This summer, one of my most popular events was a black light party. While it was one of my more expensive programs, all the teens had a lot of fun and have asked for a repeat next year.
The hardest part for me was finding the lights. My first thought had been to buy them, but after finding a thread on Teen Librarians Facebook where someone mentioned renting lights, I change to that idea. Locally, I was out of luck, but I did discover a online rental place called Pro Lighting Rental. They would send the lights to me 2 days before the event and then include a shipping label so I could ship them back. Knowing I was in a larger room, I went with 6 of the Eliminator UV lights ($17 a piece). However, they are pretty powerful, and I could have gotten away with 5 lights easily.
The rest of the party is where you can go big or small. Since it was a summer event, I was okay going big. That meant buying UV gaffer tape, lots of glow sticks, and even making glow-in-the dark lemonade. None of that is really necessary, although, does help make the room pop more. I will admit that the lemonade didn’t really glow that much for me, but that could have been something that I did. Most of the teens didn’t like it though, so next year I’ll skip it.
I had a variety of games set-up, but the ones that the teens gravitated to the most were Twister, the “confession” walls, and the t-shirt decorating. I had some bowling and ring-toss set up, but the teens spent at most about 10 minutes doing these activities. However, they did get creative and make a hot-potato game using one of the glow-stick cages I bought. I did have some issues with the t-shirt paint running out, so next time I’ll either buy more or have all the teen do their T-shirts at once so there’s a lesser chance of a few teens hogging the paint. (I did ask teens to bring their own shirts so I didn’t have to guess sizes.)
I will warn, that prep time depending on how big you go can take a while. It took me and 2 other teen volunteers about 1.5 – 2 hours to get everything set-up. The hardest part, admittedly, was getting the windows all covered up. We tried to use garbage bags, but they were too thin, so we used construction paper instead. It was a tedious process, but one that paid off for sure as the darker it is the better the UV lights work. Even knowing the set-up better, I still imagine it’ll take me about an hour or so to do the set-up.
All in all, this event was a great success and I can’t wait to do it again next year.
Length: 90 minutes
# of Teens: 44
Cost: about $150 – 170 with light rental
- Neon posterboard (twister)
- UV Gaffer Tape (1 roll, bowling alley & Twister border)
- Twister Board (although you could make your own)
- Empty Water or Liter bottles (bowling & ring toss)
- white paper or poster board (confession walls)
- yellow highlighters (confession walls; other colors don’t show up as nice)
- neon shirt paint
- Glow sticks/bracelets
- Neon balloons (decoration)
- Tonic Water (lemonade)