can print out Harry’s Hogwarts envelopes and tie them together with fishing line and drape them near your fireplace. You can even print out autographed copies of Gilbert’s headshot to hand out as favors. Wherever you have space to fill in amongst your 3-D decorations, think about adding some printables to round out the look.