We had a blast last Sunday for Caroline’s 7th birthday party. She chose a Harry Potter theme in line with our current reading obsession, with, interestingly, a veto on organised games (perhaps scarred for life by last year’s treasure hunt trauma?!)
As we now live near the coast, a party on the beach is a great novelty but…Harry Potter on the beach? Long live the imagination of children.
“The real magic wand is the child’s own mind.” – J. Ortega y Gasset
Caroline’s party pitch was four simple things: – fancy dress, a food table like a Hogwart’s banquet, building a Hogwarts sand castle and a broomstick cake.
Gryffindor no more
Given the ludicrous amount of Harry Potter memorabilia we own, I didn’t have to go far for props or decorations, with only a few Halloween bits added. I nearly splashed out on Gryffindor-coloured bunting but my wild child has suffered a recent lurch to the dark side – Slytherin’s Bellatrix LeStrange is now her current favourite so farewell Hermione, Luna and all things Gryffindor.
Caroline obviously had a vision of ‘piles’ of food on the table but her intriguing choice of Hogwarts fare was chicken drumsticks, cocktail sausages, a pile of apples and a pile of tomatoes so, in case the adults got hungry, I added chopped veggies, hoummous, crisps, cheese, grapes, chocolate coins and of course our amazing Kids of the Wild homemade Butter Beer. Check out our simple recipe, it’s delicious.
Wild Mummy fail
In all the excitement I somehow managed to forget to make the chocolate blancmange rabbit with lime jelly grass which has been our ritual birthday pudding since Caroline’s first birthday. Fortunately the chocolate cake extravaganza more than made up for my epic fail.
I’ve never been good with cakes but Wild Daddy loves it and is a brilliant baker as well as being very arty with the icing and decoration. This year’s birthday cake was absolutely the best broomstick in the whole of Quidditch history and tasted bloody delicious too, as a certain Weasley might say.
We found a perfect ‘Godric’s Hollow’ on the dunes overlooking our stunning local beach. The magical banquet appeared on a trestle table next to our Thestrel-pulled camper van. Bunting hung itself in the event shelter and a potions cauldron (firepit) apparated in, for toasting cockroach clusters (marsh mallows) and later for using ‘floo powder’ to change the colour of the flames.
Best dressed Daddy
There was no fancy dress competition but the winner regardless was definitely Wild Daddy’s Snape outfit with his impressive vocal impersonation perhaps suggesting he covets the character as an alter ego! Wild Mummy’s McGonagall was a little too young-looking and the children’s fancy dress lasted so briefly that photos were missed and they all stripped into beachwear within minutes and headed for the sea.
A very impressive castle was built in the sand though not by our party. Another family, with a particuarly competitive Daddy, had dug the biggest sand fortification I’ve ever seen so our children joined the group and hijacked it for Hogwarts as the tide slowly came in and dissolved the magic away.
I bought some Mystical Fire powder which claims to make flames change colour. The website states it is non-toxic and we were outdoors so I wasn’t concerned about poisonous inhalations resulting in the need for Madam Pomfrey.
The powder is wonderful and produced green, blue, red and purple flames. However, despite the online claim to be non-toxic, the packets state that it is extremely harmful to all aquatic creatures which was pretty worrying given we were at the beach. Because of this I didn’t let any of the children touch the powder and ensured that all of it and the wood was completely burnt away. It’s a great product and I’d recommend it as a fun addition to firepit or bonfire-time but PLEASE be really careful with your kids and aquatic life if you use it.
We were blessed with incredible weather for mid-September and the three-hour party lasted five hours, with exhausted wild kids passing out happily at bedtime.
All in all a great success, simply and cheaply done and which really did feel like the ‘best birthday party ever’, even to us adults.
Happy birthday to my 7 year old little Girl of the Wild