Thursday, December 22, 2011

Calling all Potterheads: I need your help.

My goat rodeo this past Halloween.  

We're trying desperately to throw together a surprise trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for this winter, when our twins will be 9 and 3/4.  

I'm putting out a call for help from my fellow Potterheads.  Assuming it all works out (knock on wood), how do we tell the girls?  I plan to not tell them until we're either on our way or the day before we leave.  How do we do that, though?

I've seen invitations for HP-themed parties delivered by balloons decorated to look like owls.  I could do something like that (although, rather than scrolls, I'd probably have them holding envelopes addressed to the girls and their specific room and beds, like Hogwarts' letters).   I could arrange to have those at the front door and ring the bell.  

What about in the van? We could get everything ready the night before (luggage packed and hidden in the back of the van), then just tell the kids we're going out, file into the van and find balloon owls in the girls' seats with letters addressed to them.  Maybe we'll splurge and buy cute stuffed owls.

I'd love some other ideas.  So, fellow HP-fans, what do you think?    

We've never taken a family vacation (deployments made that impossible), so we really want to make the most of this.

FWIW my girls each wrote essays to the Ellen show's call for adventure ideas asking for Harry-themed adventures.  One (Luna in the picture) asked Ellen to reunite her and the friends she had to leave behind when we moved at the WWOHP.  The other (Hermione in the picture) asked Ellen to send us to Kings Cross station when she and her sister turn 9 and 3/4 and have Jo Rowling meet us there so that my girls could present her with an award for "Being the best writer in the world and the whole universe."

We never heard back from Ellen, so we decided to take matters into our own hands and do what we could.

9:17 pm edit:  What about a scavenger hunt?  We could leave clues that lead them to Harry-related things and maybe eventually to the van where the letters will be waiting in their seats.

The picture is from Halloween.  You can read more about our costumes here.  


  1. Definitely message me when you are coming down and I'll drive over to visit with you all.

  2. Oh, we definitely need to see you too. I really hope we can work this out because this will be a blast. We desperately need a family vacation and I'm dying to see everyone out there.

  3. Hi, I saw a link to this post on Pinterest -- I've a complete newbie to your blog :) I've seen the balloon owls before, and they're adorable. If you think it'll be too tough to make the owls a complete surprise (or if they'll be sad to leave them in the van at the airport), you could just bring the letters with the day's mail in a stack in the car and pretend like you're just looking through, feigning surprise when they all have letters addressed to them. You could also make sort of a guessing game out of it by packing a bag of things they'll need that relate to Harry Potter but that they might not immediately guess (chocolate to fight off dementors, feathers as quills, a little sealed jar with green glitter in like floo powder, fake gold coins with Gs on them for galleon, etc... then finally the wands from their costumes.) If you do the scrolls, though, you can easily age paper by putting it on a cookie sheet with a little bit of water and a tea bag. Let it steep a bit to get good color, then remove from the water and allow to dry. You can also roll it around something for a smooth, rolled scroll appearance when it's partially dry, letting it finish around the broom handle or whatever you rolled it around. You can also download the Harry Potter lightning bolt letters font for free from ( and print your letters right onto the aged paper -- they'll look really authentic and awesome.

  4. Ohhh, I like the guessing game idea. That's something we could definitely do.

    I wondered about putting the letters in the mailbox and having the kids get them when they get the mail. Our mail isn't usually delivered until the afternoon, though, and most of the flights we're looking at leave early. So that's something I'd have to do the day before. We couldn't do it the day of.

  5. OH my goodness you're so fun! I'm an uber-HP fan too. Can you believe I haven't seen the final movie yet? I should have my fan card revoked. I guess I'm kind of saving it . . .

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. If you're new to a new town, you'll like Rachel's book for sure. Though having kids and a school to connect with will help tons. (I think.)


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