Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hogwarts Leavers' Party

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At the end of June, the first wave of invitations went out.
(You probably need to click to read it. You may not be able to tell, but the envelopes/paper are metallic gold. You know, because MAGIC.)

This was a change from the past seven (7!) parties we'd done: Before, we'd met Friday night to eat, play games, then head to the movie at about 10:30pm (fewer kids). But we'd all agreed that we'd like to discuss the final movie, so we restructured the party. At the time the "save the dates" went out, we weren't sure what movie times would be available, but we figured there'd be one around 10:30am.

Once we found out that the 3D IMAX was either at 9:45 (AM!) or 12:50, we changed our "lunch" plans just a bit, and the second invites went out.
Fancy postcards...(also sparkly gold)
If you're in the US, google leavers' party right now.

This cleared up something for me...after O.W.L.s, there was talk of "continuing" to N.E.W.T. level. I wondered what Hogwarts students who weren't "continuing" would do? Was there a vocational school at Hogwarts? Now it all makes sense.

So around noon on Saturday, Michael and I set out for Atlantic Station: He to hold places in line and save seats, and I to sit at a nearby cafe and distribute tickets. And snacks.
You know, just so people would have energy to walk across the street to the theater. ;)

My long-suffering waitress was much confused by the fact that I arrived alone, Michael showed up, then left, then another male showed up and plopped down across from me. I think she eventually caught on. After all, the cafe was serving drinks like "Gryffindor Punch".

Every Harry Potter party at the Lott Loft includes a few constants: Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans, licorice wands, and pumpkin pasties. Several of you asked where to get Peppermint Toads.
I'm afraid that this particular packaging is available only at the Lott Loft. If you wanted a Muggle sweet that was similar, I'd pick up a package of Junior Mints, though. ;)

After the movie (which I thought was fantastic...and I don't think that always!) we repaired back to the Lott Loft where tea awaited.
(My sister manages to turn her back in practically every picture I take!)

My wonderful sister, along with my equally wonderful nephew and niece, not only made tea but had everything ready for us when we got back. She does cream teas at her house which are completely mindblowing. This was more of a high tea (in other words, a meal), with sweet scones with her amazing clotted cream, and super-delicious savory scones (sun-dried tomato and basil) with basil butter frogs I made.
The savory scones are a keeper. There was only one left!

While everyone enjoyed tea, we discussed the movie. We also enjoyed the scrapbook Tony and Julie brought of their time at Hogwarts. (Remember the invitation where we requested guests to bring "favourite memories to share"?)

The scrapbook is awesome!! I wish you could see the whole thing, but you can at least see the pictures and some of the captions in their picasa album here.

We handed out attendance pins.
Our seven-year attenders were very proud. =) As they have every right to be...anyone who survives seven of our parties deserves a major award! (Though these pins are not really fragíle.)

Next course of tea was shepherd's pie.
Which was on this tiered server...so cool. But that's not what's sitting there.

What's sitting there is Bakewell Tart. It looks rather unassuming (though pert and pretty), but it is SO. GOOD. Jam, cake crumbs and almonds with fantastic icing on top.
I mean, really.

We also had a trifle I made. (That's Pumpkin Juice there to the left.)
It was also yummy (and, as my nephew said, "It's filled with fruit! It's healthy!" Yeah...that can of sweetened condensed milk would beg to differ...). However, my attempt at a Hogwarts crest didn't go as well as I'd have liked. Maybe they were appropriate for a "student-made" dessert.
Special thanks to the spouse for making a late-night run for more heavy whipping cream. Note to self: YOU CANNOT HAVE TOO MUCH HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM. This is impossible.

After dessert, we subjected our guests to had a trivia contest...you know, a review session for our N.E.W.T.s. I restricted myself to only asking questions from previous parties. But I am known for creating wicked hard trivia. I thought there was going to be a mutiny over the characteristics of a werewolf...hey, I go from the books ONLY. ;)

Perhaps the Butterbeer dulled the pain a little. =)
Butterbeer is not for the faint of heart, nor for those trying to watch their sugar intake. I'm pretty sure this is the most sugar you can drink, per fluid ounce, unless you're drinking straight simple syrup. Actually, this may be MORE sugar than simple syrup.

Warning label on the side:

WARNING! Bottles from authorized dealers equipped with Summoning Charms for recycling purposes.

Not for consumption by gnomes, house elves or people who don’t fancy butter. Muggles may experience dizziness, dry mouth and/or additional limbs.

We had one Muggle at the party, and a couple bottles were labeled, "Muggles, such as Mr. Ralph Dulap, may experience...".

We've had an epic, over-arching Butterbeer storyline through the eight parties, which I am not sure any of our guests really grasped, but which amused Michael and I, anyway. According to Quidditch through the Ages, Butterbeer sponsors the Ballycastle Bats. So the very first party, we had bottled Butterbeer with a sidebar featuring Ballycastle's mascot, Barny the Fruitbat, and boasting Butterbeer as "proud sponsors" of the Bats. The second party, we noted that the Bats weren't doing as well, but we were still "loyal sponsors". The third party, the label was much less enthusiastic. Finally, at the fourth party, we only had Butterbeer on draft. Honestly, producing the bottles was a lot of work and fuss, and few were keeping them as souvenirs. One year we had hot Butterbeer, and last year we had Butterbeer à la Wizarding World. But this year, we had to do the bottles again...there were some attendees who had never experienced bottled Butterbeer. I give you...the triumphant return of Barny the Fruitbat:

After trivia we had "Hogwarts, a History in Four Minutes or Less". Guests were challenged to produce a short skit (poem, song, limerick, kabuki, flaming mime) depicting their time at Hogwarts (or Harry's time; we weren't being choosy) and they were given pipe cleaners to enhance their presentations. Guests had been dropping like flies, though, so we were down to a skeleton crew of two teams of 2 and 3 rather than 3 teams of 6 like we'd planned. So things were much more restrained than, say, the Goblet of Fire party where fans of the Bulgarian and Irish Quidditch teams were yelling competing cheers. =) My favorite highlight was the pipecleaner Pygmy Puff, modeled by the lovely Vicky.

We handed out Hogwarts "Who's Who" forms. The winners will be announced when the yearbook comes out. I'm still trying to persuade the yearbook staff to wrap things up.
Finally, we played Kinect Harry Potter. I wish I had pictures of this...or better yet, video...that was some awesome flailing we all did. ;)

This is one of only two or three pictures of me across all eight parties!
It's been a great run! But I must admit, I'm a little relieved. I stress out big-time over making sure everyone has enough food, and that the games are fun and able to be enjoyed by everyone.

So, now that I don't have to keep my "trade secrets"...is anyone interested in any recipes? Pumpkin Pasties? Pumpkin Juice? Butterbeer? Last year's Cauldron Cakes or Golden Snitches?

Thanks to my guests for all the great memories...Gilderoy Lockhart Kabuki will go down in history as the funniest thing ever.

Filch sure is glad we won't be trashing the place anymore.


Aimee said...

Okay, I am NOT finding any info on what, exactly, a Leavers' Party is. I'm assuming some kids leave partway through school?? What do they do after?

Your parties so totally rock. I'm jealous.

And YEAH on the recipes. Please???

Jackie's Stitches said...

It looks like a wonderful time! I have a feeling that next year you might miss these parties.

Erin (moviemuse) said...

I'll take any and all recipes you want to send my way. I imagine there will be a Harry Potter birthday and/or Halloween in my future in the next few years for L. Those snitches looked particularly interesting!

Susan @ Real Girl Designs said...

My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail :(

Just kidding! It looks like a fun time was had by all. Will you be ashamed of me if I admit that I didn't see any of the films, nor have I read any of the books?

Tony Vila said...

You're the 4th result in Google for "leavers' party", by the way. :)

I would love all the recipes, frankly, ESPECIALLY for butterbeer. And those scones were superb!

I hated having to leave early - we always love your parties!

Melanie said...

So. Much. Awesomeness.

Old Geek-outs