Welcome back to Totally Lit Parties, a feature in which Corrie shows you how to throw YA-themed parties!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them might have started as a field guide, but it’s now a major motion picture. I’m a sucker for pretty much everything in the Harry Potter universe (I once threw a Harry Potter baby shower where we threw name suggestions into a Goblet of Fire), so this was begging to be a Totally Lit Party.
Printable business cards can make for fun DIY invitations! Print the invites as sets of two: one card being the actual invite and the other a response. Keep the pair connected side by side for delivery (i.e., do not snap apart on the perforated line separating the two cards). The invitee can then send back just the response portion while keeping the easily pocketable details for themselves.
Front of invitation, with both halves intact
Details and response cards
A few words of caution: the downloadable template provided by the card manufacturer might not be completely compatible with all printers, so printing a test page is recommended. Secondly, plan properly so that the cards are printed correctly. I made more than one invite that I tossed because it took a bit to get them right; I had several with the wrong back sides, and once, I even had it print upside down. In the end, they were totally worth it; everyone thought they were the cat’s meow.
What to Wear
The Fantastic Beasts movie is set in 1926, and the fashion from that era is the bee’s knees -- totally party style inspiration! By 1926, Art Nouveau was out and Art Deco was in. Fashion was firmly into down-playing the bust and hips, and men's styles (including hair) became more popular with women.
For ladies, low-waisted dresses and shift dresses were always a safe bet. Cloche hats, knife pleated skirts, and even sweater/skirt set were stylish choices. Women also started wearing breeches and, of course, cut their hair into bobs.
Men would wear wide pants called Oxford bags, as well as bowler hats. They wore pinstripe suits, and a double-breasted vest with a single-breasted (often 3-button) jacket was considered a very stylish combo. For formal occasions, many still wore top hats.
• Gotta Catch ‘Em: Pokémon GO is all about fantastic beasts and where to find them. Gather a group to check out a new area of town or take over a gym together. Don't forget to give magical names to your newest catches!
• Beastly Journal: Record your adventures in a homemade journal! Beyond providing a notebook for each guest, materials can vary. For an academic look, create a cover with scrapbook paper. For something that resembles the beasts being hunted, check out the fabric aisle for fake fur or leather (my full tutorial can be found here).
• Get Wild: Go to the nearest zoo, aquarium, or natural history museum to learn about actual fantastic beasts. For virtual fun, this website will transfigure you into a fantastic beast and teach you about animals! Pretty cool!
• Wand-erful: Every self-respecting witch or wizard must have a wand that reflects themselves. Fortunately, making a wand is easy! You will need:
- Chopsticks, or cut dowel rod
- Hot glue
Create a design on the wand with hot glue: spirals, lines, or anything else that comes to mind -- there's no wrong way to go about it! Add beads or other found items to the wand, making sure they are well glued. Once the glue dries, you’re ready to paint! Layer colors, leave some of the wood showing through, or do whatever you want to make it yours! (A little glitter wouldn’t go amiss, either.)
• Watch It: Obviously, one of the options for this party is to check out the movie with your friends. Make it extra special by dressing up!
Real McCoy Activities
• Miniature Golf: Miniature golf became a fad in the '20s. Head out to your local green, or create a course in your home or yard. Bonus points if you incorporate a fantastical, magical twist! (Quidditch mini golf, anyone?)
• Dance it Out: Dancing was a common pastime, so learn how to Charleston and foxtrot. The Texas Tommy, also known as the Lindy Hop and the precursor to modern swing, was also popular, but it can be difficult to learn without an instructor. Nevertheless, learn some new moves and show just how rebellious you can be to all those Mrs. Grundys.
• Mystical, Magical: Séances were very popular in the 1920s, and magician Harry Houdini made a point of debunking them as often as possible. He even belonged to the Scientific American committee that put up a prize for any medium who could prove their supernatural powers; none succeeded. After Houdini's death in 1926, his wife held an annual séance for a decade, asking for a prearranged phrase to prove his presence. She gave up when proof never came, reportedly saying that “ten years is long enough to wait for any man”. For a truly jake night, try your hand at contacting the dead through a medium, Ouija board, or other means.
Tasty Business and Boozy Beverages
Drinking was serious business in the '20s, so open your own speakeasy with these Harry Potter-themed cocktails, like Felix Felicis in corked bottles for when guests are in need of liquid luck. If you’re feeling crafty, make a cute bottle label like this one and include a recipe card as a party favor.
For food, presentation and style are key. Concoct a culinary adventure by matching a few fantastic beasts to appropriate local cuisines, with descriptive placards detailing the beast and the delectable. The food itself can be made to look more beastly, too: piece together a scale pattern with crackers, arrange red and yellow pepper strips to look like fire, or transform grapes into 'eyeballs' with a food pen. Furry placemats and a little bit of fog or dry ice are also great touches for creating a beastly atmosphere.
Do you have any other Fantastic Beasts-themed party ideas? Let us know in the comments!
Corrie Golando lives in Winslow, Arizona, with her husband and two greyhounds. She spent 10 years as a middle school/high school English teacher, and her students gave her a love for all things YA. When she's not working at the high school library, she is writing fanfiction and doing something crafty. She has a love of all things coated in glitter, much to her husband's horror.