Planning the party~
Invites: With some input from my daughter, I decided to buy some cute Harry Potter clipart on etsy to use to make invitations. Buying just the clipart and designing my own invitations was less expensive than buying a set of invites/decorations. I liked having more control over it as well. It took a little bit of time, but I think it came out pretty well. Buying the clipart also gave me the freedom to use the images for other things like the food tags and goody bag logos. The back side of the invites said "Come spend a day at Hogwarts to celebrate Jaide's 8th birthday (date, time, address) After classes, we will celebrate with a feast of treats in the great hall. We await your owl by no later than July 14th or RSVP by muggle phone or email (our phone number and email)"
Wands: A long time ago, I read online the idea of making wands filled with glitter. I bought some cute paper straws in a few of the Hogwarts' house colors. It would have been cooler if I could have found red and gold striped straws, but these ones worked just fine. I had some special helpers, three of my sister in laws, to assemble the wands the night before the party. The method we came up with for making the wands was to wad up a small piece of tissue paper, dip it in mod podge and stuff it in one end of the straw. Once that dried, we used a piece of paper rolled up like a funnel to fill them up with glitter. When the kids chose their wands, they gave it a shake and out came the glitter! We had some fun testing it out the night before.
What I'd do differently
I should have done more in advance (we were a bit busy with the family reunion right before). Most of the preparations got left until the night before or morning before. I was very lucky to have family here to help. If I'd had a little more time, I might have made a few more decorations.
striped paper straws- http://sweetsandtreatsboutique.com/
clip art- etsy
free harry potter fonts http://members.outpost10f.com/~lindax/harrypotter/fonts.html