Cub Scouts: Harry Potter Blue & Gold

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better.

– JK Rowling

I love that quote because it reminds me very much of Lord Robert Baden-Powell’s quote “Look wide, and even when you think you are looking wide – look wider still.” Does that make BP the Dumbledore of Scouting or JK the greatest Scout Leader to ever serve at Hogwarts? Perhaps both.

From the moment I became a mother, I knew magic was real. The imagination of a child is a truly special gift; world after world of possibility. When you delve into the imagination of a child and find ways to spark their creativity or surprise them with something truly special, you earn yourself that Dumbledore level status and create memories they will treasure forever.

Blue and Gold is the perfect opportunity to lead by example and open the door to creativity and, yep, magic.

Is this NOT the theme you’re looking for? Check out my Star Wars Blue & Gold post and visit my Pinterest Board for out of this world ideas! Maybe ye want more of a swashbuckling adventure. Check out my Pirates of the Caribbean Blue & Gold post and Pinterest Board!

What Is A Blue & Gold Banquet?

The tradition of the Blue & Gold Banquet is to celebrate the anniversary of Scouting in February. Consider it a birthday party that focuses heavily on the success of your Pack with a nod to the BSA’s anniversary (February 8th)! It’s an opportunity for the Pack to get together to celebrate the Scouts and their accomplishments, and to thank adult leadership and parent volunteers. Because it’s a banquet, there’s food! And because it’s a Scouting event, there’s fun.

Some units use the February event as a goal post for rank advancement. In most cases, leadership aims to use the banquet as their deadline for completing rank requirements and spend the rest of their Scouting year working on additional electives, special awards, and more.

Planning a Blue & Gold Banquet

Baden-Powell taught us to “Be Prepared”, and the key to a great B&G is to plan early and well.

Your Pack committee meets over the summer to set a budget, so knowing how much is set aside for this event is the very first step in your planning process. It should also be determined during that planning period exactly who will coordinate the event; is it a leader that was eager to step up at your meeting OR do you assign it to a specific den? In our Pack, we assign the B&G to our Bear Den (which is why we’ve had a carnival theme time and again). Assigning this particular event to a specific den works well because rising Bear families know that it’s coming and can assist or take notes from previous years to help make their event a success.

A good plan requires a good planner. I created a Harry Potter Blue & Gold Planner (DOC) that I printed out and put directly into a binder. I began assigning specific duties to people early in the new Scouting year, maintaining an electronic copy of the planner that I shared with them regularly. As you work through your planner, build a punchlist for Friday and Saturday. That punchlist should include everything from rolls of tape to the talent.

As you work through your planner, you’ll need to send your families a Save the Date email early. Generate some excitement by going with the Harry Potter theme! Our Save the Date came in the form of a printed Hogwarts Acceptance Letter (DOC) that doubled as a table seating designation AND a “House” assignment that was referenced on the Evite as part of the buffet assignments. We printed it on parchment paper and sealed it with sealing wax for glue guns and the official Hogwarts seal stamp. You can also purchase wax seal stickers and use those in place of the hot wax.

You’ll also want to put together an Evite Invitation with event details, including which dens are responsible for what food items. Our banquet is always a buffet-style affair with dishes brought by families to help feed the crowd. We provide the protein, rolls, and some sides. Here’s what our Harry Potter Evite invitation looked like.

Printables and Decorations

You’ll want to start working on printed materials and decorations next. A program of events is more than just a great way to let families know what to expect and when to expect it, it’s also a keepsake of your banquet. I created a Harry Potter Program (PUB) that can be printed on both sides of one sheet of paper and simply folded in half. Make sure you download these fonts to use with all of your printed materials.

We decided early that our Fellowship Hall would be transformed into the Hogwarts Great Hall, but we also wanted to follow some of the story line so Scouts could get the real HP experience. Our decorations started out in the foyer and stairway to the Great Hall!

Scouts entered through Platform 9 3/4 complete with the luggage trunk and owl in a cage. Once inside, they were officially students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

We used a LOT of scene setters for our decor.

Harry Potter is so popular that you likely own yourself or know someone who owns some HP swag. Reach out to your friends, family, and neighbors to see who has something you can borrow for the event. I’m sure you know dozens of people who own a lighted deer that you could use to represent Harry’s patronus. We lucked out that a local art studio hosted an HP themed art camp each summer and had framed photos, the Sorting Hat, potions and brews, furs, and more that we were welcomed to borrow. In return, we donated some of our homemade decorations back to the art studio for use at their summer camp. Textbook back scratching!

We made our own floating candles using a tutorial on EPBOT, but you can also purchase LED taper candles and hang them using fishing line. They are one of those details that go a long way, especially if you dim the lights to set the Great Hall mood.

Your guest tables have to make a statement. I’ve used 84-inch round tablecloths from Crown Table three years in a row now and will not buy another brand. They’re great quality at a great price and come in lots of colors. We went with Emerald Green, Navy Blue, Red, and Yellow (House colors) and coordinated the tables with the Acceptance Letter designations. Slytherin were all at green tables, for instance. To make our lives a little easier, we wrapped clear plastic cutlery in black paper napkins and tied them with sparkly twine. These utensil rolls serve two purposes; to spare families from having to juggle utensils and dinner plates, and to keep everyone a little healthier during flu season. Kids love to touch all the utensils if they’re just out in a basket.

Each table was set with utensil rolls, printed programs, and table tents (PUB) with their designated House and table number.

Our awards bags were a lot of fun to make. We used mini treat bags from Oriental Trading to hold their awards and treats.

We also created what we now call the Packie Awards, a series of trophies that we make to thank our adult volunteers for holding special positions like Popcorn Kernel, Committee Roles, event coordinators, and more. Because we were celebrating HP style, we went with Golden Snitches!

These are made from foam balls, feathers, small wooden dowels, plastic punch cups, and star confetti… all of which were purchased at our local dollar store. I hot glued everything together and sprayed with gold paint I had on hand. The blue tags were personalized with the volunteers name and thanked them for making it a magical year.

Don’t forget ambiance! Dim the lights and provide your guests with a little music that matches the theme. For this banquet, we used several versions of Hedwig’s Theme from the HP movie intros. You can purchase them on iTunes or stream from several websites if you have the capability of using the Internet at your venue. Harry Potter Sounds Ambient Mixer is beyond cool, but pricey.

Diagon and Knockturn Alley Build-Out

I like to channel my creativity into a fun photo backdrop each year that levels up the entire decorating effort. I dove so deep into Pinterest that I was begging for a little bit of Neville’s Gillyweed. After days of research, I found exactly what I was looking for – a Diagon and Knockturn Alley build-out that was attractive, easy to transport and store, and built to last.

DIAGONALLY!

I am EXTREMELY proud of these buildings, and I want to tell you how to build them for your own Blue & Gold. Each building is made up of no less than two trifold poster boards, stacked and duct taped together in the back so they fold down flat for storage. Here’s what you’ll need to get this project done:

First, I would open two trifold presentation boards and lay them out onto a large surface (in my case, my dining room table) white side down and taped them together using duct tape. Be careful not to tape over the seams where they fold. You want for these to be able to stand up with the white side serving as the store fronts and the brown back side serving as your structure. I used paint sticks to create some structure at the seam where the two boards meet. I’ll use Potages and The Daily Prophet as my examples.

You’ll notice that the top of several buildings have pieces of another trifold board attached for detail or height. I used one board for all of those “tops” and to cut strips of board that I used to make door details.

Each building has at least one tie off at the very bottom to hold the board sides back and together, which keeps the buildings from toppling over and helps them stay flush against whatever surface you place them against. I even glued a few paint sticks to the bottom of several buildings to provide some balance. You can see both the tie off and the paint sticks in the photos of Potages and The Daily Prophet above.

Faux brick is as simple as cutting sponges into several sizes to create the look of individual bricks and dip them into acrylic paint! There are a few build-out printables you might want to have on hand. I printed the Diagon Alley sign text and lightly taped them to pieces of foam board that I measured out specifically for each building. I then used a dull pencil to trace the outline of the letters or symbols. I removed the sign text, being careful not to let the tape peel the foam board, and filled in the outlines with metallic permanent marker. I needed photos of the actual shop fronts for inspiration, so I printed those and referenced them often. I printed package labels and Hedwig for the top of my Owl Post and made stained glass window templates that I used a craft knife to cut out, cutting colored tissue paper to glue to the diamond shapes and then finally laminate to give them the look of glass on the Ollivanders store front.

I even made a street lamp (complete with pixies) using an awesome template with a few modifications from Jill’s Creative Umbrella. The Dollar Tree sells surprisingly bright light switch style lights that fit right inside and really lit up the street lamp. I went out on Facebook and asked my neighborhood group if anyone had a fabric bolt in their recycling, and they did not disappoint. It’s the perfect tube for this kind of project.

Here’s the best part; these buildings fold down flat for storage!

Yep, I got carried away, but my word was it worth it!

Ceremony and Presentation

I quoted Yoda in my Cub Scouts: Star Wars Blue & Gold post, and he might not be a HP character but it still applies. “Do or do not, there is no try.” If you’re going to do it, do it right! Build a ceremony that’s steeped in tradition and fun, stick to your theme, and remember to be flexible. You can plan your banquet down to the minute, but there will always be something here or there that throws you off. Be prepared, but also be willing to go with plan b or c. Pull together a formal ceremony that you share with all of the members in your leadership team, especially the ones who have a speaking part like your Committee Chairperson and your Entertainment Coordinator. My Harry Potter Themed Blue & Gold ceremony (DOC) is a load of fun and can be easily customized to suit your event.

The presentation itself needs to be exciting yet simple. I made a Daily Prophet themed Harry Party Blue & Gold presentation (PPT), and I’d be thrilled for you to use it!

Giveaways

It’s always fun to send your Scouts home with something they can remember their Blue & Gold by. We decided to make individual and unique chop stick wands using the BoxyColonial template we found on Pinterest. They had fun using these to cast spells all night long.

Final Thoughts

However you decide to throw your Harry Potter themed Blue & Gold, I want you to promise me right now that you’ll DO YOUR BEST to enjoy yourself every step of the way. I want for you to live in the moment of it, enjoy every fun moment, and go to bed that night knowing you made a bunch of kids so unbelievably happy. You’ve used the light, sided with the good, and transformed into a true witch or wizard! WAY TO GO!

Don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it! (Hagrid and Me)

If you need some additional inspiration, consider perusing my Harry Potter Blue & Gold Pinterest Board, complete with a Diagon Alley Build-Out subsection. Did this post help you plan your perfect Star Wars B&G? Did you try any of my ideas? What would you add? Give the post a like, consider following Look Wider Still, and Scout On!

Is this NOT the theme you’re looking for? Check out my Star Wars Blue & Gold post and visit my Pinterest Board for out of this world ideas! Maybe ye want more of a swashbuckling adventure. Check out my Pirates of the Caribbean Blue & Gold post and Pinterest Board!

Yours in Scouting,
Rebekah

Look Wider Still is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Oriental Trading Affiliate Program , affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising.

Published by Look Wider Still

Rebekah is the mother of two wonderful sons, Michael and Nate. She and her husband, Mike, married in 2002 and have built their family on a foundation of adventure. Between geocaching, camping, hiking, cooking, fishing, crafting, reading, and snuggling their Irish Terrier, Bentley, they enjoy a long and happy career in Scouting. The boys come from a long line of Scouters, including Eagles on all sides. Mike has served as assistant den leader, treasurer, and Pack Committee member, and Rebekah has served as den leader and Cubmaster for Pack 521 out of Mechanicsville, Virginia. LookWiderStillBlog@gmail.com

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