My daughter, Emmie, has a November birthday. She requested a glow dance party to celebrate so I started googling local DJs and stumbled across Foam Palooza.
We took one look at their black light glowing foam party and suddenly, a regular glow dance party felt boring in comparison. Since it’s generally pretty cold in November, we went back and forth about how we could make this party happen. Emmie made the big decision to defer her party to May when we could do the glow foam and make it a half-birthday celebration instead.
Last weekend was the day we’d been waiting for and we were glad we waited! It was EPIC!
A few weeks before the party, we sent out invitations. I’m a sucker for a paper invitation but know that most prefer digital. In recent years, we’ve done a hybrid model where I’ll send parents a digital file of the paper invitation and give the paper version to the kids. I just love how it sets the tone for the party and gets everyone excited! For this party, I tied the invitation onto a glow stick necklace.
After the invitations were sent and the glow foam party was booked, I didn’t have any time to actually prepare for the party…it is May-cember/May-hem after all! So I found myself with only 6 days to pull everything together. Sleep is overrated, right??
When on a time crunch, I always start with a list and put things in order of importance. Here was my list for this party:
- Birthday sign
- Glow bar
- Cover the walls (more on this later!)
Birthday Sign: I just love hand-painting signs for parties! I love the imperfections and love how it makes the party feel personal. The canvas that I used has about 10 layers of paint on it because I just paint over it when I’m ready to make a new one. I mean, let’s be honest, what the heck would I do with it after the party anyway?!
Balloons: I ordered balloon lights to put inside regular balloons. But then I realized they had to be turned on individually by pulling a little white tab on them. Nobody has time to do that right before a party and I have no clue how long those little lights last. So black light balloons it was and I’m happy with the way they turned out! In my experience, balloon garlands last for weeks. That’s what’s so great about them! I can make them in advance and even use them after the party. These glow balloons are going to make an appearance at our swim team concession stand later this summer!
Glow Bar: My girls and I built this stand a couple of summers ago when they decided they wanted to make a doggie bakery stand and sell treats like a lemonade stand. Since then, this stand has had many incarnations! For this party, it was the glow bar! I painted another sign and then added just a few glow items. It was honestly an easy way to not have to buy $1000 worth of glow junk. Because of the way it was set up, it gave the impression of a substantial glow bar when in reality, it was a few tattoos, bracelets, glasses, and face paint. The face paint was the biggest hit! I brought out mirrors and brushes and they all went at it. Tattoos were also popular. The glasses and bracelets were minimally touched so I’d probably skip those next time.
Wall Covers: The single best decision I made during this planning was covering the walls…I just didn’t realize it at the time. Next time, it would be #1 on the to-do list! The party was in my backyard but I decided to set the food up in our basement. I didn’t want to decorate the whole basement so I kept everything contained in the smallest room of the basement, which also happens to be the room that you first enter. There’s a lot going on in that room because we use it as a shop room. Random power tools, gardening supplies, and extra paper goods all live in that room. I didn’t want to clear it out! So, I decided to buy a bunch of black plastic tablecloths (the only time you’ll ever see a plastic tablecloth at my party…I’m a 100% real tablecloth girl). I used them to create a curtain to hide all the stuff in that room. I simply used painter’s tape along the ceiling to hold it up. It also made the room dark so it was the perfect backdrop for all the glow stuff. Little did I know then how grateful I would be, beyond aesthetics, to have covered the walls in plastic! Again, more on that later.
Food: Originally, I thought about serving food that glows (so many hacks and ideas on Pinterest!) but after I came to my senses, I decided to go with regular food in glowing vessels and I do not regret that decision one bit! Over the years, I’ve learned that kids are just not that interested in the food anyway and that would have been an added level of stress that I just didn’t need in the short week that I had! All the kids were thrilled to be drinking lemonade from glowing lightbulb cups, eating popcorn from black light plastic cups, and LOVED the Funfetti cupcakes in black light cupcake liners that sat atop a light-up cake stand! Fun fact… I had kids telling me those were the best cupcakes they’ve ever had and it cost me a whole $6 to make 24 of them! Highly recommend! Also, the Starburst lollipops were a last-minute impulse buy at the register and everyone loved them! I’ll definitely buy those again. I had pizza too but they barely ate it and we ended up with 4 whole pies left over. Again, kids are just not interested in eating at parties!
Games: The party was from 7:30-9:30 but the actual glow foam didn’t start until 8:30. I didn’t know how long it would take for the girls to glow up, sing happy birthday, and eat so I planned a few games in case there was dead time before the glow foam began. Turns out, I didn’t need any at all. But in case you’re wondering…we were planning to play capture the glowing flag, musical chairs with glow paint in pie pans on the chairs, and a glow balloon popping relay race.
Foampalooza was a DREAM to work with from start to finish! I texted the number on their website and received a response in minutes. This kind of party is completely new to me and they answered all of my questions before booking.
The anticipation was killing us as we watched the setup! We honestly didn’t know what to expect and kept asking questions like, “How much foam will there be?” “Does it actually glow?” “How long does it take to get foamy?” We were about to be blown away!
I had the girls take a picture with their backs to the foam machine to distract them for a minute while the foam started. Suddenly, the foam started blasting and the girls started screaming! It was amazing! It took under 5 minutes to fill my decent-sized backyard. The girls danced and ran and lay down in the foam with the biggest smiles. The only problem was reminding them NOT to dive into the foam expecting it to be pillowy (to be fair, it does look awfully pillowy!).
Parents were shocked when they came for pick up. They tried calling for their kids and heard their voices saying, “Just a minute!” but couldn’t actually see them anywhere. They were buried in foam! As our neighbors drove by, every single one of them stopped to stare…it’s that much of an unbelievable sight!
I would 100% host another glow foam party. But here are a few things I would keep in mind:
- You get WET in all that foam! Like soaked like you’ve been running through a sprinkler.
- Bare feet are the best, followed by water shoes if you absolutely must wear shoes.
- Have a roll of paper towels in your hand to distribute to kids…they will want to wipe their eyes even if it doesn’t sting their eyes.
- Tell parents to come with a towel at pick-up.
- Wearing swimsuits would work best.
- Forget about party favors! I passed out 24 right before the foam began and only 3 made it home with the kids. Foam trumps everything once it starts flowing!
- An hour is plenty of time (speaking as an adult, kids may disagree).
- Have kids go to the bathroom before the foam starts!
The inside of my basement looked an awful lot like the outside with all the foam. The foam sticks to the kids and then falls off onto the floor as they walk in and out. Luckily, our floors are waterproof and the walls were untouched because of the plastic tablecloths covering them! Best. Decision. Ever!
- A shop vac was crucial for basement floor cleanup!
- The foam can take a couple of days to go away, unless you’re lucky like us and get an overnight rain shower.
- The foam leaves your yard muddy. I’m going, to be honest. We really thought we’d need to re-sod after seeing how muddy the kids were. The rain before and after the party didn’t help matters! But Ricky assured us that he’s never had anyone complain that it ruined their yard. I have to agree. Even the very next morning, it didn’t look as bad as I thought. It’s not any worse than when we’ve hooked up a slip-and-slide. I’m confident that our yard will fully recover in a week or so.
By the next morning, I had 5 people ask me for the contact info for Foampalooza.
I just can’t say enough good things about my experience! In fact, I loved it so much, I’m already planning another one for an end-of-swim team season party!
If you’re looking for any of the items I used at the party, I’ve uploaded all the links here. I did not include the black light glow paint because it was awful to work with. Everything else is there. (Note: this is an affiliate link)
Will you be booking a glow foam party this summer???
Looking for other birthday ideas? Check out these Atlanta Mom posts.