How to Make a Black Light Party

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Many party novelties glow eerily under a black light.
Many party novelties glow eerily under a black light. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Ultraviolet lights, also known as black lights, can create a psychedelic ambiance for a '70s disco, '80s rave or scary Halloween party. Any material containing phosphors, such as a white T-shirt or piece of paper, will glow brightly in the UV light. Phosphors are substances that absorb UV radiation, which cannot be seen, and convert it to visible light.

Things You'll Need

  • Ultraviolet light bulbs
  • Petroleum jelly
  • White paper
  • Highlighters
  • Tonic water
  • Glow-in-the-dark tape
  • Glow sticks
  • Glow-in-the-dark body paint (optional)

Purchase enough UV light bulbs to replace all of the regular light fixtures in the party area. Black lights produce a dim purple light, but the real illumination in the room will come from the people and objects glowing under the black light. Put a black light in each corner of the room to trigger the phosphors from every angle.

Line the edges of furniture, walls and any other major objects in the room with glow-in-the-dark tape. This helps illuminate the room with a glow and ensures that guests are not groping blindly in the dark.

Hang signs around the room with highlighter on white paper. Use the glowing messages to guide guests toward the food, drinks, music or restrooms.

Serve drinks with tonic water, which contains the phosphorescent compound quinine. For nonalcoholic beverages, make ice cubes with half tonic and half regular water. Guests will be drinking glowing beverages all night.

Create a secret message center where guests can write messages with petroleum jelly. The message will glow under a black light and disappear under regular florescent lights.

Provide glow sticks and body or finger paint that guests can use to decorate themselves. Many online stores, such as blacklight.com, offer several colors of glow-in-the-dark paint that is safe to use on the skin. Party and novelty stores also offer a wide selection of glow-in-the-dark party supplies for every occasion.

Tips & Warnings

  • Petroleum jelly and body paint can be messy, so be sure to have these things near a sink and have plenty of soap and towels on hand.
  • Do not apply glow-in-the-dark tape to furniture whose finish might be damaged.
  • According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, recent studies have shown that prolonged exposure to any type of UV radiation can have harmful effects on the body.

References

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