Updated: Sep 12, 2019
Last month I was in charge of throwing a *surprise* birthday party for our nephew who was turning 13. I've been used to throwing parties for younger kids, since my two are 6 and 3… so I knew this was going to be a little different!
After some Pinterest research to see what teenagers would appreciate and find "cool", I decided to challenge myself with a GLOW IN THE DARK party! (Think RAVE!) As you can imagine, the preparation for this is much different than a regular party. The overall goal is to make as many things glow as possible! And how do you do that, you ask? WHITE and NEON/FLUORESCENT. And when I say neon, I mean electric, highlighter neon… lol!
Glow parties are essentially done in the dark, under only black lights, and the only things that will "light up" are things that are white or neon/fluorescent. Don't waste your time with anything else, because it just wouldn't show up!
The main ingredient for a black light party is obviously a black light! Our space was pretty large, so we used 3 of them. Check out different options on Amazon, and choose accordingly to fit your space. The good part is once you buy them, you'll have them to use again for other parties, or even to lend/rent out to others wanting to throw glow parties.
Start by sending out GLOW invitations, such as this one: (contact me to get this exact one!)
Be sure to specify on the invitation that guests should wear white or neon clothing.
Now, onto the decor. Luckily, my local dollar store had neon/fluorescent tissue paper. I bought pink, orange, yellow and green. This was my main source of decoration, and it worked like a charm.
I used full sheets of them to cover tables and to wrap around the basement support pole.
You don't want anybody bumping into that!
Since we want to "light up" as much as the area as possible, I decided to make and hang banners/garland across the whole length of the area to act as the main lights. They were fairly easy to make. Cut the tissue paper into appx. 6" strips, fold in half and cut a fringe on the ends. The folded part goes over the ribbon. Alternate your colours. You may need a dab of glue on each one to keep them in place, depending on your string/ribbon.
You can use this tissue paper to make any other decor, such as pom poms, tassels etc.
I found some large neon infinity scarves at the dollar store, and used them to cover up some pictures on the walls. Again, this acted as another form of "lights".
I made my own "Happy Birthday" banner using neon poster boards. I kept it simple by just cutting them into rectangles and writing on them with a black marker. As you can see, it worked pretty well… couldn't get much brighter than that!
I purchased some LED balloons, which were a really cool addition! There's a tab to pull out of each one, which activates the light… then you just blow them up as usual. You have to do this right before the party starts though, because they only last for a few hours.
My husband also had some LED music activated lights that he hung up. These blinked in time to the bass of the music. Pretty cool addition!
There is also something called glow-in-the-dark/UV tape, which you can use as part of your decor as well. Maybe create games with it? Or outline your dance floor. Get creative!
Another main highlight of our party was glow face paint! It worked really well and was easy enough to apply.
I did the painting myself, but after a while some of the teenage girls took over, and they did a great job!
They come in all of the main glow colours. I bought a pack of new clean brushes to paint with.
We also got neon glasses and straws for drinks. Fun fact… TONIC WATER glows in the dark! This is due to the presence of quinine in the ingredients. Have fun experimenting with different drink mixtures!
Now let's talk games. I covered a few buckets with the neon tissue paper (fringed) and we used them for a ball/beanbag toss.
I also made a simple piñata (an Amazon box filled with goodies, covered in the tissue fringe). Once the piñata was broken, the kids used their decorated bags to collect their candy stashes!
We also had hula hoop and limbo competitions.
People were less shy to participate, since it was all in the dark!
Of course we had hype music and everyone danced the evening away!
Overall it was a fun, memorable party, and a theme I can definitely see us using again for future parties!