I had a grown up Halloween party a few years ago and I themed every room differently. My guests saw every room because I put together a scavenger hunt that made them go up to the second floor, through the first, outside around the back and back in and down to the basement.
Even though your guests have been to your house countless times, the fun of throwing a Halloween party is how different you can make your space look with just the lighting.
This blog will be focusing on how I created an abandoned black light room.
Get your light source
I set everything up in a fairly large living room and only used one 48″ black light. Now is the time where the blacklight purist in me begs you to do the right thing and get an actual tube blacklight. Incandescent (purple) party bulbs and even the newer blacklight CF bulbs will not cut it.
I had a big fluorescent fixture just hanging out in my basement, it was hanging off the ceiling by a couple of chains. Guy pulled it down and hung it off those ceiling hanger things that, you know, let you hang stuff off the ceiling.
One light, on one far end of the room, lit up the entire thing. This is the one I used.You don’t need a $35+ light.
See what turns on
You can go for broke and hang your big light or you can take a little tiny, battery powered black light tube around and see what’s reactive. To my surprise, ALL my blowmolds from the 60’s and up were very reactive. Put reactive things all over the place.
Our plaid, preppy couches didn’t bounce back any of the ultraviolet, making the room dark and awkward. This was very easily fixed by throwing some bright white sheets on top of the couch and love seat. It did double duty, because it looked like an old set of covered, forgotten furniture. You could do this on anything, a dining room table, individual chairs, pictures on the wall (pillowcases?), etc.
You think, “Why would I want any other lights on? Won’t that take away from the UV glow?”… and it would, if it’s either too overpowering or you weren’t using REAL blacklights. We purchased the compact fluorescent bulbs from Lowe’s or Home Depot. We figured it would be authentic, because it’s a fluorescent bulb. Wrong. It is better than the 25 watt incandescent party bulbs, but it gave off way too much light and not enough UV (if any). In the picture of the couches I posted, above, see the lamp between the 2 blowmold pumpkins? That’s the CF blacklight!Under the old-fashioned shade, it gave off a nice eerie glow that didn’t distract from the massive 4 foot blacklight on the ceiling.
“Outlining” an area
Having the dark couch problem licked, the fireplace looked lackluster. It’s a honey blonde wood stain with copper glass door. We managed to make it the focal point of the room, as it should be, by doing 2 things:
Lit it up. We threw in a green party bulb (or led bulb, I can’t recall, but you could use either, as long as they again, aren’t too bright) and bounced it off the back of the fireplace. Then, we took neon printer paper I had lying around, and cut it into thin strips, taping it together to make lengths long enough to outline where we wanted. We used several different colors.
Blood and bloody handprints
A lot of people break open glow sticks for instant glow juice. That’s a great idea, and has lots of uses, but I didn’t want to mess around with the stuff inside glowsticks to make blood and bloody hands dripping down my walls. I tried 2 things, Vaseline and laundry detergent.
Vaseline was so.damn.hard to remove, and didn’t glow *all that well*
Laundry detergent came right off, and it was much better at glowing, too. Total win. It was easy, it was fast, it was non-damaging. Check below, to the right of Dracula, for our laundry detergent glowing hand prints.
We put up a dark sheet to keep the red light from the dining room and foyer out of our glow light living room. We sat on the floor, played a drinking game involving questions (and some dares) out of a plastic trick or treat pumpkin and drank the most delish caramel apple shots EVER.
Yeah, it was a good time.
(Caramel apple shots – half butterscotch schnapps and half apple pucker – enjoy!)