Dance party game ideas for any theme for adults or kids

Party games can provide loads of fun to break the ice and get a dance party moving. These ideas contain some classics adapted to dance parties, and ideas on how you can adapt them to various popular party themes pretty easily by tweaking names, decorations, props or prizes.

Games don’t have to be just for kids – they can really liven up a bachelor/ bacelorettes, a baby shower, 30th or a 60th 60s disco! Just crank up the humour a level to suit your guests, and make the prizes appropriate to the group – adults enjoy cheeky forfeits or having to drink something interesting, teens enjoy silly dares, and almost anyone likes a small chocolate….

Musical Islands

This is a bit like musical chairs, but with some kind of ‘island’ instead of the furniture.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • sound system – preferably with a remote or cellphone soundtrack plus blutooth
  • dance lights
  • islands made of paper (one fewer than the number of players and just big enough for one person’s feet. e.g. A4 sheet of paper). This is where you can tweak for your theme, e.g. neon paper for a glow in the dark party, or pictures of plants for a Plants vs Zombies party, sparkly mats for sophisticated bridal shower party fun, etc.
  1. Place the ‘islands’ on the floor – one fewer piece than the number of players. Everyone is instructed to stand OFF the ‘islands’.
  2. When the music starts, everyone has to dance – nice and actively, no bouncing bums on the spot!
  3. When the music stops, everyone has to rush to get onto an island. Whoever is caught without an island is out, and one more island is removed.
  4. This continues until you have a winner! I’ve found this works best if you have small prizes like a mini chocolates (or something theme-related) and you play the game a couple of times – it doesn’t take long, and its more fun to have a few gos than just one person winning a bigger prize.

Costume Catwalk

If you are having a themed party for any age, you can have a best outfit catwalk show on your dancefloor. I’d recommend doing this simply for fun at a younger children’s party, and only having a best costume and best catwalk act winner from tweens up, as the little ones get hurt feelings, while older kids and adults enjoy vying for the top spot.

Everyone has to dances in a circle and you have a judge or panel of judges to vote on the best outfit. Each contestant has to exaggeratedly model their outfit accross the centre of the circle and spin it out a bit, so it’s not just a passive thing.

Fun songs for older adults are ‘I’m a Barbie Girl’ (there’s an updated ‘Im not a Barbie Girl’ too!) or ‘I’m too sexy for my shirt’, or ask people to whisper to the DJ what they want their entrance song to be. Mine would definitely be ‘All about that base’ by Meghan Trainor!

Knights, knaves and horses

This is an old medieval theme game which you can adapt to other themes, using your imagination, e.g. ‘moms, dads and babies’ for a baby shower, or ‘Elsa, Anna and Sven’ (with appropriate actions) for a Frozen party theme.

This was a popular dancing game with older teens when I was one, and we were divided into boy and girl pairs, where the boys had to do the ‘heavy lifting’ and be the knights, knaves or horses. We’ve played a version very successfully with tweens at a birthday party too, and didn’t make it a gender thing for our kids – I think it was actually more fun, as each pair also had to figure out who was going to do what, with much resulting hilarity.

instructions

  1. Basically, there is a ‘caller’ in control of the music, a bit like for musical chairs, and you need an odd number of players, e.g. – 7/ 9/ 11….
  2. Everyone has to dance until the music is suddenly stopped – and then the caller says either ‘Knights!’ ”Knaves!’ or ‘Horses!’
  3. Everyone has to quickly find a partner and perform the appropriate action.
  4. For ‘knights’: one partner must kneel with one knee up, so the other person can sit on their knee.
  5. For ‘Knaves’: the one person must piggy back on the other.
  6. For ‘Horses’, one person gets down on all fours, and hte other one stands over their back.
  7. Anyone caught without a partner, or doing the wrong action, or the last pair to hook up, is out, and you start up the music and continue until you have a winning pair.
  8. If you have an even number of players, you just have to speed it up and pick on whoever gets it wrong or is too slow- a bit more like musical statues.

Pass the Ball

For this you need a smallish ball, orange or balloon (or try something to do with your theme, but preferably something round and smooth and not too hard or too small). A neon balloon or tennis ball is ideal for a glow in the dark party.

You also need great music and dance lights, and someone who is the referee.

instructions

  1. Everyone has to dance in a circle and keep moving!
  2. One person is given the ball.
  3. Everyone has to keep passing the ball around the circle, but without using hands or feet and without dropping it, or you have to start all over again.
  4. Its most fun if everyone tries to carry on dancing as it goes, but the embarrassing positions people get themselves into tend to leave everyone a bit helpless with laughter…
  5. Kids can be offered a treat each as a reward for completing the task, and adults can be offered a drink. They may need one!

Simon Says (and variations)

For a straight dance party, get your lights and music going, use a mic, and call out some disco moves to test everyone in a game of DJ Says: e.g. “DJ says, ‘Do the twist!'” or “DJ says, ‘Do the floss!'”

If you’re doing a 60th or 70th dancing – through- the decades party, you can look up major dance moves from each decade. Just be prepared to do a demonstration before the game starts, just in case memories need jogging!

Just remember the basic rules – you call out ‘Simon says’, and they must DO the action, but if you don’t say ‘Simon says’ and just call out the action, and someone does it, then they are out. Picking up the speed and switching back and forth between ones you’ve already done tends to get everyone confused in the end!

Have a few particularly tricky ones for those last older kids or adults in the game, to get them a little flustered and get to a winner.

With younger kids, play it really straight and be prepared for more than one round, to give a small prize to more than one kid (consider using the winner of each round as the caller for the next one).

Last person standing is, of course, the winner here!

Dance Charades

Basically play like normal charades, and choose words, film or song titles, character to match your party theme.

Make a set of charades cards and print them out. You want to get people dancing, so you can have dance moves for a particular decade, dancing to mimic a particular pop star (or another character suited to your theme, eg dance like Easter bunny vs Easter chicken or do an egg roll dance, a superhero (Spiderman, Batman, Black Panther) or Disney princess (Meredtith from Brave, the Little Mermaid, Mulan, Elsa…) , and everyone has to guess who you are or the name of the dance move.

Adults and kids might enjoy dancing like a particular animal and everyone has to guess what animal. Ideas: camel, alpaca, sloth, elephant, tiger, kangaroo, duck, wolf…. (depending on the age of kids, you can get more or less exotic mixes of animals – for younger kids, it might be best to stick to common local or zoo animals. For older kids or adults, you might try some weirder challenges like the sloth or a reindeer).

You can either get the whole group guessing and each person takes a turn (recommended for younger kids, to take the competition stress away), OR, for older kids and adults who enjoy the competition, set it up like a proper charades game. Write your characters or animal names on small cards and divide your guests into two teams. You give the first volunteers from each team a card and they have to get their team to guess. Whoever guesses gets the next card… and so on until you have the first team to finish.

Ministery of Silly Dances

This would work well along with other ideas for people over 40, who will know all about the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks skit. If you like the idea and want to try it for kids, I’d either suggest watching the skit with them first, or if they are doing a ‘Mr Men and Little Miss’ book theme party, you could play with doing silly dances for Mr Silly at the Nonsense Land Disco (Which I just made up, but it ties in nicely with the Nonsese Land’s trophy for the silliest idea in the story).

The game is simple. Someone is the representative of the government Ministry of Silly Dances, and everyone has to have a turn to apply for a government grant to develop their silly dance. The silliest dance wins the grant, which is the game prize.

It helps enormously if the government representative is able to set the tone the way John Cleese does in the skit and make suggestions to improve the silly walks presented, which the ‘grant seeker’ then has to try to copy as well. Bonus points for coming up with dreadful academic names for individual moves.

I’d suggest offering a particularly juicy prize to the adults, like a bottle of wine, and giving everyone a few minutes to come up with their individual walks before the public attempt. For the Mr Men and Little Miss party, you could get creative with a trophy or offere a conventional party game prize.

For an end of year office party involving anyone in a university or other company that has to frequently deal with government grant applications, this is deeply therapeutic and gasp-for-breath fun!

Music with silly lyrics can make this even more fun. This is very easy to organise if you have a smart phone and speakers with bluetooth capability. Chat to us at Simply Sparkles if you’d like to use our equipment, and we can show you how easy breezy this is!

Interpretive Dance Pictionary

A bit like with charades and Ministry of Silly Dances, this involves lots of silly fun for adults and teenagers, where you give people standard Pictionary game cards, and ask them, instead of drawing, to try to explain the word or phrase with interpretive dance. This works well if you or a friend are prepared to demonstrate, and you have a fun group of friends who don’t mind being very strange for a laugh!

You can make this game even better if you have someone operating disco lights and party sound using bluetooth and a cellphone with Spotify or iTunes, so contestants can quickly hunt for a good backing song for their dance and use smoke machines, lasers or strobes to add to their dance’s atmosphere!

Keep in Touch!

Please let us know how your dance games went, and any variations or new ideas! We’re always looking for ways to help our party lights and sound hire clients have more fun, and share these ideas with them as part of our service.

Contact us if you would like advice for your party set up or if you’d like to hire lights, sound and other party accessories. Delivery is free in Somerset West and Strand! We’re here to help make your party Simply Sparkle!

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Stage lighting fun

We wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying this at home… but some madness possessed us and we offered to help with the lighting and sound for this year’s school concert. It was a crazy ride, as we are kitted for parties rather than stage lights and sound, but hey. We love playing with our equipment, and it saved our kids’ small school a whopping, cough! splutter! R23 000 for a pro. I think the pros totally earn their fees, but that just wasn’t a cost they could realistically recover.

In the end it was a load of hard work, a ton of fun, and totally magical.

Our top tips after the experience?

  1. Martyrdom be damned. Ask for all the help you can get: find those reliable friends of yours and get them roped in. We had one lovely friend make my family a backstage takeaway dinner so we could eat a proper meal on the day of the concert. The kids loved the backstage picnic and it meant I could support my kids before they also went on stage . It was their big night, after all. Another friend with a bakkie helped cart our heavier stage props home so we didn’t need to be up until midnight for any reason other than being totally over excited. And we borrowed about seventy billion extension cables (true story – see no.2).
  2. You can’t have too many extension cables. Seriously. You need looooong ones, short ones, ones with multiplugs in… the more options you have, the more you can get equipment set up safely, with fewer trip points.
  3. You can’t have too much tape. Tape down ALL your loose wires. If the performers and stage hands can trip over your cables, they will, so once you get all those many, many extension cables in, tape ’em down. Go wild with the tape. Pretend you’re OCD if you have to.
  4. Make it super clear who can and who cannot touch, or otherwise hang out anywhere in the vicinity of, your equipment. There will be fewer heart attacks and less shouting. Trust me. Everyone wants to push the smoke machine button. Everyone. And you need it warmed up for the big impressive whooshes, not worn out on odd little smoke fart puffs at random moments in the show.
  5. Set your priorities (while admiting the limits of what you have). We decided that our priorities were basically: everyone needs to see and hear their kid on stage. Everything else is a Simply Sparkles sparkly bonus. Sounds simple, but it wasn’t really, because our lights are party lights, not stage lights (apart from the spotlight), we ended up investing in some outdoor floodlights to give a bit more oomph. Then once that was taken care of, we could play with the icicles flashing, the fairy ligths going on , the smoke, the disco beat lasers, etc. and have fun.
  6. Find out what the people you are helping have in mind, and try to give them that. This is something we do for all our clients: try to work out what party dream or vision is. Put otherwise: what will make it feel like a party to them. For some, it’s the disco ball that makes it a ‘real’ dance party. For someone else, it’s the strobe, smoke and lasers. It’s the same with a stage production. Try to find out what would be the secret ingredient of making the person on stage feel like a rockstar, or the director feel like their vision is a reality, and work out how you can give it to them. It’s far more fun to wave a magic wand and make other people’s wishes come true than it is to impose your ideas on other people.
  7. Relax and have fun. After all the planning and prep is done, you might as well enjoy yourself!

DIY Karaoke Party Ideas

Karaoke parties don’t necessarily mean you need your own expensive microphones or X Box set up. If you have a smart TV or smartphone with screen mirroring, or even a laptop, or tablet and bluetooth, you can have an epic sing-off party if you just hire a bit of equipment from Simply Sparkles Party Lights and Sound!

We have two speakers and a cordless pair of microphones – both of which can connect via bluetooth to your phone or other smart device. Upload an app like Karaoke or Smule (we found Karaoke the easiest to use and you can pay a minimal fee for add-free karaoke for a week and then unsubscribe, if it’s just for one party) or just get into YouTube karaoke channels and the world is your shower (ahem, stage).

You can go with a theme, like a decade – 60s, 80s, 90s or noughties… or Disney anthems, grand Queen revivals or Rocky Horror Picture Show dance offs. Add a smoke machine, mirror ball and disco lights and the stage atmosphere comes alive! One of our favourite parties was where we all chose a song and sang it in a specific way, e.g. with a very depressed voice or with a gnome voice, or with Russian accents…. It was hilarious!

Important tips:

  1. Check your set-up before the party. Get your TV on, make sure the wifi is working, plug in the speakers and microphone controller, check the bluetooth is connected, etc. A little trouble shooting before you start will prevent any award ‘sorry we have a technical problem’ fiddly party pooper moments.
  2. Think of a few songs that you think might get the party started, and be prepared to open the show, or get a friend you know will enjoy the limelight to get everyone in the mood. Even better, get everyone to sing along with two of you leading on the mics. Shared singing is a real joy and gets everyone over their initial inhibitions.
  3. Switch on the mic. (seriously, this is the number one technical glitch!) There is only one button on our mics. You press it to mute between songs (to avoid nasty noises) and you press it again to turn it back on. To power off completely, you need to press the button and hold for a bit.
  4. DO NOT drop the mic! No matter how cool that sounds. No matter how tempted you are. Ignore the memes, please and Just. Don’t. It’s like dropping 1000 bucks down the toilet – mics are sensitive equipment.
  5. Check other music apps are switched off, closed or disabled. Some apps like Spotify might clash with the Karaoke app, causing a lot of frustration. If you need Spotify for the rest of the party, try uninstalling it on one person’s phone and keeping it on an iPad, laptop or someone else’s phone, or give yourself a minute (that really is all it takes) while everyone pours drinks, wipes away their tears of laughter about Tim’s solo, and reinstall. Just make sure you have your account password handy and it’s a speedy, seamless synch.
  6. Amp up the atmosphere. Great sound really helps get everyone in the mood, but you can do more. Decorate according to your theme. Disco lights are fabulous for getting the party game on. You don’t need a lot, just create a comfy area with some space to sit, some place to stand and play air guitar, and switch on some sparkly colour that moves to the music. A disco ball is awesome for a 60s or 70s theme karaoke too.
  7. Observe Karaoke Etiquette: It’s bad manners and no fun at all if one person keeps hogging the mic for ‘just’ another song, even if they are brilliant. Share! Keep dissing other people’s song choice to a minimum of good-natured teasing. People get shy enough about singing in public, so being teased can put them off altogether. Perhaps they chose the song because they find it easy to sing, in any case, not because it’s their all-time fave. Play nice!

USING THE KARAOKE APP with Simply Sparkles Speakers and your Screen mirror.

  1. Set up speakers and connect to your phone: watch the video here.
  2. Instead of using the chorded mic. plug in the control box for the two cordless mics.
  3. Open the Karaoke app (assuming you’ve installed it and created your account) and follow the instructions in the photos. They are in order of the screens as they will appear on your phone or iPad.

You need to select ‘solo’ even if you plan on singing a duet or in a group. This does not affect the microphones. ‘Start duet’ on the app means you will duet with someone online, not at your party.

Don’t allow the camera as you won’t be looking at the phone. Again, this is part of the social media use of the app and won’t help your live party.

Selecting ‘record’ gets everything started, so just press that ignore everything else.

And… SING! Together or solo, just belt it out!

TIPS for using the mic.

  • Check the mic is on, and that mute is off (press the button on the mic and watch the display – mute is a word that lights up if its on. Also check the mute is not selected on the controller (where there is a lock/unlock button next to the volume knob for each mic.),
  • Check the speakers are plugged in and switched on.
  • Check the microphone controller box is plugged into the speakers and switched on.
  • Check and adjust the volume on the mic controller box AND on the master volume of the speaker. Ask someone to help – when you are singing, it is often not easy to hear yourself as well as everyone else can, especially if the speakers are positioned across the room, near the TV for example.
  • Experiment with holding the mic at different distances from your mouth. Depending on how loud you can sing, you hold the mic closer or further away from you.
  • If you move, move the mic with you – if you start doing your famous air guitar impersonation with your mic hand, your voice will suddenly disappear!
  • When you finish, press the button on the mic once and check the MUTE indicator on the mic lights up. This prevents those horrible squeals and thumps when you put the mic down.
  • Don’t use the mic standing directly in front of the speakers, or you will get that nasty feedback squeal.
  • Check the mic is on by singing or speaking into it, NOT tapping it, which is not good for the equipment.

Party ideas for 60th, 70th and 80th birthdays and beyond

Every culture has its own way of celebrating birthday milestones, particularly the decades past 40. But things are always changing – we now see men and women well over 60 jogging around the neighbourhood in preparation for a major marathon, or taking part in mountain biking events, something that was rare indeed when I was a kid. Gone are the days of lavender rinses and curlers and grannies knitting doilies while grandpa smokes a pipe!

These guys were young in the swinging 60s and 70s, and can still shake a leg- so why stick to high tea and cake smashes as the best party themes? How about a super memorable dance party? I know my mother still enjoys a good dance and she’s hitting 70 next year. Hey, with a good knee replacement (or two), who knows how long my generation will one day be lip syncing to Queen and The Bangles?

There could be such a thing as going too far, of course. I attended a friend’s grandmother’s 80th in Dover, England, 20 years ago. It was a very large gathering at a local hall, and someone had booked a male stripper. There was a moment when this feisty but short-sighted lady in her wheelchair was enthusiastically rubbing baby oil on his back while he was clad in nothing but a red thong. This image is maddeningly difficult to erase from my mind 2 decades later!! I wouldn’t recommend this, but it did get me thinking!

Imagine my delight when I got a WhatsApp from a customer a short while ago, wanting to hire Simply Sparkles disco lights for her dad’s Sixtieth 60s disco party! Now that’s more like it!

A classic disco ball, a few coloured lights that move to the beat and some fairy lights to add extra glamour and fun, and there you go! Plug in your MP3 player or CD player or get out your Spotify playlists and speakers (you can ask the youngest grandkids to sort this out for you), and you’re good to go for a family-and-friends party in your home.

For a larger party with prepared speeches and toasts ,and perhaps someone singing a special serenade to your beloved uncle, gorgeous wife, dapper dad or fabulous granny, hire some simple to use speakers for better dance sound and a good quality microphone. Our speakers can handle anything from plugging into an electronic record-player outlet so you can spin that vinyl, to seamless bluetooth connection to any smart device, or USB input. We also offer a two cordless microphones which can be used with your smart TV or a tablet app for some first class insert-retro-decade-here karaoke fun!

dancing with grandma!

My stepdad turns out to have been quite the singer back in his youth. For his 80th birthday party, he not only had very clear ideas on what music he wanted from the 50s-70s, he also asked for the mics to be able to sing a song to my mum: Frank Sinatra’s ‘You make me feel so young’. We found the backing track on Youtube and set him up with the speakers, and it was a really special moment. Check out our post on setting up karaoke or singing with our blue tooth speakers and mic.

Get all the generations into some fun dance party games and you’ll all be laughing and dancing the night away as you celebrate that wonderful older person in your life. Remember to have lots of comfy chairs and plenty of great snacks and drinks to keep everyone going. Just don’t be too surprised if its the golden oldies who get up to the most mischief reliving their glory days on the dance floor!

Bubbles!

To give your party that happy, bubbly feeling, we’ve added a fabulous bubble machine to our party hire services! Do I hear a few squeals of excitement? Oh wait, that was me.

Ahem, as I was saying… this nifty little machine has LED lights inside that change colour, to add extra rainbow dazzle, day or night (and keep your inner unicorn prancing).

If you just can’t blow the bubbles fast enough for the kids, or the birthday girl’s entrance, then this baby will keep ’em coming and delight your friends and family with a magical shower of pretty bubbles. And of course it adds that extra bit of celebratory fun to any dance party, whatever your age.

The machine hire price includes a couple of 250ml bottles of special bubble fluid that goes a long way. It’s also non-toxic, for that one friend who tries to pop bubbles with his mouth.

If you hire the bubble machine in addition to the disco lights package, it handily attaches to the same professional disco lights stand, for extra ease of use.

Glow in the dark party ideas

Glow in the dark parties, using black light UV lighting and neon or white clothes and decor, are all the rage with teens, pre-teens (or tweens) and younger kids as well as adults. My daughter had a glow in the dark dance party for her 12th birthday and we had such fun with the black lights we’ve added to our Simply Sparkles packages. We’ve all been going a little nuts researching things, trying out paint supplies and running around the house plugging in the black light to see what gets that glow in the dark wow factor!

You can have SO much fun with this as a basic theme all on its own, as part of a dance party (especially an 80s disco), or by using elements to jazz up your decorations for a futuristic or retro space / computer game (e.g. pac man) or fantasy parties like unicorn or fairy themes.

All you need is some imagination, a good strong black light (it’s which is a particular type of UV light spectrum that works much better than straight UV) some cool neon and white decorations, and UV, glow in the dark, neon or black light body paint or craft paint. A strobe light can add an extra touch of fun.

general tips

You’d be surprised what can glow in the dark, including tonic water (with quinine), so you can make the coolest glow in the dark cocktails for adults (GNT, you beauty!), or alcohol free mixes for kids, and even glow in the dark jelly (tip: replace the cold water in the recipe with tonic water and use litchi flavoured jelly from Pick ‘n’ Pay, as it is a pale white)! This only shines if close to a UV light and it does change the taste a little, so its best in small quantities. It is the quinine in tonic water that makes it glow, so check that this is one of the ingredients. When you add tonic water to the hot water jelly mixture, it tends to froth up quite a bit. Let the warm mixture cool a bit or at least make sure you are using a big container with room for the foam. The foam does settle down after a bit so you get a normal, smooth jelly.

Tonic water ice cubes glow amazingly well, and make an interesting addition to drinks.

Things we have at home that glow in the dark under the Simply Sparkles black light UV: a white plate, Bastion glow paint, black light glow face paint, highlighter and Sharpie, tonic water. Cool, hey?

For a list of interesting things that glow in the dark (with pictures), check out this website: science notes.

Local suppliers and resources in South Africa:

PAINT

You can buy black light and neon body and craft paints at most PNA shops and other craft/ art supply stores like the Crafters’ Inn in Somerset West, or at a local Chinese shop that stocks party costumes, like China Town at Somerset Mall. If you are ordering larger quantities, it is worth checking out a local direct supplier like Bastion paint. Don’t forget ordinary neon felt tip pens and highlighters will also make fantastic signs and other decor!

There are four kinds of paint that work well. Most are available as either body (or face) paint OR craft paint. You can’t mix and match because of the chemicals, so check the label carefully.

  1. straight neon or white paint (which are bright even without the light so can be used again for sports events, etc.
  2. glow in the dark or UV glow paint
  3. Black light glow paint which is amazing and gives you a bigger colour range, including blue.
  4. Invisible UV paint (also useful to secretly mark expensive items in your home or bicycles) which only shows under UV light (I’ve been able to find this at PNA and online at Bastion Paint

DECORATIONS

Neon slinky springs (to hang down in spirals), reusable paper lanterns (white is good, paint them if you can’t find neon colours, or stick neon stickers on them), bunting and glow sticks are all usually available at your nearest Crazy Store or China Town.

We try to consider the environment (as well as our budget) and buy more of the kind of decor we can reuse or recycle (like the paper lanterns and bunting, which come out in various guises at lots of different parties) and fewer of the items that can’t be reused or recycled (like glow sticks or balloons). Remember some things you already own will seriously ‘pop’ in the UV light, like white serving platters and white picture frames, and anything neon like a frisbee or hula hoop, or neon post-it notes. When in doubt, buy cheap neon dot or star stickers and put them on all kinds of things. Our paper lanterns for a recent party didn’t glow much, so we just added the dot stickers and they looked amazing, with or without the lights.

Locally, CAB foods sell individual balloons (to avoid waste getting more than you need) in lots of neon colours that work well with our lights, like violet, blue, green, pink and yellow. They need to be fairly close to the light (in the same half of a larger room) to really zing., and the colour description must say ‘neon’ not just ‘bright’ or ‘electric’. Here’s what they look like deflated, in the day time and with the black light in a darkened room (the spotty one was from a packet of balloons at the Crazy Store:

Glow in the dark tape can be bought online at takealot. So can lots of other glow in the dark pens, toys, craft paint and glow sticks. They also stock glow in the dark pebbles in colour or green – or order some glow in the dark paint and paint garden pebbles. The glow in the dark paint needs to be ‘charged’ by daylight or lights in general and can fade with time. This doesn’t happen with the UV light – it gets supercharged and stays shiny, and a little paint goes much further under UV light. For instance, in the painting below, it glows without a UV light when the room is completely dark (it can’t be photographed), but even in the daytime you get a really cool glow if there is a proper UV light on it (and I can get a photo of it – yay!).

A painting I made on canvas for my son’s room with glow paint doubles up as Space party decor with a UV light

GAME PROPS

Game props can easily be made out of things you already have, with a few extra supplies like ordinary neon or white duct/ masking tape or glow in the dark tape from takealot. E.g. Bowling skittles made from plastic coke bottles filled with a little water, and wrapped in tape or painted to glow in the dark or tin cans decorated with the tape or white/neon dot stickers, and white tape used to mark the ‘bowling alley’.

You can use things you already have in unexpected ways, like any glow in the dark items from your kids’ bedrooms, or games like Twister – we just drew over our existing twister mat with matching highlighter colours. They don’t show up in ordinary light but look pretty cool in the UV light. Some laundry detergents glow in the dark, so experiment with that in your skittles etc. too! Office stationary supply shops (CNA, PNA. Waltons) have loads of large star burst shapes in neon colours (intended for sales displays) as well as neon cardboard for musical island (stand up musical chairs variation) games. Neon highlighters can be used as relay baton sticks for races, and so on.

Hot wheels car races or remote control robot races or obstacle courses are extra fun with a UV Light adding atmosphere. Glow stickers from crazy stores or Takealot will seriously pop!

OUTFITS

White clothes, shoes and accessories are a great place to start, as these automatically stand out in the UV light. If you don’t own anything and don’t want to spend a fortune, try Pep stores school sections for some inexpensive white vests, white canvas shoes and T shirts to play with. Pearls, some diamonds and of course white plastic jewellery will also stand out, so wear the bling that will have some zing!

Neon accessories from a costume shop are loads of fun. We found everything from fingerless fishnet gloves to tutus, flowery head bands and trouser braces in neon at the Somerset Mall China Town.

Money saving tip: buy a box of cheap white or neon office stickers in different shapes (dots and stars work best) and put them on your clothes, jewellery or shoes (the outfit will look fun and last the party).

Anything neon, including swimming costumes, hair bands, craft string, shoelaces and cheap plastic jewellery or beads and craft wire will seriously zing. An old 80s trick: cut tassel strips at the bottom of white/ neon T shirts and their sleeves and string on plastic neon beads before knotting. These swing and glow and add a lot of fun to a glow in the dark party outfit. They can be cheaply bought at craft supply shops. You can paint your own neon or glow in the dark clothes using fabric paint from PNA or craft supply shops like Crafters Inn. Takealot also sell neon fabric paint online.

All glow stick earrings, headbands and bracelets will also look extra special under UV. Check out a Crazy Store, PNA or Chinese shop, or order online from Takealot.

A word of warning from someone who has survived partying in the 1990s… white underwear will glow right through thinner clothing, so choose your outfit with that in mind (so at least it’s deliberate if it shows and glows!).

EDIBLE ITEMS

Apart from drinks with tonic water, you can try tonic water ice cubes. We’ve experimented with neon food colouring from CAB foods and found that really only the neon pink gel colouring truly glowed under our lights. The only other neon colour they had at the time of writing was neon green, but that looked like yellow-brown poo, which was NOT the look we were hoping for! White mints glow really well, and for some reason so does the plain background biscuit of Zoo buscuits, while the colourful bits and white animals (which we had hoped would glow), didn’t.

More reliable for your food, is serving it on white or neon plates. My daughter discovered a rather cool trick: neon yellow paper cups, decorated with yellow highlighter. The highlighter is invisible in normal light, but under the black light UV… it glows! She put a cute secret message on all the cups for her party, which the other kids really loved.

LIGHTS

Without a good black light UV light that spreads across a wide area, your glow in the dark party will not happen. The glow in the dark paints and decor items need to ‘charge’ with the light. Simply Sparkles offer a great black light UV for hire that can flood a large sitting room or garage with black light UV, and additional bulbs for other areas like a snack table. We have an additional two strobe lights for more UV effects. The main light can be set to move with your music’s beat, or to stay still during party games.

Check out some more great glow in the dark party ideas on Pinterest (seriously, how did we survive party planning without Pinterest???).

CONTACT Simply Sparkles party light hire if you would like to hire our glow in the dark lights, other disco lights and sound system. If you would like to commission a painting similar to the Space one or any other theme for your child’s bedroom or your theme party, please contact artist Marguerite MacRobert: margueritemacrobert@gmail.com


Forget the algorithm and dance to the beat!

Spend too much time in front of your computer? Maybe it’s time to close put the laptop to better use with all your playlists on iTunes or Spotify, and hook up to our bluetooth speakers? Just a thought… you can be a grown up for the rest of your life, but no one said you had to be mature ALL the time!

Check out our lights and sound packages. Easy to set up, with something for every kind of party. Free delivery in Somerset West and Strand, or collect your party-in-a-box yourself.