MN. Parent-April Issue

It’s my party :: Hayden and Harry

By Kelly Jo McDonnell

My son is a party-planner, and I have no one to blame but myself. I love a party… and a theme party? Even better. Best: my son is with me every step of the way during our party planning process. Hayden, now nine-years-old, chooses his “theme” each year. When he was really little, I chose for him, trying to match the theme to whatever my son was “into” at the time. At age five, it was bugs, so I booked Dr. Bruce the Bug Guy for a live bug demonstration complete with edible bugs and a strange looking bug cake (gift bags included rubber bugs and bug tattoos). By six and seven, he was in the Pokémon phase (I tracked down Pokémon-themed games including Pin the Tail on Pikachu). By eight, George Lucas had his hold and Star Wars ruled. Invitations stated, “Invited you are, on a Galactic adventure with Hayden,” and Yoda Sodas were a hit (lime sherbet with sprite). All the boys brought their own light sabers, and they proceeded to destroy the death star piñata, which was really just a painted soccer ball. The force was with them.

So that brings me to the ninth year. I assumed that perhaps the Star Wars theme might hold strong. Did I have it in me to plan a Transformers party? Or, heavens, a Bakugan or Ninjago party? I’m still trying to figure out how to pronounce Ninjago. But a few months before his ninth birthday, Hayden proclaimed that Harry Potter would have the theme honor. Let the planning begin!

I booked the party at Grand Slam, though the venue threw me off a little bit: a Harry Potter theme amidst laser tag and mini golf? I was out of my comfort zone, but I figured I would just bring all things Potter to our party room. While ordering a themed cake would have been easier (but expensive; my local bakery only offered one huge Harry Potter cake for the wee price of $100+), I decided to bake my own and add the characters myself (courtesy of Hayden’s LEGO Harry Potter collection).

The treats were even more fun. On the menu was Magic Color-changing drinks and Honeyduke’s Wizard’s treat mix. I found out how to do “color changing” on the ivillage site: basically you place two to three drops of food coloring at the bottom of each party cup and let it dry. Just before serving the drinks, fill each cup with ice to hide the food coloring. When you pour the drink over ice (helps if it’s a clear liquid), it magically turns into a color as the cup fills. I used a lot of different colors, so none of the boys knew what color they were going to get. For our Honeydukes treat mix, I used the standard Chex mix recipe (minus anything that might trigger a nut allergy), but added large gummy and novelty candies.

All of the party favors were on display on the Harry Potter table, decorated with wands, potion jars of “gillyweed” and “truth serum” (green chives for gilly and lemon water for the truth serum). We had some Harry Potter magic right smack in the middle of Grand Slam, and it went over well.

In the meantime, I’ll be on the look out for what birthday number 10 will bring. And who knows, perhaps this will lead to a future career for my son. I wonder what an entertainment director’s salary will be in the year 2024?

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