Almost 21 years ago, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” graced the big screen. Since then, seven more movies carried forward the charm of the wizarding world introduced by J.K Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books. Given the success of the original movies, the spin-off movies “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” keep the franchise alive and thriving. According to The Numbers, the franchise earned a whopping $9.6 billion at the worldwide box office.
As a testament to the success of the books and movies, demand for Harry Potter themed entertainment at children’s birthday parties has become the norm, with Hogwarts parties remaining incredibly popular since the movies first debuted decades ago. Devoted fans of the series, termed “Potterheads”, have been enthusiastic about seeking out the Harry Potter experience. Just look at the success of The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando Resort and its continued expansion. Even celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon throwing lavish Harry Potter themed birthday parties, with Kylie Jenner being the most recent participant of the ongoing trend.
So what is it about the Harry Potter series that has gripped the hearts of so many? We’ll explore the popularity of Hogwarts and why Harry Potter party characters have remained in such high demand at children’s birthday parties for decades.
1. The Appeal of Being “Chosen”
The story of Harry Potter commences with the anticipation of children wondering if they have been selected to receive a letter inviting them to Hogwarts, the famed School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Every Potterhead knows the excitement of awaiting the call from Hogwarts. Aside from the obvious desire every kid has to feel special, the Hogwarts selection process taps into the idea of having a meaningful higher purpose in life, feeling valued, included, and being part of an elite team.
While not every kid can be “The Chosen One” like Harry, a Wizard School themed birthday party is the logical way parents can induct kids into that fantastical world, weaving magic into their real lives, and making a young Harry Potter fan’s dreams come true on their birthday. Not that wizard parties are just for kids, an adult Harry Potter party is perfectly acceptable for those of us young at heart. After all, Harry Potter seems to transcend age.
The beauty of a Wizard School birthday party is that all children (and adults) can feel special and included on that magical day.
2. The Longing for Hogwarts
The attraction to Hogwarts is in part due to the detailed worldbuilding created by J.K Rowling in the books, in addition to the CGI special effects and mind-blowing filming techniques created by the work of many artists in the films.
When Harry and the other first years step off the Hogwarts express, they have no idea about the magnificence of their school. As the first years finally pass the bend on their row boats, they see the shimmering windows of the castle – their school for the next seven years.
Just as the students are mesmerized, so are the viewers; the longing to become a wizard, receive their letter, and visit Hogwarts arises. This feeling only grows as we see more of the castle, its Great Hall, enchanted ceiling, moving staircases, animated portraits, and lurking mysteries.
One of the filming locations for Hogwarts was Alnwick Castle, situated in Northumberland, England. The castle itself features Harry Potter themed entertainment such as Broomstick Training, catering to the many fans who visit to catch a glimpse of Hogwarts. Of course the majority of Potterheads who don’t already live in the U.K. likely can’t go all the way to England just to visit the castle. They can, however, indulge themselves in more obtainable Harry Potter experiences, such as themed Harry Potter character birthdays complete with a Harry Potter birthday party entertainer and Harry Potter themed games.
3. The Relatable Characters
The movies show Harry’s point of view and his struggles as he grew older and the world around him became more complicated. The same is the fate of every child in this world. When they are as young as eleven, the world is as rosy and fun as the first movie was. As we see Harry and other characters try to navigate the struggles of various stages of life, children making the same transitions gain comfort and strength.
While average viewers and fans don’t have a nose-less evil wizard bent on ending their life, almost everyone can relate to the difficulties the characters face, such as loneliness, bullying, low confidence, abusive guardians, and so much more. The people who saw these characters valiantly fighting against these awful circumstances were undoubtedly filled with warmth and courage to face their own battles.
It’s likely that one reason Harry Potter themed parties are famous throughout all age groups is because the characters were positive symbols for kids growing up and incredibly relatable. While The Pure Imagination Party Company doesn’t offer Hogwarts characters, we do provide Wizarding Students available for hire to share their magical experiences and lessons with the children. These students arrive in character and speak in an authentic British or Scottish accent to provide an authentic experience, ensuring that the party lives up to every Potterhead’s wildest dreams.
4. The Golden Trio
The perfectly crafted characters and uncanny casting breathe life into the movie franchise. Undoubtedly, the golden trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione is one of the best parts of the movies. Harry and Ron hit it off on the train ride to Hogwarts, but it takes them fighting an ogre to befriend the clever Hermione. Together they navigate the struggles of friendship and grow as human beings.
Through facing challenges, the trio learns the importance of bravery, compassion, love, and friendship in life and how these virtues can elevate one to a better version of themselves. Viewers also realize what makes life meaningful through these movies.
Danial Radcliff, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson as Harry, Ron, and Hermione captured the hearts of audiences with their charm and uncanny resemblance to their characters. It is no surprise that their characters are highly popular among fans and at parties. Recently, the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special on HBO Max saw Danial, Rupert, and Emma reunite in the Gryffindor common room for a tear jerking reunion – reawakening the admiration of many fans who grew up with the characters and who may want to relive the Harry Potter experience through children of their own. So likely it’s not just kids seeking out a Harry Potter party entertainer for their birthdays, but their parents who are enthusiastic advocates of the franchise themselves and cultivating their children’s interests.
5. The Sorting Ceremony
Once new students arrive at Hogwarts, the infamous Sorting Hat is placed on each child’s head, judges their most prominent characteristics, and announces which of the four Hogwarts Houses is the appropriate house for them based on their personalities. Similar to astrology, each house aligns one of the four classical elements: Gryffindor is Fire, Hufflepuff is Earth, Ravenclaw is Air, Slytherin is Water. In some circumstances, the sorting hat will consider the child’s preferred house of choice. Sadly, our reality doesn’t include a Sorting Hat, but we can take the Hogwarts Sorting Experience to find out about our house. For those that want the real life experience, a few party character rental companies offer a Wizard School sorting ceremony similar in nature to the Hogwarts sorting experience, an important ritual considering how significant it is for young witches and wizards.
Hogwarts recognizes and awards wit, bravery, skills, and strength with house points. Each student takes pride in their Hogwarts house and strives to earn enough house points to bag the House Cup – a great honor. The opposing houses typically get quite competitive in their pursuit of winning the cup. Our Golden Trio, all belonging to the House of Gryffindor, were guilty of causing the loss of house points (much to the dismay of fellow Gryffindors), before ultimately redeeming themselves by earning double points through their displays of bravery and kindness throughout their adventures. While students are attached to their houses and work hard to earn points, we also see inter-house friendships, promoting camaraderie and compassion.
For parents wanting to immerse their kids in a similar experience through a Wizard Student party, Pure Imagination offers a fun and compelling Hat Ceremony in which each child present is sorted into a house, either at random or their choosing. After being sorted, each child receives a name tag with their respective house crest. With over 50 professional voice-overs for the hat, the ceremony is consistently a crowd favorite activity among young party attendees and old.
6. The Magical Adventures
The Harry Potter franchise takes us on one magical adventure after another in every movie. These adventures and challenges are what make the movies so captivating. How the characters will face these trials and come out victorious keeps the fans at the edge of their seats.
In the first movie, The Philosopher’s stone, we see Harry and the gang sneak past a three headed dog, survive a deadly chess match, and face off with Lord Voldemort. A thrilling start to the series that got most viewers hooked for the second installation. Since then, Harry has discovered hidden paths to a Secret Chamber, battled a dragon, fought a war, and defeated Voldemort, all with the help of his friends.
While the adventures in the movies are a thrill in their own right, it is unlikely for us mere muggles (non-wizarding people) to come across a fire breathing dragon. Harry Potter birthday parties are in part so popular because they’re able to so successfully recreate the feelings of magic and wonder through creative Harry Potter birthday party games. At Pure Imagination, Wizard School parties involve a selection of activities and games to choose from including themed charades and trivia competitions.
Quidditch is the most popular sport in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The exciting sport involves two teams consisting of 7 players each mounted on flying broomsticks. There are four balls in play, the quaffle, two bludgers, and a golden snitch. The game won’t end until the golden snitch is caught, and in fact there is reference to a three month long quidditch match. The team that catches the golden snitch wins 150 points but it doesn’t guarantee a win.
The magical game is highlighted within the movies with the Quidditch tournament in Hogwarts as well as the World Cup. Hagrid, a prominent and important character in the series, explains that wizards and witches are as crazy for quidditch as muggles are for soccer. The fictional game of Quidditch has proven so popular among die-hard fans, it has inspired regular real life “Muggle” Quidditch matches in Central Park, New York.
While Potterheads may not be able to literally fly off on a broomstick and catch the golden snitch, a little creativity can allow them to enjoy the fun of the game. Many who choose to host a Harry Potter themed birthday party can opt to include Quidditch as one of their Harry Potter party games. Pure Imagination offers “Wizards sports” as an activity option for kids to engage their imagination in an active and healthy way. While no broomsticks are involved, children get to enjoy the thrill of searching for the Snitch, dodging bludgers, and scoring goals with the Quaffle, all while learning about teamwork and sportsmanship.
8. The Exciting Classes
Harry, Ron, and Hermione might have loads of adventures but they still go to school and attend classes. And what fascinating classes they are. We see students attend classes to learn to fight as in Defense Against the Dark Art, take care of medicinal plants in Herbology and learn to brew intriguing potions in Potions class.
Students also learned to predict the elusive future in Divination, learn to change form in transformation, and learn to care for magical creatures. These aren’t your average muggle lectures, but rather they are full of enchanting knowledge. Alas, us muggles can’t attend the spell binding classes at Hogwarts. But on the bright side, we can use our own imagination and resources to get the most out of a Harry Potter themed birthday experience.
Pure Imagination Wizard School parties provide children with the chance to make their own mystifying potion with an array of ingredients like Lacewing Fly Wigs, Acromantula Venom, Draught of living death, Bubotuber pus, Flobberworm Mucus, Cornish Pixie Dust, and much more. Real ingredients include glitter, feathers, oil, water, etc. but each bottle has an authentic magical label. The children also get to decorate their very own magical label for the homemade potion and tell the “class” about their potion's magical properties.
In addition to a potions lesson at their Harry Potter themed birthday party, children also partake in a charms lesson when they learn to cast some of the most popular spells, like Stupefy, Expelliarmus, and Wingardium Leviosa. The class culminates in Wizard Duels, where children get to cast spells on their friends and perform for parents and guardians, which is always a crowd pleaser.
If you join Pure Imagination Education’s Wizard Camp, students also get to partake in a Divination Lesson where they predict their own future, a Care of Magical Creatures Lesson where they design their own magical creature, a Defense Against the Dark Arts class where they design their own Boggart and Patronus, and a Transfiguration lesson where they create their own animagus mask.
To check the availability of Pure Imagination’s Wizard Students or get the booking process started, fill out a contact form here.
9. Choosing Your Wand
What is a witch or wizard without their wand? They are an integral part of a wizard’s identity and their selection is considered a big deal. So, wand shopping at Diagon Alley is a must for every new wizarding student. We see in the movies how Harry tests out many wands before finding “the one”. However, we know that it is the wand that chooses the wizard. Wands are the wizard’s protection, weapon, and a key part of their identity.
As the wand maketh wizard, each Harry Potter party will include a wand selection ceremony from Pure Imagination, where magical effects occur until the birthday celebrant is chosen by the correct wand. At Pure Imagination Wizard School parties, we provide each witch and wizard with their wands and train them on proper usage. By the end of the event, the kids will know how to cast spells and the rules of a proper duel. We also offer the wands for purchase so that the new wizards can continue practicing their magic long after the Wizard Students have left.
The enchanting world of Harry Potter is just that, enchanting but also so much more. With thrilling adventures, captivating twists and turns, important life lessons, and a truly magical journey, it is no surprise why the Harry Potter theme party is all the rage.
The true heroes within the movies are the splendid characters, each with their own story and struggle. They are undoubtedly a source of inspiration for many different people going through the typical ups and downs of life, no matter how big or small they might be. Who wouldn’t love to have a Wizard at their party?
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is not offered by The Pure Imagination Party Company, but we do offer our own Wizard Student characters! Find out more about booking Wizard School parties here.