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When your kids are little, parties are pretty easy. All you needed was some kind of activity, lots of cupcakes, and you’re all set. No child has a bad time when there are cupcakes present.
But when your kids become teenagers, it’s harder to find party ideas that they won’t roll their eyes at. Luckily, it turns out that Glow Parties are a thing. Because who doesn’t enjoy things that glow in the dark?
Unlike a typical birthday party, everything gets an extra dose of excitement when it glows in the dark. Party favors, decorations, even cups are pretty awesome when they glow. And having a party in the dark adds that element of fun that you just don’t get from your standard pizza party. You could try holding a pizza party in the dark, but someone is going to get a hot cheese burn.
Let’s go through some of the different parts of throwing a Glow Party and some ideas for supplies. Note that there is a difference between items that glow in the dark and items that light up under a black light. You can buy black lights for under $20 if you want to add those items to the mix.
1. The invitation
Start out strong with a cool glow-in-the-dark invitation, like this one for a skating party. If you don’t want to get premade ones, you can also get some glowing paper and pens and make them yourself. You can even let your artistic side come out and use scratch and glow paper for a cool, glowing invite.
Fun decorations are key to a great glow-in-the-dark party. There are some amazing options out there! If you can use it at a party, someone has found a way to make it glow in the dark.
The snack table is a great place to start, and since it’s all about making things as stress-free as possible when you're throwing a party in your home for teenagers, a pack of glow-in-the-dark plates, cups, and cutlery is an ideal buy. To light up the room, a bunch of glowing balloons is an inexpensive way to add color, as are these bouncy balls.
And an easy-to-hang banner is a fun way to say happy birthday in the dark. And since you never know when you are going to need them, it’s good to have a set of emergency googly eyes around. You know, just in case.
By the time you reach your 30s, the idea of glow-in-the-dark food is terrifying. When you’re a teenager who has no fear and thinks nothing can harm them, glowing, neon-colored food is pretty awesome. Luckily, it’s also pretty easy (and safe) to make.
Neon food coloring and confetti sprinkles will give your treats the right look, and adding tonic water to your frosting or Jell-O will add a glow to food under black lights. For those who don’t necessarily want to bake from scratch, you can put cotton candy on a glow stick.
“But what is there to do, Mom?!” How about a few of these ideas:
- Give everyone glow sticks with connectors so they can make different kinds of shapes and build things out of them.
- Hang black craft paper on the walls and let kids go to town with stars and crayons.
- Give the birthday kid a white shirt and let their friends decorate it and write them birthday messages with glow-in-the-dark markers.
- Let partygoers decorate themselves with glow-in-the-dark body paint and temporary tattoos.
- Have a glow-in-the-dark ring toss game.
- Or maybe a pin the mustache on the (donkey, monkey, picture of the birthday kid) game where the only things you can see are the glow-in-the-dark mustaches until the lights come on and the picture is revealed.
5. Party favors
Think of those “treasure boxes” your kids used to get to pick through at the dentist’s office that were filled with little plastic toys and stickers. Now grab a bowl and fill it with glow-in-the-dark sunglasses, rings, barrettes, little aliens because why not, bracelets, and finger lights, and let the kids go to town.
There are endless options for glow-in-the-dark parties, and the best part is that if you have some glow-in-the-dark items, music, and food, teens can pretty much make their own fun from there. It’s a great way to add that little twist to your teen’s party that will make it special for them and their friends.
One word of caution: As with most activities involving teenagers, there can be a nefarious side to these parties. Glow Parties have a reputation for being a place where kids can use a drug called “Molly,” the effect of which is enhanced by the neon colors of glow sticks. Teenagers are remarkable in their ability to find ways to get high. If you are going to throw one of these parties for your teenager, you’ll probably want to address this and make clear to them and their friends that this is not that kind of party. This is a better party where everyone enjoys the magic of neon and no one has to go to the hospital.
Finding unique and fun items that glow in the dark is half the fun of these parties. Your kids will get a kick out of all of it, whether it’s the glowing frosting or glowing artwork that they make themselves. A glow party is one your teen will remember for a long time.