Glow Sticks

Glow Sticks – What They Are and Why They’re Not Just For Kids Only!

You’ve probably seen kids at parties having fun sword fights with wands that are lit up. Or you’ve looked out for them as you’re driving around on Halloween night as the children run around with those sticks that glow magically in the dark, making the children much easier to notice. The glowing accessories are colorful and pretty bright, which is a good thing when it comes to children walking around the streets at night in dark, scary costumes. But have you ever thought of what these glow sticks actually are and how they are used in other ways, too? 

Some parents may want to be reassured that glow sticks are safe for their children to handle. They might wonder what it is that’s inside the toys that make them so luminous.  Another thought may concern what other uses these items could have, aside from using them as toys and flashlights of sorts.

It’s not just kids you will see using these sources of ultraviolet light. There are many, many ultraviolet light uses  when it comes to glow sticks of all types and sizes. The sticks can be linked together to make necklaces, bracelets and headwear. They’re made in this way so they can form a variety of different shapes and forms.  Lots of various games can be played in the dark because these sticks can be manipulated into shapes that become play items that glow. The glow sticks are perfect for swimming pools as they are waterproof; the glowing light comes from within the sealed sticks and do not leak out, even when the stick is bent in order to induce the glow. These sticks are not sold already glowing.  You must initiate the light by bending the stick. The glow will then last for hours, and in many cases, when the glow is gone, a battery can be replaced to restart them.

If you’ve ever been to a trendy disco back in the early 1990s or to any of the now-popular electronic dance clubs, you’ll begin to understand the fascination of glowing lights used in combination with pulsing music. Dance raves involve huge crowds of young people dancing to electronic music and waving glow sticks in time to the music to make some amazing videos.  Kids of all ages, from toddlers to teens, especially love using the sticks or bracelets, not so much at dance clubs, but at house parties or during certain holidays.

What’s Inside Them and How Glow Sticks Work

The sticks glow due to the ingredients placed inside of them.  There are a few different chemicals in the stick in addition to dyes, so that the beautiful colors can radiate once the stick is activated.  To activate a glow stick or bracelet or necklace, the stick is bent, which enables all of the chemicals inside to blend together and cause a chemical reaction.  Phenol and carbon dioxide are formed.  Hmm…carbon dioxide? You might wonder, what is carbon dioxide used for? Well, the carbon dioxide, along with phenol, helps to produce the energy needed to release photons, which make the sticks glow! 

There is also a fluorescent dye in the mix of ingredients.  It helps, also, to create the light you see in these “magic” wands. So what is fluorescence exactly?  You’ve probably heard of fluorescent lighting; in fact, it’s very likely that you have this type of lighting in your home right now.  Fluorescence is the immediate release of light after the chemicals in the glow stick are combined. It glows in ultraviolet light and in the dark, adding drama and excitement to some items.  It’s also used in everyday safety items, such as hunter’s vests or biker’s vests that glow in the dark so they can be easily seen at night. Once the chemicals in a glow stick-type item mix together with the fluorescent dyes, a chemiluminescent reaction occurs, making energy come forth in the form of glowing light.

This may all sound like a lot of dangerous chemicals to be included in a toy, but chemiluminescent glow sticks have been scientifically studied for their safety and shown to be non-toxic to children and adults. Even if the fluids leak from the sticks and are ingested, the symptoms are still relatively minor, causing just a slight irritation.

There have been several United States patents given for different glow stick inventions.  In fact, inventions and patents for glow sticks were first assigned to the U.S. Navy and go back to around 1965.  The history and applications for the uses of glow items are fascinating, ranging from uses by divers, the military and as toy and jewelry items, to name just a few.

Why Kids Use Glow Sticks For Everything!

Kids have been using glow sticks and their variations for decades now.  For toddlers, inventive parents use them for those children who have trouble falling asleep in the dark. Just hang a few glow sticks up in the room for the child to gaze at in the dark as he drifts into dreamland. Glow sticks are so easy and so much fun to use because they are a source of portable light.

These glowing sticks are very popular party items for any age child.  They are very popular at pool parties!  The sticks are waterproof and the pool is reflective, so the more glow items, the merrier the party!  Use some that can be dropped to the bottom of the pool and have diving games with them.

Games using glow sticks in the dark can be great fun. Think of a ring toss game with glow sticks that have been placed together in the form of a necklace or large bracelet to use as the rings.  If you are having a big party or have lots of parties all years long, it definitely pays to buy your glow sticks in bulk wholesale.  You can buy 10-inch long glow sticks for as little as 12 cents each if you buy glow sticks in bulk.  Talking about parties, these also make great party favors as your guests or your child’s guests are leaving.  They come in a variety of sizes from as small as 1.5 inches up to 16 inches tall.

A great idea for either a child’s or an adult’s party is to place a glow stick inside a partially blown-up balloon and watch them brighten up the scene.  And parents, you can really ramp up the party games with glow in the dark fun. Buy some glow sticks on the web, use some empty water bottles to hold the glow inside, and you have glow in the dark lawn bowling.  No bowling ball needed; just use a soccer bowl or basketball and let the fun begin.  Place glow sticks inside beach balls before you blow them up and you have a hilarious game of volleyball in the dark.

If you want some exercise going on at your children’s party, just place a few glow stick hula hoops around. Connect a bunch of necklace glow sticks to make a large hula hoop circle. Then attach it to a real hula hoop for glow-mania. Even a good old-fashioned game like hopscotch can be made new again. Use glow stick circles for the hopscotch board instead of chalk and your kids can play the game in the dark.  You can do a similar thing with just about any lawn game.  Using glow stick light sabers are also a great source of gaming for kids’ parties.  Show a Star Wars movie in the dark and your party is practically all planned out.

The party games don’t stop there. Get inventive. Instead of playing regular pick-up sticks, play a modern game of glowing pick-up-sticks. You can even get a fun whiffle ball game of catch going with a glowing whiffle ball by attaching small glow sticks inside.

Don’t forget to use drink cups that also glow in the dark. The lights are not actually in the drinks themselves; they’re built into the bottom of the cups.  You can even purchase glow straws for them to suck up their sodas or juices! These are one-time-use-only straws, so be sure to get enough for everyone to try at least one time.

Why Adults Love Those Glow Sticks, Too!

Adults love to have parties and fun, too. So why not add a little (or a lot) of brightness to your own nighttime events, also?

Place some glow sticks inside a bunch of empty mason jars and light a bright pathway to your front door to get started.  You can even advertise your party on the side of your house or right on your front door with “neon” lights. Twist some bracelet glow sticks into letters and spell out the words you’d like your guests to see, especially if some of them aren’t familiar with your home’s location.  “Welcome to the Smith Party” can be a glowing neon sign on your home’s outside wall. Just be sure only invited guests are welcomed inside!

Your guests will also enjoy those same glowing drink cups as the kids will, even with the straws. You might want to buy some glow-in-the-dark ice cubes, place them in a large bowl for holding drinks, and add your bottles of beer, soda or wine to them,  chilled and illuminated.  Men, you can fashion yourselves a glow-in-the-dark tie out of glow sticks to really stand out at the party, or this idea will come in handy on Halloween as your bring your kids around to trick or treat.

For some decorating ideas that will have your home glowing, add some glow stick items to your ceiling fan and you’ll have fun just staring up at a whirling rainbow of colors. To relax after the party’s over, instead of adding candles to your bath, place some glow sticks directly into the tub and relax with color and style.

Glowing sticks can also be used for safety purposes.  Carry some in your car for an emergency situation. If you car should break down, you can use them to warn other drivers so you or your car won’t be struck by accident in the dark. Keep some in the house in case of a power outage. Their light will last for many hours and they’re easy enough for a child to use.

Holiday Fun That Glows

Probably the most popular holidays for using glowing lights are Christmas and Halloween.  Christmas calls for lights that decorate and thrill; Halloween uses glow lights for dressing up and decorating with a touch of fright.

Use glow sticks to decorate your home and yourself for the winter holidays.  Make glowing red and green bracelets, wear glow lights in the shape of holiday bulbs around your neck and really get into the spirit of the season.  You’ll find reindeer headbands and other headgear that have blinking glowing lights adorning them. Give your child a fiber optic magic wand to become his or her own Harry Potter magician.

Halloween is all about being someone other than who you are for just one night.  That’s easy and fun to achieve with glowing lights to complement any costume. Wear a pair of devil’s horns that glow in the dark. Decorate the outside of your house with glowing pumpkins (no fire necessary). Or answer the doorbell wearing wildly glowing, blinking and flashing eyeglasses or a hat. 

Even the Easter holiday gets into the mix, with glowing Easter eggs made of plastic. Now your kids can play Hide The Easter Eggs in the dark outside after the big family dinner.

If there’s a holiday, you can find a glow stick that can be used to decorate around it. Red for Valentine’s Day, green for St. Paddy’s Day, red, white and blue for Fourth of July, even red, white and green for Cinco de Mayo celebrations.  Glow up your graduations parties.  Even your wedding can become more glamorous and exciting using glow-in-the-dark table centerpieces.

Get Your Glow Sticks Now and Let Your Fun Begin

You can make plenty of plans for safe fun using glow sticks. Plan your children’s parties, your own adult fun nights, more elegant parties, and just holiday decorating taken up a notch or two with glowing, blinking light sticks.  As you can tell from reading about all the wonderful things you can do with lighting, you will need lots and lots of glow sticks to achieve maximum effects.  You will find a huge variety of glow sticks for sale at Take a look at our web site and begin planning your parties now. Give us a call at 866-661-0145 where our consultants will help you choose the best items for your specific needs.


View Our Sitemap