I want to share with everyone how we did it, and maybe you can give me ideas for next time, too!
Here is what you need:
- Black Lights I got these at Walmart for $10 each, you plug them in and hang them on the wall. It says $24.00 on the website, but maybe the ones I got were on sale. Don't pay that much for them. Party City also carries black lights.
- Black Light bulbs for can lights - you can also get these from Walmart or Amazon. We used 10 of them in our can lights.
- An old white sheet and neon spray paint (from Lowes or Home Depot). Tip here: don't get "Glow in the Dark" paint.... it will only show up in pitch black dark, not black light dark. Get neon green and pink and yellow spray paint.
- Neon poster boards. I got these from Michaels; but you could do Hobby Lobby or Walmart. Get bright neon pink and orange and yellow poster boards to hang around the room
- Lots of glow sticks and glow necklaces - you can get these at the Dollar Store, or Walmart; I got a bunch from this great discount website that is similar to Oriental Trading (but cheaper!) called Rhode Island Novelty. I got a TON of glow necklaces and bracelets, some glasses, the kind that a like a pendant, and anything else they had. (**Note: stay away from "glow in the dark" stuff, as that won't glow in black lights)
- Tonic Water - If you didn't know this, Tonic water glows in black light! I went to several different stores and couldn't find any. The only place I found it was Publix (if you're in the North, sorry I can't help you). It wasn't expensive. I got 10 1 liter bottles of Tonic Water.
- Glow Balloons - these were sort of expensive... $12 for I think 8 balloons. But they looked really cool, and we used them for games and decorations. I found them at Walmart. You could probably get them cheaper online.
- Laser Lights - If you dn't already have these, they are expensive, but they are AWESOME> We already had two of them. They really make the party cool and bring a neat feel to the room. You can get them online here for $129 a piece. Even just one adds a lot of cool effects.
- Ask all the kids to wear white shirts or neon shirts (they will glow really bright)
- Don't use glow-in-the-dark stuff; it won't work in black light
- Don't turn on any lights that aren't black light (the lasers are ok), or the effect won't be as strong
- As many black lights as possible are good
- DON'T set out paint and let kids paint on their shirts, unless you have a plan to keep the shirts overnight to let them dry.... we sent a few kids home with shirts wet with paint... not good. Don't do it.
- If you WANT to go the extra mile and make glow snacks, you could try glow-in-the-dark jello using tonic water as part of the water. I didn't do it, so I can't say how well it works.
- Make sure there are plenty of leaders available around the room because sometimes when it's darker and crazier than normal, kids get more chaotic and kids can get hurt or anxious.
- Before the kids come in the room, station someone in the hallway to hand out lots of glow necklaces and bracelets to the kids. Don't be stingy....the more glow necklaces, the better. And let kids get creative with how they put them on.
- Black out ALL windows with black sheets or paper. Not even a hint of daylight can get in the room or it won't work.
- Hang glow necklaces (this kind) from the ceiling as cool decorations
- This site has a lot of cool glow stuff
What to Do
- Market really well. Let kids invite their friends. Talk about it and get everyone pumped up before the party!
- Use it as an opportunity to remind kids to be a LIGHT FOR JESUS. The whole party was themed around Matthew 5:14-16, which tells us to let the light of Christ shine through us. We had a lesson time to go over what it means to let the light of Christ Shine.
- Before the party, use the spray paint to decorate the white sheet (we wrote eKidz Glow Party on ours). It will need to dry at least overnight. Then hang it up in the room.
- Hang up the poster boards all over the room around the black lights, and set out markers and let the kids write on them. We had them write memories or things they learned this semester in our children's ministry. It was so sweet to read them after the event. I couldn't even throw them away.
- Turn off all the lights; turn on black lights; play high-energy music, turn on lasers, and bring in all the kids in their white t-shirts and glow necklaces. Ours was such a cool atmosphere, that we even had adults coming from the other building just to see it because word had spread about how cool the kids' party was.
Games and Activities
- Set out the tonic water bottles like bowling pins (labels peeled off), and use a glow necklace as a ring toss, and play "glow ring toss" or you could use a spray painted ball and do glow bowling.
- Use the LED balloons to play the game "Don't let the balloon touch the floor" (rules are self explanatory), but tell the kids to get in teams and each team has to make a circle and FREEZE where they are. They can't move, and see how long they can keep their balloon up.
- Scripture Hunt - print out Scripture verses about being the light in the world and have your leaders hide them around the room. (Print them on white paper in black ink), the kids will split into teams and have a race to see who can find their team's verses first.
- Glow Golf Super-Sized Golf, using a spray painted hula hoop and a pool noodle and giant ball with neon spray paint. Lay the hula hoop down and let the kids try to make a "hole in one" by using the pool noodle to get the big ball in the hula hoop.
- Here are some ideas for more games and activities (not all are kid-friendly).
- Glow in the dark easter egg hunt (just put a glow stick inside an easter egg and hide them around the room.) You could put Scripture verses in them.
- If you cut a glow stick in half, you can splatter the "glow" on people's clothing, and it will only show up in the dark. I can't say whether or not this is a great idea, but we did it at our party, and it seemed cool.... all I can say is, don't get it in anyone's eye (Don't ask me how I know that).