Children at glow-in-the-dark disco event

Glow-in-the-dark disco

Judy Emanuel, PTA Chair, Newport Primary School, Essex (150 pupils) told us about her disco with a twist: 'We have been running a disco twice yearly for a while, and with each event we adjusted the timings and refreshments offered until we were happy that we had a winning formula! We then turned our attention to the content. We saw the giveaway for UV face and body paint in the spring 2014 issue of PTA+ Magazine and were inspired!

We ordered 36 tubes of Neon Face and Body Paint at £5.99 per set of six 10ml tubes. We also ordered 200 glow bracelets from Glowsticks using the PTA+ discount. The bracelets were excellent quality and glowed very brightly. We gave one to each child as they were signed in, having learnt that, if left out for the children to collect, they just grab a handful! We advised parents in advance that the bracelets were not suitable for children under three years old. The DJ supplied the UV lights free of charge.

We offered patch testing at school pick-up for the three days prior to the disco (patch on hand and behind the ear) and put a sign up at the event explaining that we were not liable for any adverse reaction or staining of clothes! We still painted the children who hadn't been tested, but suggested that they just had a hand design if any skin sensitivity was suspected. Nobody experienced any adverse reactions.

To keep things simple we offered basic tribal designs, smiley faces, lightning flashes and flowers. The thicker the paint was applied, the better it glowed. We used brushes and cotton wool buds to apply the paint, and had several parent volunteers manning the face painting station. The children often started with designs on their hands and then came back for face paints later.

The paint and glow bracelets were included in the ticket price (£3 per child, free for pre-schoolers) and we sold sweets in pre-prepared cones, crisps, home-made cakes and squash. We made a profit of £350 - a 40% increase on our typical income from a disco. It wasn't at all messy either! The event was enormously popular; we had much better ticket sales than previous discos and many parents who don't usually comment on Friends' events were very positive. Most importantly, the children thoroughly enjoyed themselves!'

If you're looking to run this kind of event, you can find suppliers of glow sticks and UV paint in our online directory.

A TEN (for regulated entertainment) is no longer needed for a disco event, but music licences may be necessary. Read our guide to licensing requirements.

For further tips and advice, read our step-by-step guide to discos.

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