Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

Date Night: The Hogwarts Experience Part II

Written By: Tracy - Oct• 31•16

Happy Halloween!  I hope you’re having an awesome day, and that you didn’t wait until the last second to finish your costume.  I had to run to Party City Friday night to get gloves for my kids’ costumes.  It was a real house of horrors, and not in the fun way. 

387ee892-ff16-448c-812c-1f19bf5a6694.jpgLast week I wrote about the food I served on my Harry Potter date night. This week, I’m going to show you how I made the house look like Hogwarts and link to my inspiration. I managed to do most of this for the cost of a dozen bottles at Goodwill, and an ink printer cartridge.  You can spend hundreds more if you want.  But I do things on a shoestring budget. 

It seems like most craft projects I take on start with the thought “I wonder if I could learn to make this cheaper.”  Then I proceed to find out the hard way whether this is possible or not.  Most of the time, I find that it’s not.  But I have an awful lot of fun learning,  and isn’t the journey important, anyway?

I first had an inkling that I wanted to decorate my house after seeing the photos of the dinner party put on by the blogger who runs Food In Literature.  This is an amazing website.  The blogger has recipies from most of my favorite books here.  Including hobbit food.  I served her robbers steak (a la Dracula) this summer, and hubby loved it. I would also reccomend Pintrest (just search DIY Hogwarts), and A Very Harry Halloween Tumblr blog. If I decide to do this again next year, and add to my decorations, I’m consulting this blog. 

The first thing I did to decorate was a lot of printing. Siriusly! You can’t make a Hogwarts without breaking a few printer cartridges.  Actually, the second thing I did was print.  The first thing I did was buy a pack of stiff, heavy paper, and another of parchment-style brown paper. I already had printable canvas leftover from a birthday party a few years back.

I’ll try to link to places where I found my images, but for a lot of it you can do a Google search and find the images yourself. Or Pintrest.  Chances are you’ll wind up there anyway.

The list of things I printed is:

Then I ran out of ink. I wonder why?
The Hogwarts express sign went onto our front porch, along with some decorative trunks, an old broom and a plastic trick-or treat cauldron with a Lockheart textbook in it. Ginny Weasley better not have an old diary in there.
86656d32-a1b2-4c9f-aaef-e5e4f55682a0.jpgThe paper craft owls required cutting and folding and pasting.  It took about a week, but when I was finished, I had 8 owls of various sizes for my kitchen owelery.  Including one I hung from monofillimant thread to “fly” over my kitchen island. The quibbler was glued to old copies of Southern Living, Daily Prophet was wrapped around old newspapers and tied with string. I assembled all that, along with an “owl post” box, a remembrall for Neville made from an old Christmas ornament, and an oragami howler that I also hung from the ceiling. 
For the Gryffindor common room, I hung the portraits, draped an old red blanket over our sofa, set out a chess set for Ron and set up a corner of the room with Harry’s luggage, which included a Gryffindoor scarf I bought last year at Wizarding World, the marauder’s map, copies of the quibbler and Daily Prophet, and an owl cage with Ron’s owl in it. 
I66b47ebb-6652-4496-abb0-b692f3a5fa70.jpg then took a trip to goodwill to buy interesting bottles and bits and bobs for decoration.  I found a silver bowl for a dollar that became Dumbledoor’s pensive.  The potions labels were glued to the bottles, and I filled them with colored water, spices, syrups and anything gels that looked potion-y, corked them and put them in my China cabinet.  Food In Literature suggested that I put candles behind them to make them glow.  That turned out well. They have a nice tutorial on how they did their own potions setup here
Hubby’s office became both Dumbledoor’s office and the transfiguration classroom. So the pensive went in there. I taped the transfiguration chalkboards to some already existing frames. I placed a little Russian Limoges white ferret of Hubby’s into my transfiguration classroom.  Looks like Malloy crossed fake!Mad-Eye Moody again. 

At Hogwarts, the students dine under a ceiling that has been transfigured to look like the sky outside with floating candles providing light.  I wasn’t willing to knock a hole in my ceiling.  They do make photo backdrops that look like a starry sky, but I tried to do my own crafty thing.  I opened a couple of trash bags and painted them with a wash of white acrylic to resemble a nebulae.  Then I taped battery-operated fairy lights to the ceiling to shine through the plastic like stars.  Over this I hung battery-operated tapers on monofillimant line to resemble the floating candles. Food and Literature’s version of the same setup is here.

You can’t have Hogwarts without a sorting hat.  So I made mine out of paper mache.  It lived in my entryway next to my goblet of fire (an old fishbowl with crepe paper in it), and my Hogwarts banners. My sunny plant windowsill got it’s own mandrake, which I made out of salt dough. He was cuter than the usual mandrake, so I call him baby groot. I also made a dragon egg for the bathroom out of an old Easter egg detailed with hot glue and painted gold. 

B4808c888-44f8-414f-b2c6-24cd46204df7.jpgy the end of the month, I was more than ready for this date.  It started out as a fun thing, and kept growing as I thought about one more thing, then one more thing.  It was worth it, though.  Hubby is still smiling in wonder at everything I did.  Especially the great hall with the starry sky and floating candles. 

If you want a relaxing computer background/white noise to help set the mood for your own Hogwarts date, I reccomend this YouTube channel, which is set up to look and sound like the great hall at Halloween. 

And if you want to watch the movies before Fantastic Beasts, Freeform (which used to be ABC Family) has all of them except for whichever one HBO has the rights to at the moment. 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.  And enjoy your trick-or-treating. 

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