How to Throw a Glow Party

Three Parts:Stocking up on SuppliesPreparing for Your PartyThrowing Your Party

One of the hottest new trends at house parties, fraternity ragers, and birthday bashes around the world is the glow party! At this type of party, guests are encouraged to wear fluorescent clothing and glow-in-the dark accessories which illuminate under the glow of black lights to create an eerie multicolored experience. If you're looking to throw the perfect glow party, a little bit of planning can go a long way, so see Step 1 below to get started with the perfect shopping list and set-up guide!

Part 1
Stocking up on Supplies

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    Get black lights. If there's one thing that comes to mind when someone hears the words "glow party", it's usually this! Black lights give a fluorescent glow to brightly-colored objects and clothing, turning your party's dance floor into a whirlwind of color. While black lights aren't required for a great glow party (you can always just use standard glow-in-the-dark decorations and accessories), they can take an ordinary glow party to the next level, so consider buying or borrowing some.
    • Note that there are specialty sites online which offer both black lights and decorations designed to glow under their light for sale (like, for instance, this site). The cheapest black light options will cost you less than $10.
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    Get glow sticks. Another glow party staple is the glow stick. This accessory which can come as a plastic "tube" or as a flexible, wearable band, contains a mild chemical reaction which, when activated, provides hours of glow time. Try wearing normal glow sticks around your neck as pendants or wearing skinny, flexible glow sticks around your wrists as bracelets.
    • Glow sticks are quite cheap — a pack of 25 12 hour glow sticks can cost you as low as £10.[1]
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    Get fluorescent pens and paper. To give your party a DIY feel, try making your own decorations from brightly-colored paper and pens. Construction paper that's specifically labeled as fluorescent will usually glow under a black light, while most standard "neon"-style highlighters and markers will glow as well.
    • Both fluorescent paper and markers are cheap, costing only a few dollars per pack. To make sure that your decorations glow under a black light, you may want to bring a black light with you to the store to test them.
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    Get glowing lights/LEDs. Another great addition to your glow party are ordinary glowing light decorations. These usually come in the form of standard bulbs or LEDs. Today, LEDs are fairly cheap and can often be programmed to flash different colors or cycle smoothly through a range of color, making them a great choice for your party if you're buying new. However, this is also a great chance to use old Christmas or holiday decorations that have sat unused in your garage for months, so don't feel the need to buy fancy new LEDs if you have other glowing decorations handy.
    • The price of a string of Christmas-style lights usually varies based on its length. For instance, 100-light strings may cost $10 or less, while 300-light or longer strands can cost upwards of $20.
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    Get cheap, brightly-colored accessories. If you're able to find them for a good price, brightly-colored plastic sunglasses, bracelets, rings, or other accessories make great party favors at a glow party. Cheapness is key here, however — you don't want to break the bank on supplies that may be dropped, lost, stepped on in the dark, so if you're going for this option, be sure to look for cheap plastic varieties.
    • As an example of what you might want to get, a pack of a dozen plastic 80s-style neon sunglasses (which look like Ray-Bans but have bright plastic sides) can sell for as low as $6 or $7 dollars.
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    Get body paint. If you're looking to get really wild, you may want to consider painting yourself with glow paint or even offering it to your guests. Glow-in-the-dark body paint is often available from specialty stores like costume shops, Halloween supply stores, and online. It can be trickier to get your hands on than your average glow party gear, but, used correctly, it gives unbelievable results.
    • Though it's sometimes hard to find, glow-in-the-dark body paint isn't usually terribly expensive — a decent-sized multicolor set is usually $20 or less.
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    Get some great tunes. Parties and music are like bread and butter — they go great together. If you're looking to recreate the look and feel of a "rave" at your glow party, you may want to go with classic house/techno or modern EDM (electronic dance music). However, it's possible to throw a great glow party with almost any sort of playlist, so as long as you've got great music (and a way to play it a reasonably high volume), you're set!
    • Try to have a playlist of music picked out before your party begins. It can be fun to get together with your friends and pick out songs for your party, and when you're done, you'll be able to simply set your playlist on shuffle during your party and forget about it.
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    Don't forget food and refreshments. Any party needs something to eat and drink — guests who are dancing, talking, and having a good time will eventually work up an appetite and a thirst, so having a selection of food and drink available is always a good idea. For glow parties, you may want to stick to finger food, as it can be tricky to mess with a plate and silverware in the dark.
    • "Party platters" loaded with snacks like cheese, cured meats, and crackers can usually be found pre-packaged at grocery stores. These can be quite convenient and usually cost $20 or less (depending on their size). However, your guests will also appreciate it if you prepare food for them, so it's up to you.
    • For your drinks, you'll want to use cheap plastic cups, rather than glasses or other "nice" cups. Cheap plastic cups don't have to be washed after the party and you don't have to worry about any of your rowdy guests breaking them, making them the obvious choice.

Part 2
Preparing for Your Party

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    Send out invitations well in advance. After you decide to have a glow party, you'll want to invite your guests fairly soon — the earlier you invite people, the more likely they'll be not to have a schedule conflict, so getting a jump on your invitations is a great idea. If you're having an intimate get-together, you may want to send individual invitations to your guests in the mail, but if you're throwing a big party, making an event on social media and inviting your friends that way is usually the quickest, easiest option.
    • It can be a smart idea to ask your guests to RSVP ahead of time. Doing this allows you to get an approximate head count, which will let you know how much food and drink and how many party favors to get.
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    Recruit willing friends to help you set up. Depending on how extensive your decoration plans for your glow party are, you may want to start setting up anywhere from a week beforehand up to a few hours before your party. Regardless of how big your party is, it can be a smart idea to get a friend or two to help you set up. Having other people handy shortens your total set-up time and gives you the advantage of having multiple perspectives when it comes to making decorating decisions. For example, your friend may think of a really ingenious way to set up your LED lights, like stringing them overhead as a mock "ceiling".
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    "Black out" your party area. For a glow party, it's important to make sure that a minimum of light is able to make it into the main party area where you have most of your glowing decorations set up. In other words, the party area with most of the glowing decorations should be as close to pitch-black as possible. If this area is in the basement or attic, you may have very little work to do. However, if there are windows, you'll want to cover them to prevent any outside light from getting in.
    • Black plastic garbage bags make a great low-cost solution for covering your windows.
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    Set up your decorations. Next, set up your glowing decorations. The exact way that you set up your decorations is up to you, but, generally, you'll want to set up your black lights in the "blacked out" party area so that people in this area will light up with a fluorescent glow. You may also want to decorate the outside of your building with lights to welcome your guests inside and put up glowing decorations in other parts of your house as well.
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    Get permission if you plan to throw a real rager. For parties with a few friends, you usually don't have to worry about getting in serious trouble — even if you're too loud for your neighbors, most people will feel comfortable coming over and asking you to keep things down if your party is small and well-behaved. On the other hand, if you're throwing an enormous block party and you haven't gotten permission from your neighbors, there's a reasonable possibility that the police may show up. To avoid this, be sure to talk to all of your neighbors beforehand. Let them know the date and time of the party, give them your number so they can contact you if things get too loud, and let them voice any concerns they have.
    • In addition, if you're throwing a big party, you may want to get a noise permit to legally protect yourself. The rules surrounding noise permits vary from locality to locality. For instance, in some locations, noise permits are required for parties with more than a certain number of people.[2]

Part 3
Throwing Your Party

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    Prepare any food or refreshments before your guests arrive. Try to have your food and drinks ready by the time your first guests arrive (no later than the stated time that the party will start, which is generally when the earliest guests may show up). Having your food and drink ready to serve ahead of time means that you'll have something to offer when the very first guests show up (which can be an awkward time, since it's just you and them). It also means that you won't have to rush to finish any last-minute food or drink preparations once guests begin to arrive in earnest, which frees you up to welcome people, start conversations, and be a great host!
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    Lead the guests in glow-in-the-dark games. Once your guests start to arrive, they'll usually start to talk to each other naturally and you won't have to supervise them to make sure that everyone has a good time. However, if things seem awkward or the party is getting a little "slow", it can be a great idea to start some glow party games to help get things rolling. For instance, basic kid's games like tag, hide-and-seek, and charades can take strange new terms in glowing, blacked-out garages. You may also want to try a few racy ice breakers like truth or dare, spin the bottle, or "Never Have I Ever" — it's all up to you.
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    Keep your party playlist spinning. Once enough guests have arrived that most of the guests are talking to each other without your help, you'll probably want to start your music. The volume you'll want to play it at will vary depending on the sort of party you're throwing. For instance, if your glow party is more of a casual get-together than a serious dance party, you may want to keep it somewhat subdued so that it can serve as background music. On the other hand, if you're trying to get people out on the dance floor, crank it!
    • Unless you've got a designated DJ, you'll probably want to keep your playlist on shuffle. Having the music stop after every song while you try to pick a new one can make things awkward for your dancers.
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    Let your guests get fresh air if they need it. If your party is packed with guests (and especially if there's dancing), you'll want to make sure that your guests know how and where to get some fresh air. The cramped, sweaty confines of a crowded house party are the last place someone wants to be after an hour of dancing, so make sure your guests have access to a porch, patio, or other outside area to gather and cool off as needed.
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    Encourage your guests to drink lots of water. For big, active parties with lots of dancing, hydration is a must. Make sure that your guests have easy access to clean, clear water in addition to whatever other refreshments you're offering and encourage them to drink after they've been dancing for a while. Dehydration can cause people to overheat and faint, which, at a crowded party, can seriously endanger them (not to mention put a damper on the festivities).
    • Access to water is especially important for party-goers who have taken ecstasy (MDMA/"Molly") or another party drug. In addition to the inherent legal and physical dangers of using these types of drugs (which are well-documented)[3], they can also easily lead to deadly cases of dehydration and exhaustion, so it's important to offer lots of water and rest opportunities if this is occurring at your party. Even publications written by drug aficionados will recommend this.[4]
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    Know the signs of exhaustion. As noted above, injury or death resulting from exhaustion is no laughing matter. If you're throwing a party with lots of dancing (and especially the possibility of drug use), it's very important to be able to identify the signs of serious exhaustion so that you can keep your guests safe, happy, and healthy. If you think one of your guests is suffering from exhaustion, move them to a cool area, give them water (not alcohol) to drink, and, if they don't get better, call an ambulance. It's better to be safe than to risk the possibility of your guest dying. Knowing the following symptoms of exhaustion may help you save a life:[5]
    • Confusion
    • Dizziness/vertigo
    • Weakness
    • Fainting
    • Headache
    • Cramps
    • Pale skin
    • Nausea


  • Use black light and encourage guests to wear at least one white article of clothing or neon clothing.
  • Have some cool music to dance all night to.
  • Have between 2-4 glow items per person for optimal glow potential.
  • As a suggestion, if you have a pool, put glowsticks in the pool and watch them glow.
  • White cotton clothing and neon shades will work the best under a black light.


  • Be careful when playing games in the dark.
  • Always have an adult figure at your party. Sure, it sounds lame, but a party can easily get out of hand in a matter of minutes. Have a quick reliable way to contact an adult just in case something goes wrong.

Things You'll Need

  • Glow sticks
  • Glow in the dark hair gel
  • Glow in the dark body ink
  • Glow in the dark glasses
  • Glow Glam bags (optional)
  • Blacklights (optional)
  • Refreshments and/or food
  • Party supplies

Article Info

Categories: Theme Parties