I saw this blog post on Pinterest a few months ago and I knew I just had to start this tradition with my own family. We made it a goal to read the first two Harry Potter books together this summer (we actually made it through the first three!) and I thought it would be really fun to do a Harry Potter themed back to school dinner. Going to school is such a huge deal for Harry, so it fit perfectly!
Now to choose a theme/motto/quote to focus on for the year. That was tough. I am a big admirer of the Harry Potter series and I think it's full of inspiring lessons. I finally settled on this quote from 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire': "We must all make the choice between what is right and what is easy" by Dumbledore. This applies in a lot of situations, but I specifically want to emphasize to my children that sometimes it is easier to sit back and say nothing, but the right choice is to stand up for others (this quote by Edmund Burke fits here as well: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.")
So, with all that decided, I set out to recreate the start of term feast in the Great Hall of Hogwarts!
I hung white tapers (2/$1 at the Dollar Tree) from the ceiling fan with fishing line. Tempe and Helena were so amazed, they wondered if I really was magic (until they got close enough to see the fishing line).
I drew the Marauder's Map on a big piece of butcher paper for the table runner, then set the table with gold paper plates (also from the Dollar Tree), glass goblets, and some Hogwarts inspired decorations.
Everybody had a handmade menu and a golden snitch (Ferrero Rocher) at their table setting. The menu has an illustration of Hogwarts from the first book that I scanned and added to the top of the menu and I downloaded the Parry Hotter font--I know you can't see those details, but I had to share them!
We managed to not spill too much food on the Marauder's Map, so now it's hanging in our playroom under the stairs!
This quote is now hanging over the girls' backpack pegs in my garage mudroom. Jason taught a little lesson and shared a few scriptures as we talked about our theme for the year. I hope that they will look at the frame each day as they leave for school and remember what we talked about!
The dinner was a huge success! Here they are toasting the new school year.
Our menu was all variations on food mentioned in the books: Chicken and ham pie, roast carrots, raspberry pretzel Jell-O, pumpkin juice (with lightning bolt shaped ice cubes!!), and chocolate eclair cake. But instead of house-elves, I prepared it all myself!