This year's theme was -- yes, you guess it -- Harry Potter. Kyra had quite the adventure planned for party guests. We of course started with the Sorting Ceremony. Here's Zoo Boy being told by the Sorting Hat that he's been put into Gryffindor House.
(A quick note: my boys are entirely unfamiliar with Harry Potter. But that didn't diminish their fun one iota -- if anything, I think they had more fun because they really had no idea what was awaiting them around each corner of this adventure.)
The headmaster told us that before they could be welcomed properly into Hogwarts, they needed to help solve a mystery first. It seems a baby basilisk was loose in the castle and had kidnapped Severus Snape. He had last been seen in the Charms classroom, so off they went, warned first by Professor McGonagal that they needed to wear ear protection so that the cries of the Mandrake plant didn't kill them. They searched the classroom with cotton balls stuffed in their ears, and found pieces to a puzzle that they then assembled and discovered they needed to prepare a restorative before facing the basilisk.
So off to the Potions Laboratory in the dungeon, where they mixed their potions and discovered the rest of the puzzle pieces to find out how to defeat a basilisk:
But uh oh, they hadn't received their magic wands yet! It was off to Divination in the attic, where they gazed into the crystal ball (which was too crowded to get a photo of, unfortunately) and discovered that their wands were in the Forbidden Forest, guarded by giant spiders. Bummer!
That's OK, our students are brave! So off to the forbidden forest where they needed to work patiently together to untangle the spider's web (without breaking any threads, which would have awakened the giant spider and brought him down upon them). When they got to the end of their threads, there was their very own wand, made for them specially by Olivander!
Now they were ready to face the Basilisk and save Professor Snape! They rechecked their solved puzzle for the proper spell and practiced incanting "Draco Timoris!" Then it was off to the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom! Wands raised, they entered the smoke-filled room, shouted their spell, and killed the basilisk! Then they gave the restorative potion to Snape and he recovered instantly. Success!!
In a ceremony formally welcoming the new 1st year students to Hogwarts, they were each given a Book of Spells and a Quill. (Here's a delighted J receiving his.) They then all dashed off to jot the basilisk-killing spell in their books before they forgot it!
Then it was time for a clever, active game of Quidditch until their welcoming banquet was ready to be served.
(Seriously, Kyra, you are a MARVEL!!!)
My kids have talked of nothing else since, and are absolutely treasuring their wands, spell books, and quill pens.
I don't see how Kyra is going to top this one. But she will. She always does. She's Kyra!