1. Ultimate Harry Potter Party: Apothecary

    October 30, 2013 ♥ 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:

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    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:

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    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:

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    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!

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    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!

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    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:

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    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!

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  2. Ultimate Harry Potter Party: Knockturn Alley

    October 29, 2013 ♥ Posted in: Geek Events, Journal, Kristina Makes Things by Kristina Horner

    So, I have been hinting about this online for weeks – but my roommates and I have beenย tirelesslyย working on an epic Halloween party we threw at our house. I’m talking party committee meetings, organized shopping trips, and scheduled craft nights. We host a Halloween party every year, but this year… we went ALL out. Being a house full of Harry Potter fanatics, we decided it was time to give our party the ultimate theme: Knockturn Alley.

    Upon arriving at our house, the first thing guests were greeted by was this flaming fireplace doorway and bucket of Floo powder. Our door is naturally lime green, so it felt only right that it would be connected to the Floo network. Wizards could shout “Knockturn Alley!” and throw a handful of sand, while unassuming muggles would mispronounce Diagon Alley as “Digonelly!” and show up in the same place.

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    Once inside, all guests were encouraged to put their name in the Goblet of Fire. We didn’t tell them why initially (just that they might be “chosen”), then random times throughout the night my roommate Justin (dressed as Voldemort) shown a dark mark symbol on the ceiling and drew names of guests from the goblet.

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    These selected guests would then become Death Eaters and would receive a green wrist band. Guests with wrist bands got special treatment (ie. prizes) throughout the evening.

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    To get down to where the party was, party-goers were encouraged to follow the spiders. A trail of spiders led all the way down the stairs, down the next hallway and into the living room.

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    Then in the living room, we created the illusion of the dark and creepy Knockturn Alley by covering everything in black tablecloths and shining a green floodlight across the room. Each corner had a separate “shop” with its own sign, theme, decor, food and beverages. The four shops we chose were actual ones from Knockturn Alley: of course we had Borgin and Burkes; this was the main and largest shop that took place at our built in bar. Next was the Spiny Serpent (which we know very little about from the books) so we turned it into a bestiary. The Cauldron Shop was next, which had food and drinks of and pertaining to all things cauldron-related. The final shop was the Apothecary, which mostly had interesting drinks as well as an assortment of creepy potion inspired decorations.

    I will have blog posts up about each of these individual shops in the next couple of days (that I will eventually link to from this post) so please keep an eye out for that!

    My favorite aspect of this party was that everything was supposed to be dark, creepy, and relatively colorless. Except, of course, for the drinks (to represent potions, and a wizard party, of course). We installed four black-lights around the living room, and used UV reactant cups as well as flashing plastic “ice cubes” for the drinks, so once guests started mingling and dancing and drinking, it kind of turned into a dark wizard rave. The image of a dark, foggy room filled with people in fantastic dark wizard costumes with only glowing drinks for lights was a pretty intense, amazing visual theme for the party; one I am quite proud of. It worked even better than we could have planned.

    There’s so much more I want to share but I will save it for the next blog posts; in closing I will leave you with the creepiest aspect of the party: the bathroom.

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    Maybe it’s the Slytherin in me (sorry guys – newly sorted Hufflepuff or no, there will always be an element of Slytherin in my bones) but I really wanted to make people regret going to the bathroom. So we did this to our shower:

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    I tied it in by saying the brain was one from the Department of Mysteries… but even I’ll admit that was a stretch. I just wanted to freak people out.

    It was a fantastic night, everyone seemed to have a lot of fun, and I was so thankful for all of the help I had in pulling it off. My roommates were absolutely amazing in helping get everything ready, as were a handful of my friends who came over early to help us finish setting up.

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    My roommates! Liz as a shop keeper, Justin as Voldemort, myself as Narcissa and Eia as the Grey Lady.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever throw a party quite this grand ever again, but I’m pleased to be able to check it off my list. I don’t know if other people have thrown Death Eater or Knockturn Alley parties before but we had so much fun scouring the books for ideas. I’m curious to know your thoughts, as I know many of the people who read my blog are also huge Harry Potter fans! How did we do?

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