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By Shereen Travels Cheap
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Happy Birthday, Harry Potter! Part 1

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This year has been full of disappointments and a very small light at the end of a very long tunnel. We’ve found ways to enjoy what we have and what we can do safely, which is not traveling or going to movies (not that they’re open anyway) or out to eat. Back in March, when I realized this was going to go on for much longer than most people expected, I started re-planning my annual Harry Potter party to work online. By the time you read this, the party will be in full swing.

In a normal year, we have 20-30 people (once we had more) packed into our backyard, wearing their wizard best. I make foods that have been mentioned in the book and focus around a theme. Last year we did Weasleys Wizard Wheezes and the year before that we did Triwizard Tournament. This is our 7th year, so we have done many other themes: Quidditch World Cup, Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade…This year was supposed to be Hogwarts Goes Hawaiian, but with our change in plans, we loosened it up to make it easier for people to do at home and we’re simply calling it Quarantine Edition and it will take place in the Great Hall (the only summer party we have had inside). 

There was no way we were going to postpone or even skip our party this year, because I love Harry and my other HP fan friends look forward to this all year (because I start planning and hyping it up as soon as our last party is done). I’ve cut down the party time from 3 to 2 hours – having to sit on your computer for 3 hours is terrible – and adjusted games for time and what can be played easily individually, but still play for House Points, so there will still be a sense of team. Our trivia will be via interactive slideshow designed for virtual pub quizzes. 

To make things more exciting, we’ll still have prizes, including ones for a costume contest. I still want people to look forward to dressing up. I’ve also taken a lot of photos and videos inside my house – decorated like Hogwarts – so everyone can still enjoy decorations as well. It also gives my friends who don’t live near me the ability to attend a party, too.

Since you can’t have a party without a feast, I still made a menu. Eric and I will have have a mini feast to celebrate, with accompanying Butterbeer. 

Usually, I gather cool magical items all year and then we sell raffle tickets for things and all the proceeds go to the Harry Potter Alliance, but since that just doesn’t make much sense this year, we are just doing a straight up fundraiser for them. 

House Cup winners will either get a prize bag via Owl Post or this little owl will drop them off on their doorstep after they are assembled. Basically, I’ll just be waiting to see which house wins in order to make a House Cup memento for them to go with the other prizes I already have lined up.

Everyone gets sorted at my parties, so we have a sorting board this year.

I’ll be spending the rest of today going through pics and video, so I can bring you actual party posts, including costumes, food, drinks, and games. The Harry Potter Alliance is doing lots of online celebrating for Harry’s birthday: My local chapter, HPA Instagram, HPA YouTube.

Just because we’re in a pandemic, doesn’t mean everything is cancelled. We just have to find creative ways to make things happen. We can still have fun, safely.

Are you planning any non-traditional celebrations, Harry Potter or otherwise?

Want to read more tips for traveling worldwide on a budget? Check out my blog at Shereen Travels Cheap or find me on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll also find product and website suggestions, packing tips, current deals and a whole lot more to help you travel better for less!


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