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A neon party is a pretty-much guaranteed way to create an unforgettable experience for kids – as long as you know what you’re doing. It might not be the most straightforward party to host, but planning is almost as much fun as being a guest at the party!
In this guide, I walk you through the essentials for planning and hosting a brilliant neon party for kids and teens. I cover everything from setting up the party space to fun activities and even neon-inspired food and drink ideas. Ready to get started?
HOW TO SET UP A NEON PARTY
The main thing to consider is how easy it is to ensure the party space will be dark enough to maximise the neon glow. By effectively blocking out natural light, you’ll create the ideal environment for your neon decorations and accessories to truly work their magic, mesmerizing your party guests with their brilliant glow.
Here are some options for blacking out the light from windows at home:
- Blackout curtains or blinds. You might still have one, like this blackout blind, left over from the baby years.
- Blackout film that you stick to windows and remove easily afterwards. In my opinion, blackout film is the perfect way to make a space dark enough for really for creating an immersive glow-in-the-dark party. Try this best-selling Lifetree blackout window film.
- Thick, dark-coloured blankets. You will need to secure them over the windows sufficiently using strong tape or tension rods, ensuring they are tightly sealed around the edges to prevent light from leaking.
My preference is to use blackout film. As long as you cut it to size and apply it properly (it really isn’t hard to do), you will achieve 100% light-blocking.
I’d suggest you do a trial run with whatever you plan to use to avoid a neon party fail.
You also need to ensure plenty of room for everyone to move around without tripping over one another. One of the most fun things about a neon party is seeing all the neon darting around the room.
Next up, you need black lights. Black lights are the magic that makes the neon glow.
In case you are curious about how they work – They have LED black light bulbs that emit UVA ultraviolet rays that are invisible to the human eye. The rays make neon and fluorescents light up and pop their colours. Like I said, magic!
Here are some options for backlights:
£17.99 (£9.00 / count)
£23.99 (£23.99 / count)
£13.99 (£7.00 / count)
HOW TO WORK OUT HOW MANY BLACKLIGHTS YOU NEED
The amount of blacklight needed to make a glow-in-the-dark party space depends on several factors, including the size of the party space, the intensity of the blacklight, and the desired level of glow.
The aim is to create an immersive, glowing environment that brings your neon decorations, clothing, and accessories to life. Go through the following steps to determine how many blacklights you need:
- Measure your space: Determine the square footage of the area where the party will take place. This will help you understand how much coverage you need.
- Blacklight wattage and coverage: Blacklights come in various sizes and wattages, and each light covers a specific area. LED blacklights vary greatly in coverage, so check the manufacturer’s specifications to see the coverage area for each type of light.
- Calculate the number of blacklights needed: Divide the square footage of your party space by the coverage area of your chosen blacklights. This will estimate the number of blacklights you need to make your party glow in the dark. It’s generally better to have slightly more coverage than necessary to ensure an even glow throughout the space.
- Consider placement and angles: Properly positioning your blacklights will maximise their effectiveness. Place them around the room at various heights and angles, ensuring they cover the walls and floor. If possible, use multiple blacklights to minimize shadows and dark spots.
Just a quick point on safety: Black lights are safe. However, they can get warm, so you must ensure that an adult is present to keep an eye on them, especially for parties with younger kids as guests.
GLOW PARTY DECORATIONS
Coming up with a party decor plan is where the fun really starts. The decorations are how you transform the space from a darkened room into a neon fantasy world. You can go as minimal or over-the-top as you like.
Here are some ideas for neon party supplies:
- Neon balloon arch kit
- Hanging decorations
- Spray paint your own party art mural (on a white sheet, not a wall!!)
- Neon table decorations
- Glow stars and neon stickers
Here is a roundup of some brilliant glow-in-the-dark and neon party decorations.
£7.9912/06/2023 02:08 am GMT
Set the tone for the party with neon-themed invitations. Ensure you let guests (and their parents) know about the dress code and if you will provide accessories for the kids.
NEON FACE PAINTING, BODY ART AND ACCESSORIES
If you want to go all out, you could hire a professional face painter or recruit a talented friend to create stunning, glow-in-the-dark designs using neon face and body paint. This is bound to be a major hit among the kids.
Alternatively, stock up on the neon face and body paint for older kids and teens.
Temporary neon tattoos are a brilliant alternative or addition to face and body painting.
Take it back to the ’80s with neon glow sticks, bracelets and sunglasses for the kids to wear.
Here is a roundup of some really fun neon and glow-in-the-dark face and body paints, body art and accessories.
100 Neon Glowsticks with 122 Connectors for Bracelets Necklaces, 8 Inch Glow Sticks Party Packs for Kids (Mixed Colours)
£13.99£11.9912/06/2023 12:58 am GMT
£5.99 (£9.98 / 100 ml)12/06/2023 01:08 am GMT
£8.95£7.99 (£1.33 / count)12/06/2023 01:18 am GMT
FUN KIDS’ NEON PARTY ACTIVITIES AND GAMES
You will need some fun glow-in-the-dark activities and games to really get the party started. Here are some ideas:
1. NEON DANCE PARTY
Create a playlist of upbeat tunes and encourage kids to show off their best dance moves under the black lights.
2. NEON CRAFT STATION
Set up a table with neon-coloured paper, stickers, markers, and other craft supplies for kids to make their own glowing creations.
3. GLOW-IN-THE-DARK BOWLING
Set up empty, glow-in-the-dark decorated water bottles as pins and use a small glowing ball for guests to knock down the pins in a neon-themed bowling alley. Create glowing pins and balls by covering them using UV tape.
4. GLOW-IN-THE-DARK DODGEBALL
Clearly, only if you have enough space!
5. NEON PIÑATA
Decorate the piñata with neon paint and accessories. Fill it with neon confetti and put glow-in-the-dark tape on the stick.
6. GLOW STICK RING TOSS
Place glow stick bracelets on the ground to form a target, and have players take turns tossing larger glow stick necklaces to encircle the bracelets.
7. NEON RELAY RACE
Divide guests into teams and have them race to pass a glow stick baton from one teammate to another, navigating a neon obstacle course in the process.
8. GLOW-IN-THE-DARK LIMBO
Use a long glow stick or a glowing pool noodle as the limbo bar, and challenge guests to bend and contort their bodies to pass under the bar without touching it.
9. GLOW-IN-THE-DARK SCAVENGER HUNT
Hide various glow-in-the-dark items throughout the party space, and have guests race to find and collect as many as they can within a designated time.
10. GLOW STICK DANCE OFF
Give each guest a glow stick to hold or wear, then have a dance competition under the black lights, with the most creative or enthusiastic dancer winning a neon prize.
11. GLOWING MUSICAL CHAIRS
Turn a classic party game into a glowing party game! Arrange chairs in a circle with a glowing item on each seat, and have players walk around the chairs while music plays, removing one glowing item and one chair each round until only one player remains.
12. NEON PICTIONARY
Provide guests with glow-in-the-dark markers or chalk and a large, dark-coloured surface to draw on, then have them take turns drawing pictures related to a given theme while others try to guess what they’re drawing.
13. GLOW-IN-THE-DARK FREEZE DANCE
Play upbeat music and encourage guests to dance with their glow sticks, then randomly pause the music, prompting everyone to freeze in place until the music starts again.
14. NEON BALLOON POP
Fill neon-coloured balloons with small, glow-in-the-dark prizes, and have guests take turns popping the balloons to reveal their glowing rewards.
GLOW-IN-THE-DARK FOOD AND DRINK IDEAS
There are two ways to go about creating glow-in-the-dark party food.
The first is to use actual edible glow-in-the-dark ingredients, and the second is to use accessories to make the food stand out.
Firstly, how to make food actually glow! It blows my mind that you can actually create neon food that glows in the dark, but it turns out that you can.
I’ve found that Etsy is the best place to find glow-in-the-dark ingredients, so here is a little roundup of some of the most fun. I’ve also included some ideas for accessories to make food light up.
Here are some creative ideas for glow-in-the-dark party food.
- Glowing Frosting Cupcakes: Make cupcakes with neon-coloured frosting, and use edible glow-in-the-dark glitter or sprinkles to create a dazzling effect under the blacklights.
- Neon Jello Cups: Prepare brightly coloured jello in individual cups and add a small glow stick for an illuminated treat.
- Tonic Water Ice Cubes: Freeze tonic water in ice cube trays and use the glowing ice cubes to chill fruit punch or other beverages. The quinine in tonic water causes it to glow under UV light.
- Glowing candy floss: Offer guests candy floss wrapped around glow sticks or these special glowing candy floss sticks, creating an illuminated treat perfect for a neon party.
- Neon Fruit Skewers: Assemble fruit skewers with various vibrant fruits like pineapple, watermelon, and kiwi.
- Glowing Popcorn: Serve popcorn in individual black or neon-coloured paper cones, and add a touch of edible glow-in-the-dark powder or glitter to create a subtle shimmer under the blacklights.
- Neon cupcakes: Prepare cupcakes with neon-coloured icing, and use edible glow-in-the-dark glitter or sprinkles for an extra touch of magic.
- Glowing drinks: Make kid-friendly mocktails with tonic water, which glows under black light due to its quinine content. Add a glow-in-the-dark straw for added wow factor.
TIME TO GET PLANNING
By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to planning and hosting a memorable and fun neon party for kids. Happy planning!
Hello, I’m Luci, founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, I have combined my experience as a mum, journalist and shopping editor to create useful guides and lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.