1. Ultimate Harry Potter Party: The Cauldron Shop

    October 31, 2013 ♥ Posted in: Food, Geek Events, Kristina Makes Things by Kristina Horner

    I’m sad to announce that this is the final entry in my Knockturn Alley party post series. The final shop we created in our living room was the Cauldron Shop, and it was made by my friend and roommate Eia Waltzer. I was super impressed with what she did with the theme – the only idea I really gave her was “fill cauldrons with food and drinks”. Great artistic direction, I know.

    But Eia is a creative mastermind, and she definitely made this corner of the party her own.


    It was pretty dark over in the Cauldron Shop, but that was purposeful. As you can see above, nearly everything in Eia’s shop glowed in the dark. She had, by far, the most popular drinks and snacks – but I’m not sure if that was due to her masterful cooking skills or the fact that we literally had a light up fountain.


    This fountain was one of my absolutely favorite party purchases. You can buy it for your next party here on Amazon, and it was really reasonably priced. We called this punch Amortencia, the love potion of the Harry Potter universe. They say Amortencia smells different to everyone who sniffs it; similarly, our Amortencia tasted different at various points of the night because it kept getting refilled with slightly different ingredients.

    Oh also, I don’t know how obvious it is – but those white things floating in the fountain are eyeballs. It just made sense.

    Both drinks at the Cauldron Shop came in punch bowls because, duh, they look like cauldrons. I don’t have a close up picture of it, but if you look at that first picture again you can see the glowing blue punch bowl on the left – that one held Unicorn’s Blood. The lights at the bottom were blue glow sticks. It was a mixture of blue Hawaiian punch and Whipped Vodka and it was delicious. Most party guests said it was their favorite.

    On to food! First up are these delicious wrapped hotdogs Eia lovingly named “Frankenweenies”:


    This is a terrible picture, I apologize – but that’s what you get when you try to photograph food in Knockturn Alley. The funny part about these little guys is that for two years now Eia has been calling these Frankenweenies… but it occurred to us this past weekend that there’s nothing “Franken” about them! They’re mummies! It’s too late though. The name has stuck, and they look creepy enough to be served at a dark wizard gathering, so they got to stay.


    I found these great little mini cauldrons at the local party store, so Eia fashioned her own version of Cauldron Cakes out of them: vanilla pudding died green, crumbled oreos, and gummy worms. Don’t pretend like that doesn’t sound AMAZING.


    I believe Eia’s greatest conquest to be these Pumpkin Pasties. She made those cake pops entirely by hand and they were wonderful. I really appreciated the unique approach to more “common” Harry Potter treats, and it was greatly appreciated amongst party guests.

    Now that I’ve shared the entire party on this blog, I’m curious what your favorite parts were? Which shop did you like the best, or did you prefer one of the other aspects of the party more? What was your favorite reference to Harry Potter?

    I can’t tell you how much fun we had planning this party. I feel like I’ve preparing for this party ever since I was 13 and started reading these books; ever since I first fell in love with Slytherin house. The night of the party will go down in history as one of my favorite events of all time, and I only wish I could have shared it with ALL of the Harry Potter friends I have made over the years.

    Thanks for following along as I recounted the experience, and I hope you’ve been inspired to throw your own themed parties. Themes parties are the best parties.

    Also, before I end this party series forever, I feel like it’s prudent to admit that somehow, a party guest dressed as DUMBLEDORE won the costume contest. No joke.

    I guess good really does always triumph over evil. Humph.

    Leave a comment!
  2. Ultimate Harry Potter Party: The Spiny Serpent

    ♥ Posted in: Food, Geek Events, Kristina Makes Things by Kristina Horner

    Hey guys! Rather than try to figure out her vision myself for this post, I figured it would be better to give you guys the real deal. I introduce to you my friend and roommate Liz Leo, the mastermind behind the Spiny Serpent portion of our Knockturn Alley party.

    Welcome, welcome to my shudderingly sinister shop the Spiny Serpent! Don’t be scared- step right this way…*


    The Spiny Serpent is home to all things creepy, crawly, and scaly. You simply can’t find stock like this anywhere else in the wizarding world. We have your spiders. We have your maggots. We have your miniature poison-egg-laying dragons (perfect for brunch with ex-boyfriends).


    A regular here at the Spiny Serpent, Mr. Dungeon Troll (his parents weren’t very original), once told me a story about how a pesky boy wizard stuck a wand up his nose when he was just trying to go to the bathroom during a Halloween party. We decided to honor his tale with a pretzel and dip delicacy (the dip featured here is cheese, as we ran out of real bogeys just moments ago).


    We have scores of dragons that lay all sorts of pernicious confections. Some eggs make perfect smoke bombs to be used for sneaky escapes. Others contain scrolls that predict the future. These- well these are chicken eggs that I hard boiled, gently cracked the shell, and soaked in red and black food coloring for a few hours- I tend to save the real dragon eggs for higher paying customers.


    Maybe window shoppers like yourself might be more interested in some dragon scales and goblin blood- only a knut a scoop. Our dragons shed like mad in the summer, so we sell the scales by the bag all autumn long. However in a pinch blue tortilla chips and verde salsa will get you through a dry spring.IMG_5431Finally, if you’re like me and you spend a large portion of your time wrestling giant flesh eating slugs away from your nursery of carnivorous shrubs, sprouts, and seedlings, then you’ll be needing this drink to take your mind off of your struggles. This “Flesh Eating Slug Repellant” features margarita mix spiked with tequila, limeade, and ginger ale- plus the salt around the rim will make sure the slugs don’t go for your flesh as well. (Oh, and please forgive our signage’s spelling error. Our house elf Winky must have gotten into the sauce before practicing her penmanship.)

    Hmmm- so you won’t be purchasing anything after all? I see how it is. I can’t say I’m surprised, as business here in Knockturn Alley is always slow- most people only tend to come here by an accidental sneeze anyway. Well, regardless, thank you kindly for visiting my shop. And in case you’ve found the ramblings featured here witty, waggish, or whimsical in any way please feel free to stop by my blog, where I’ve set up shop during the rest of the year. I’m sure I’ll see you again soon.*

    *cue ominous music

    Leave a comment!
  3. Utimate Harry Potter Party: Borgin & Burkes

    October 30, 2013 ♥ Posted in: Food, Geek Events, Kristina Makes Things by Kristina Horner

    The largest shop at our Halloween party was Borgin & Burkes, naturally, as it’s the only Knockturn Alley shop we really know anything about. For some reason our house has a built-in bar, so we designed this shop around it. Technically it was assigned to my roommate Justin, but it was more a collaboration between all of us.


    The idea was to have food in the front, and a museum of artifacts “for sale” in the back.


    Each of the dark artifacts had a tag on it with the name and a price. Some were things we happened to have sitting around the house already (like the books and creepy picture frame and hourglass) while others we either purchased specifically for the event (ie. George’s ear) or entirely made from scratch.


    This hand of glory was made by my roommate Liz. She worked on it for days, creating the entire thing out of popsicle sticks, hot glue, paper mache, acrylic paint and wax. You can read her hilarious and disturbing tutorial here. The red display pillow we happened to find at a consignment store on the same day as the party, which was exactly the sort of luck we kept running into throughout most of the party-planning process.


    Eia created this pensieve. The concoction inside is a mixture of almond milk, blue food coloring that we took care not to mix too thoroughly, and fine glitter. If you create a pensieve for your own party, please make sure your guests don’t confuse it with another punch bowl!

    Next up were the food and drinks for Borgin & Burkes. We went pretty dark with everything at this station, which was surprisingly fun for creating snacks. Every party needs chips and dip, so that was an easy one.


    One of my all time favorite party foods is stuffed mushrooms, which are inherently creepy looking. Those were a hit and instantly fit at the Borgin & Burkes spread. I forgot to put a tag on these ones, but I thought they looked a bit like mandrakes:


    And finally, the drinks. No wizard party would be complete with Firewhiskey, and I also really wanted to create a drink for Draught of Living Death:


    The firewhiskey was just Fireball whiskey (no use making it more complicated than it needed to be), while the Draught of Living Death was a bit more on the fancy side. We used drop shot cups with cranberry juice on the outside, and black Blavod vodka on the inside. It’s pure black! It absolutely had that creepy, foreboding look – but was quite popular with the guests.

    I really loved that our party guests all took the time to walk through and take in the detail we put into each shop, and Borgin & Burkes was definitely the most exciting one for crafts and artifacts. I love the scene in Chamber of Secrets when Harry mistakenly ends up here and wanders through some of the creepier things on display, so we wanted to try and recreate that feeling. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and stay tuned for the remaining two shops!

    Leave a comment!
  4. Ultimate Harry Potter Party: Apothecary

    ♥ Posted in: Food, Geek Events, Kristina Makes Things by Kristina Horner

    The first shop from our Knockturn Alley party that I am going to highlight is the Apothecary – which is the one I made! I have always loved Halloween spreads that include a bunch of creepy glass jars and vials, so I called dibs on this one to give that idea a wizardy potion bottle twist. Here’s what I came up with:


    My shop focused a bit more on decorations than most of the others; I wanted to give the table the illusion of a pretty tea party that wilted and rotted after years of neglect. I was able to use a lot of things we already had in our house, actually. The tattered bunny was a leftover prop made for a costume I wore to a horror movie party, the doll with the bleeding eyes was actually Liz’s from the dinner party we went to last week. My favorite prop made specifically for this party, however, was the “doll in a jar”. I was inspired by watching a few two many episodes of American Horror Story:


    The candy wands were kind of an afterthought, to be honest. I bought a tin of Pirouettes because they have that tea party feel, and realized as I was setting them out that they could double as wands. That’s the fun of throwing a themed party like this: the Harry Potter universe is so expansive that it’s really fun and easy to tie in just about anything.

    Keeping up with crafts, here’s the array of potion bottles I made:


    You’d be amazed how much of this stuff is entirely normal household items! From left to right we have sliced peaches in a light syrup, then the Eye of Newt bottle has yellow dyed water with sugar babies at the bottom to look like eyes. Next the fancier bottle has chopped up cauliflower stems in blue dyed water, and the Dragon Blood vial is simply Orange Crush soda. Second to last is an actual non-edible slime mixture, and finally the largest jar has cauliflower stalks and beef broth (which I thought looked a bit like cat brains).

    Now that you’re good and hungry (haha) let’s move on to food!


    These pastries ended up being kind of a mistake, but they worked out just fine in the end and were delicious as well! I meant to make little pastry purses but they all ended up opening while they were baking. That was just fine though – I thought the blueberries wedged inside the flaky casing made them look like a sort of poisonous plant, so Venoumous Tentacula they became!


    I was quite proud of the drinks at my shop: This first one came in these lovely test tube vials and were dubbed Veritaserum. The potion is always described as colorless, but I still wanted to do something fun with it, so I created a raspberry vodka and tonic water mixture (because tonic water reacts under blacklights). You can’t quite tell in this picture, but these drinks were a perfect addition to the glow theme at the party (and were quite popular for it). You can get the test tubes and rack here on Amazon.

    Next up was the Polyjuice Potion. I was quite proud of this one:


    Just short of putting actual bits of things in the shots (no one wants to drink anything that has pieces of hair or fingernails in it, even on Halloween) we wanted to create a texture that still looked chunky enough to be Polyjuice Potion. These jello shots were a labour of love, creating three different colors of jello and spooning them into the cups separately after letting them firm up a bit. I used this recipe as a guide (though as cooking usually goes, they turned out a bit differently).

    Needless to say, the Polyjuice Potion was another popular item during the party, though we did hear they were quite strong. Whoops!

    So, that was the Apothecary! There are still three more shops to feature, so please look out for those. I’m more than curious to hear your thoughts, and let me know if you’d like the recipes for any of the food items mentioned above!

    Leave a comment!