does one obtain a delivery owl? (Not a real one.)
July 16, 2022 8:08 AM   Subscribe

My wife's birthday is coming up soon and she's been a huge Harry Potter fan forever. We're not fans of the author—for what I hope are obvious reasons—but my wife still really loves the world of HP and I don't want her to lose that. She jokes every year that she, "still hasn't gotten her Hogwarts letter." Well this year I'm going to give her one, along with some other small HP themed gifts, and I'd love for her to wake up to it having been delivered by owl... I'd like to crowd-source some interesting ideas for how I might accomplish that.

Obviously I don't want a real owl but I can't just say, "oh it was delivered by owl," because that would be boring. Simplest thing is to maybe just buy a small owl figurine and have the gifts on the table with that. But I'm trying to find something a bit more fun/surprising/silly/etc. Something that can recreate a little bit of magic for her when she gets up.

In general, I tend to wake up a few hours before she does so ideally I'm looking for ideas that I can keep hidden/secret and then set up in a short amount of time the morning of her birthday. I'll probably have 'Hedwig's Theme' cued up so I can hit play once she gets up but other than that I really have no good ideas. So hit me with whatever wild ideas pop into your creative minds and help me make her birthday magical!
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand to Human Relations (30 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe get your hands on a projector and project a short video of an owl in flying across the wall towards sort of towards the table with a Hedwig plush toy and the other gifts?

Alternatively, toy owl on a little zip line that has a little letter tied to it inviting her to her birthday breakfast or whatever.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 8:13 AM on July 16, 2022 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Once I went to a Harry Potter themed baby shower and the organizer had decorated the fireplace to have Hogwarts letters flying out (with fishing line) and it looked awesome. Here's a link to someone diying it. So if you have a fireplace, this would be fun!
posted by ceramicblue at 8:16 AM on July 16, 2022 [6 favorites]

Maybe when the owl made its delivery it left a few feathers behind? (I have no idea on the practicality of sourcing owl feathers, but I'm sure you could buy something that looks the part.)
posted by eponym at 8:19 AM on July 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

Hardware stores, at least locally, often have big plastic owls for use as bird deterrents. They are also hollow and with a pretty big hole in the base so things could be hidden within.

We use ours (a hand-me-down from my older brother, who found it ineffective against real-life squirrels) as a Christmas tree topper.
posted by Earthtopus at 8:24 AM on July 16, 2022 [8 favorites]

If not feathers, it's certainly possible to source other owl-related ephemera. Few random feathers and a pellet or two, and I'd say you've been visited by an owl.
posted by jquinby at 8:25 AM on July 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Folkmanis has beautiful owl puppets, including snowy owls.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 8:33 AM on July 16, 2022 [10 favorites]

The Folkmanis snowy owl is wonderful! You can make his head turn around with your hand. Have him make the announcement that the letter has arrived. Barnes & Noble sell them.

Oh my god I am tearing up. Rowling has really let us all down but this is lovely.
posted by BibiRose at 8:46 AM on July 16, 2022 [4 favorites]

There are also powered fake owls (for bird/rodent deterrent) that swivel their heads.
posted by perhapses at 8:50 AM on July 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh! Just had an idea!

Maybe no takers but if any mefite HP fans felt like sending HP/Hogwarts themed birthday cards send me a memail and I can give you our address. I don't expect random people to spend money on us so no worries if no one is interested, just a thought.

She loves opening stuff on her birthday but doesn't actually particularly care what it is. I'm sure a bunch of Harry Potter birthday cards from strangers would make her day! I could use them to implement ceramicblue's exploding letter idea!
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand at 8:55 AM on July 16, 2022 [9 favorites]

Is there some kind of raptor refuge or raptor show near you (or wildlife refuge that has owls)? Maybe the handler can hand her your message.
posted by amtho at 9:07 AM on July 16, 2022 [6 favorites]

Parts of my family used to exchange an unrealistic plush duck, and we discovered that a silly toy propped outside a window looks very real for that first surprised glance. I’d get a good Hedwig plushie and prop it outside a window before breakfast somehow, holding a letter.
posted by clew at 9:20 AM on July 16, 2022 [7 favorites]

I googled Flying Owl Mobile and this DIY white cardstock digital pattern came up on Etsy. If you put some thought and fishing line into it, I bet you could get it to zip across the room.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:46 AM on July 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Use a big plastic owl meant to scare pigeons

Make an owl shadow puppet (and get someone to flap a folding umbrella for the wing noises)

Make an owl mobile

Ohh this one is cool: make an Owl Automaton
posted by nouvelle-personne at 10:09 AM on July 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

I like the idea of involving a projector.

Is there any way you can affix things to the outside of your bedroom window?
posted by itesser at 10:11 AM on July 16, 2022

I would get a stuffed owl, attach a letter to its beak, and suspend it from the ceiling on a stick-on hook or nail with fishing line just above where she sleeps. I would have the other end of the line so it’s like a pulley, make a ridiculous owl sound to wake her up, and lower the owl to her head. Or just throw it through the window lol.
posted by kapers at 10:28 AM on July 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

"Needle felted owl" and "Owl realistic" as search terms on Etsy yield some charming results, including this beauty.
posted by jenquat at 10:49 AM on July 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Could you.. hire a person in an owl costume, singing telegram style?
posted by Horkus at 11:49 AM on July 16, 2022 [8 favorites]

Is there an owl sanctuary or falconry near you? Typically you can pay for an experience where you interact with the birds including owls. I would imagine that such centres are used to some performative Harry Potter style high jinks by now, plus, you get to learn about owls.
posted by Erinaceus europaeus at 12:04 PM on July 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

If your curtains are not heavy, you could tape the silhouette of an owl in flight to the window, and leave the card on the floor -- as if the owl had just delivered it and was flying off. (Opening the drapes will, of course, ruin this. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:36 PM on July 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yoli delivers a letter This is a short clip of an eagle owl delivering a letter.
posted by effluvia at 1:50 PM on July 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Cratejoy seems to have some Harry Potter themed subscription boxes. No idea about the quality of items. though.

To play off @wenestvedt's idea, if you can borrow a very bright light and an appropriately sized owl silhouette... You can do your own Batman signal...except with an owl. :)
posted by kschang at 4:21 PM on July 16, 2022

Have the birthday at Hooters?

(It's OK, I'll leave now...)
posted by tillsbury at 10:48 PM on July 16, 2022

The author probably gets royalties from this, so probably wouldn’t be a good purchase, but I saw this gorgeous LEGO kit at the store that might be fun for her to put together or greet her in the morning. For some reason I thought that model was motorized at the store, but perhaps an employee modified it. There’s a better documented modification to motorize this model of Hedwig (which also happens to be more affordable).
You can also try to buy the pieces on Rebrickable to sidestep the royalties or find lightly used sets on EBay, though it looks like both of them are back ordered anyhow (and getting pieces from Rebrickable is more expensive and takes more time).

The fireplace with letters seems like the best bet but just wanted to throw another idea into the ring for future Potter gifts and offer to write a birthday card if you want to memail me the address!
posted by sincerely yours at 1:24 AM on July 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

It is actually possible to hire a real owl. Who knew? Near where I live there are a number of companies who will provide an owl to serve as ring-bearer at your wedding. I would imagine that they are adaptable.
posted by Erinaceus europaeus at 1:55 AM on July 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

Can you get a drone? And dress it up like an owl/glue an owl to part of it/ just put a post-it note that says "owl" on in? And then it in? I have truly zero idea of how drones work at all, but....robo owl could capture some of what you're going for....
posted by Charity Garfein at 3:25 AM on July 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, wow! These are all great ideas, thanks everyone!

So, there are other gifts and other birthday plans and this is just a little extra surprise so my budget isn't huge. Which, sadly, means hiring people—or owls—isn't really a possibility. But they're great ideas and I really appreciate them so thank-you all again!

Also, thanks to everyone who has offered to send a card! I think it will really make her day and you've all definitely made mine!
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand at 5:32 AM on July 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Hedwig Balloon
posted by BoscosMom at 7:47 AM on July 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you seen these diy
Ferro Rocher golden snitches
posted by BoscosMom at 3:15 PM on July 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Those are great, BoscosMom, I think I'll use both of those ideas. Thank-you!
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand at 1:54 AM on July 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: On the off-chance anyone checks back in on this: My wife's birthday went great!
I posted a MetaTalk thread thanking people and linked to some pictures if anybody cares to see how it went for themselves.

The comments in this thread marked "best answer" are the ideas I ended up actually using but all the answers were great. Thanks again everybody!
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand at 8:06 AM on August 16, 2022

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