Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last in the popular movie series based on the books opens tomorrow. Many fans will of course rush out at midnight tonight, and be filling movie theater seats all weekend long, but if you'd like to avoid the crowds (or tickets are already sold out), why not sit back and host your own trip to Hogwarts over the weekend? These ideas could all be fleshed out and work well for a Harry Potter themed birthday party later on as well. 

1. Entertainment The obvious choices for a Harry Potter party are a magician and a palm reader. We've also heard of people bringing in an animal act for a "Care of Magical Creatures" class, just like in the books. Because time is short, you'll want to start your party planning here, find out when the entertainment is available, and plan the rest of your activities around that. Having professional entertainment will make even the most last minute party seem well thought out!

2. Invitations Since you don't have time to buy invitations, make them yourself. Simply write up a normal invitation in Word, add on a picture of Hogwart's, Harry or your favorite character, print it on black paper, add some gold glitter glue and then roll it into a scroll, tied with a ribbon. Voila, instant magical invitation. Of course, you can also save time by using the magic of the Internet and sending an Evite.

3. Activities Although we're generally against having a TV on at a party, for this sort of party you can run the earlier movies in the background on a low volume. You could also asks guests to dress as their favorite character and have a costume parade or contest for the best last minute costume. For an outdoors event, host your own game of real world Quidditch, with these instructions from Better Homes and Gardens. Or if that seems too complicated,  find a dragon piñata and host your own "Defense against the Dark Arts" class by beating the poor thing!

4. Food and Drink There are tons of sites with complicated Harry Potter recipes, but for this last minute party, keep snakcs simple. You can make your own delicious "Butterbeer" by combining ginger ale or cream soda with butterscotch syrup. For adults, a classic Seven & Seven (Seagram's 7 and 7 Up) can stand in for Butterbeer. If your local candy store doesn't have chocolate frogs or snakes, make your own by using cookie cutters on chocolate cookies. Have bowls of Jelly Beans on hand in different flavors to stand in for Bertie Bott's Jelly Beans.

5. Decorations Luckily, the four "Houses" of Hogwarts all have primary colors as their colors, so you don't have to rush out and buy special decorations. Use Red, Yellow, Green and Blue as your main colors for plates and other decorations. Anything with a "magical feel" such as hats or even brooms will add to the feel of the party.

What other quick ideas did we miss for a magical party? Let us know in the comments! Whether you're planning a last minute party, or have months to go, check out our Kids' Party page for more great ideas and entertainment tips.