Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How to Throw a Blacklight Party

First of all, I am quite sad that I only added one blog entry for the entire month of June!  But on the bright side, I spent that time gathering material and information for more blog entries!

I figure I'll pick up with one of the first events that occurred this summer... Rachel's Blacklight Party.

You might remember her glowing invitations which were inexpensive and easy to make (simply printed in black ink on neon printer paper) -

Blacklight Party Invites

Unfortunately, I didn't get to capture as many details as I wanted from the party because we set it all up during the day, but it didn't get dark until right about when the party started... and things started getting moved around.  I did get some party pictures and video, though.

When planning for the party, I did a lot of research on blacklights to try and figure out how many we'd need, but there honestly wasn't that much information out there (mostly people who have blacklight bedrooms).  I figured I'd contribute my new-learned knowledge to those who are also looking to plan a blacklight party.

We spent the most money on blacklights.  Because the party was outside, we needed more lighting than if it were inside.  We spent several nights testing different blacklights so that we could get the perfect arrangement to create the best glow.  We found that our best investment was in four 48" bulbs which we put into two different shop lamps from Home Depot.  The shop lamps cost $15 each, and the bulbs cost $12 each (2 bulbs per lamp).  So, for roughly $40, we had four times as much light as the 22-inch bulbs sold in the casing for $24 at Lowe's.  We hung the shop lamps over our covered dance floor.  For our extended dance floor that wasn't covered, we extended 24-inch bulbs (found for $18 each at Walmart) over the side of our porch above so that the people below would be illuminated.  We also replaced all of our outdoor lights with blacklights.


For decoration, I bought blacklight rope in four different colors from blacklight.com to string over the dance floor.  I also purchased 2" blacklight ribbon which we wrapped around the poles outside.  I purchased blacklight balloons from blacklight.com, as well as LED light-up balloons from coolglow.com, and we inflated them with a helium tank from Party City.  We had a bit of trouble with the balloons... the light on the LED balloons is kind of heavy, so you have to really inflate the balloons so that they will float (and even then, they won't float for long).  And with the blacklight balloons, we thought we'd just let them float on the ceiling, but they all ended up escaping... we should've tied them down.


Our cheapest and most effective decorations was washable neon paint purchased from Michael's.  The day before the party, Rachel and I flung paint all over the ground, creating a cool splattered effect that really glowed underneath the blacklight.  At just $2 a bottle, this was a great, inexpensive decoration for an outside party (it washed off easily with a hose and a scrub brush).


One of our most important purchases was the DJ - without good, loud music, a blacklight party is lame.  We hired my friend from school who DJs.  They brought their own lights that were synced to the music which they were able to project onto the moon bounce for a cool effect.


The dance floor was actually something we already had... Rachel's practice floor for tap in our basement.  My dad had built it out of the plenty of leftover bamboo flooring we already had.  He placed it on top of foam mats which was good for the basement garage, but not so good for the ground.  It rained towards the end of the party, and the dance floor became one giant slip-n-slide.  After one girl busted it, we had to take apart the dance floor and move it.... it was good for the first half of the party, at least!


We purchased two moonbounces for the party... well, one bouncy house and one inflatable slide.  The slide turned out to not be very fun dry, but became very exciting once it began to rain.




All in all, I think it was a fun and memorable party, and the kids seemed to be having a great time.

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