How to DIY and play a life size game of HUMAN glow in the dark PacMan!

Ever wished you could play a classic arcade game like PacMan, only life-size, with actual people? At Simply Sparkles, we love to make parties extra fun, and we’re always up for a creative challenge, like a real-life version of a game like PacMan which people can actually play. Then we like to level it up, with our super cool UV blacklight so it really has an arcade game vibe. Bonus points if we can do most of it with normal household supplies, something recycled, and on a budget!

So, when my son asked for a ‘computer games party without computers’ we rose to the challenge and as PacMan was back in thanks to the movie Game On … the rest was history! We also made a string laser maze in the garden, and had Plants vs Zombies attached to balloons that they could shoot with nerf guns. It was awesome.

Suitable for ages 5 and up, you can play this as a cool party game or even in your own household if you have a minimum of 3 people: one PacMan, at least one ghost and a person to referee and change the music (or do human sound effects, if you are my husband!). The maximum number of people depends a lot on the size space you are dealing with and the number of kids you can handle, as it gets fairly exciting and chaotic at times. We found for younger kids in a living room situation, 3 ghosts and 1 PacMan was the upper limit, so we made sure to allocate turns and had the spectators on the sofa really giggling as they waited for their turn. This can be almost as fun to watch as it is to play!

Supplies for making a life-size, human glow in the dark PacMan game:

  • A4 neon / fluorescent coloured card: 2 x yellow, 2 x pink, 2 x orange, 2 x blue/green
  • A4 white paper
  • A5 black paper or round black stickers (about 1cm or 1/2 inch wide) – or a black marker but I think cutouts looked nice
  • string or wool
  • hole punch
  • a side plate (to mark the top of the ghost shape and the PacMan)
  • an egg cup or small glass, like a sherry/highball glass (to mark the eye shapes)
  • a small circle stencil or other round object (approx 1cm or 1inch wide) to mark the eye pupils
  • scissors
  • a pencil
  • masking tape (the kind used to mask things while painting- not duct tape) approximately 2cm / 1 inch wide (white or ordinary cream-coloured painters tape – it needs to glow in the dark and thankfully the standard-coloured one does). You’ll probably need the whole roll or even more, so keep it inexpensive, and it mustn’t mess up your floors. We have hardwood floors and masking tape was fine. I have no idea what works on carpets, sorry.
  • plastic bottle tops like milk bottle tops – as many as you can get. We save ours for up-cycling and recycling projects so we had a big jar full. If you don’t have time to save them up, ask your friends, or you can use paper dots. Bright coloured lids that will glow are helpful, or you can paint them or stick on inexpensive office supply dot stickers in neon – those guys glow! People also use coloured ball-pool balls, but the less they can fly around the room if knocked, the better! You need lots in one colour and then a handful in another colour to be the ones to tell PacMan he can hunt the ghosts.
  • PacMan sound-effect music and a device to play it on, or a willing beep-beeper person who understands the game and has a good sense of fun.
  • Some pieces of fluro paper or painted jar lids for the ‘turn around’ dots – about 4-5, depending on the size of your space.
  • A clean floor you can put tape on – tiles, wood, cement all work well.
  • a bag or other container (a small bucket works well) for PacMan to collect his/her dots with

OPTIONAL EXTRAS to LEVEL UP

  • UV blacklight to make it all glow in the dark – we recommend the package Simply Sparkles hires out, which has two good par can flood lights and one bar light. This way you can have the light coming from different angles in the room and it makes everything really pop.
  • larger dots (paper ones or jam jar lids) with printed out pictures of cherries and other bonus points items from the PacMan game. Very big dots (paper plates work well) for PacMan to be able to chase the ghosts back.
  • Score board: For older kids and adults, you can up the challenge and keep a score of how many of the dots and the bonus items each PacMan gets on their turn, and keep score on a chalk board. This works best if there aren’t so many players that it will take ALL day to each have a turn, but you could do it on a team basis. Really don’t do this with children under 10 as they truly have enough fun just playing it and randomly collecting the dots, and they tend to be unhappy with competitions at parties and start arguing.

Making the PacMan characters

If look at the first photo on this blog, you’ll get an idea of what you’re after. Use your plate to make a circle in the yellow card for PacMan, cut it out, then measure out a cake slice piece to cut out for the mouth. There are loads of free PacMan colouring in pages on the net you can use as a template if you aren’t keen on drawing your own. Try this French blog for making PacMan and ghost cushions – she has a really great template for both. Stick a small black dot on for the eye and you have PacMan’s dear familiar face.

Use the same plate to draw the top half of a circle for the top of the ghosts, then use a ruler to draw side lines, and make a wavy line at the bottom (You could free-hand. I happened to have a wavy line stencil ruler, but you could make a quick template from card to keep it uniform and neat – use your sherry or highball glass rim to mark the curves of your wavy line). The ghost eyes are a different size and type from Pacman’s. Use your highball/ sherry glass to measure the white circles, then cut them out, and check the position before sticking them on. Cut the black pupils (or draw them on with a black marker or use black stickers). Try varying their direction so they look expressive and interesting like the ones in the photo.

Once you have two ghosts in each colour, and two PacMan characters, you need to put them back to back and punch holes on the sides, nearish to the top. You then thread string/ wool through the holes, to make a little harness to hold the faces on the chest and back of each player. You can adjust the length by trying it out on your child/ person of a suitable size who will be playing, then tie and cut off loose ends. You can get the idea here – the arrow shows you where the string holes are, as the glow light makes it a bit hard to see:

where to place the strings on your ghost/pacman

TIP: if you plan to play this on more than one occasion or with lots of kids and you want it to really last, you can laminate each piece and use a hold punch and metal hole-liners if you have the tool to put them in with. The plain card with holes last very well for one party’s set of games, but help/ remind children to put them on and take them off gently as they won’t survive overly rough treatment.

How to set up a human PacMan game floor layout

If you are more comfortable with knowing exactly how this will turn out, then you can measure your floor, get some pictures of a PacMan game screen off the internet, and plan the whole thing with exact measurements, factoring in the width of your masking tape. If this makes you happy and you have a lot of time, have fun! If you are shorter on patience and time, like me, read on…

What I did: Got a pic of a PacMan game on my laptop to refer to. Started in the middle of the room with the rectangle big enough for one person to stand and turn in, with an opening big enough for two feet right next to each other, plus a bit extra. I then taped out pathways fairy intuitively in concentric rectangles around the original one, occasionally referring to my laptop screen for inspiration to keep things varied – a couple of awkward twists and turns and dead ends add to the fun.

It is super important for game play that there is not an easy, direct path straight from the middle rectangle to the outside opening. Hopefully referring to your chosen image of a typical PacMan screen will help you see this.

You can see the result in the picture above. Notice the ordinary-coloured masking tape is glowing a nice purple under the black light UV.

To finish off, enclose the whole lot in a big rectangle with an opening that connects to one of the paths. The best part is, apart from wasting a bit of tape, if something goes wrong with your design, it’s easy enough to pull up the tape and reapply it or else start that bit over – just keep stepping back to look at the big picture and checking your paceman screen/ image for reference.

You can do this the day before your party – if your tape works, it can stay down for a day or even two. Just remember to use masking tape and not duct tape and your floor should be fine. If you’re not sure with your specific type of flooring, please check in a hidden spot.

TIP: for teenagers or adults, check the pathways are wide enough for bigger sized feet to move through, though making fairly tight turns is part of the fun!

Getting ready to play human PacMan!

Once you’ve done your pathway, and you’re close to the start time, place your dots (bottle tops or whatever you are using) around your maze. It’s great if you can put them fairly evenly spaced around the whole thing, as it looks like the real game and makes it challenging, but for younger kids, or if you are just short of dots, you can spread them out a bit more.

Decide ahead of time how teams will work, especially if you have lots of kids or a tricky number. You can adapt. Best case scenario, we found, was 3 ghosts to one PacMan, but you could mess about with the ratio depending on your space and the age of the players, etc.

  1. Give each ghost their ghost ‘harness’ to put on, so they have one ghost picture on their chest/tummy and one on their back. Do the same for the first PacMan.
  2. Give PacMan the container or bag which he or she is going to put their dots in.
  3. Get your sound or sound-effects person ready to go.
  4. Switch on your UV blacklights.
  5. Close your curtains and switch off extra lights.
  6. Explain the rules to your players and demonstrate the walking technique.

How to move in a game of human, life- sized PacMan

You can’t walk in a normal way like the kid in the front of this game (see picture below). An important rule is that you have to keep your knees together at all times and shuffle, one foot in front of the other, as if your legs started at your knees. This slows everyone down a bit, keeping up the challenge level, and makes you move a bit like you are in a pixelated old school arcade game. It also makes it more silly and fun.

From a safety perspective, you also don’t want people attempting to run in a small space with lots of tight turns.

Alternatives are tying older people’s knees together (not recommended for kids – they just need lots of reminding when things heat up). Use duct tape or soft, wide ribbon or scarves that won’t cut. Tie gently, not too tight. If your floor is not too hard and people are wearing long trousers, they can crawl, but then you need a bigger maze and lots of room for wider paths. You can get some people to hop with both feet, or make ghosts hop with one foot and PacMan with two. The hopping and shuffling and crawling have to happen without shooting the dots everywhere – though some of this is inevitable – a demonstration can be helpful.

How to play a game of human, life-size PacMan

  1. PacMan stands outside the maze, next to the opening, holding his/her bag or container.
  2. The ghosts are placed in the middle rectangle, all together in a row.
  3. Press play or start making slow beep-bop PacMan noises while everyone starts to move. PacMan has to pick up as many of the dots as he/she can while avoiding capture by the ghosts.
  4. The ghosts can move in a random way, as in the game, or try to head straight for PacMan to catch him. It helps to explain to the players that all the ghosts going after PacMan at once isn’t the most fun strategy as they all just end up in a row. Spreading out makes it more fun AND narrows down PacMan’s options for escape.
  5. If PacMan reaches one of the BIG/ WHITE dots (e.g. paper plates)Call out ‘GHOST HUNT!” and the chase reverses (use a different soundtrack here – faster bee-bops or a wazoo or something) and PacMan has a chance to capture the ghosts. This tends to be really fun and chaotic as the ghosts are suddenly the ones being hunted and have to hobble for their lives! The person doing the sound effects can use their judgement as to how long to let this go on before the tide turns against PacMan again, though the older the teens/adults, the more important it is for this to be on a proper timer of some kind for fairness. The little kids are usually so into it they don’t notice the time exactly and the adult running the game can tweak it a bit to keep things happy and running well.
  6. PacMan can not pick up any dots while chasing the ghosts.
  7. Captured ghosts have to return to their home base rectangle in the middle and wait to start over.
  8. As soon as time is up, call out ‘PACMAN HUNT!’ and go back to your original, slower beep-bop soundtrack. PacMan can return to picking up dots and bonus points. The ghosts return to chasing PacMan.
  9. If PacMan gets captured by a ghost, he or she loses a life and the game resets, with the ghosts returning to the middle while PacMan returns to the outer opening of the maze. 3 lives works well.
  10. At the end of PacMan’s third life, if you are keeping score, you count the number of tokens he/she has managed to collect and write it down next to that player or team’s name. Then while everyone is changing places, selecting a new PacMan and ghosts to have a go, replace all the tokens quickly. Players can help to make this quick. It’s not as painful as it sounds, as very few players pick up most of the dots because they are also trying to escape the ghosts. With very young kids, having something to do in between rounds, like a quick snack or drinks break, can buy you time.
  11. SCORING: If you are keeping score, and not just playing for fun with little kids, then you have to count the number of dots collected by PacMan at the end of his/her 3 lives, and keep track of the number of ghosts captured in their turn. Suggested simple scoring: 1 point: common colour dots, 2 points for bonus colour dots (e.g. cherries in the original game) and 5 points for ghosts. Write scores on a piece of paper or score board. Simply Sparkles have a great chalk board and chalk markers you can use (bonus that chalk markers glow under UV too!)

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to look at our other posts on glow in the dark parties and lawn games:

Glow in the dark party ideas

Grown up glow party ideas

How to play Kubb or viking chess

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!

Follow us on Facebook to see more great party ideas!

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!