Glow-in-the-Dark › I: Glow-in-the-Dark Basics

I: Glow-in-the-Dark Basics


Think back to all the fun you had playing games as a kid — the adrenaline, the rush of excitement and a little fear, the happy laughter, the sweaty jumbled heap of exhaustion after — and imagine it now with the added adventure of nighttime gaming and the magic of glowing objects. That is a glow in the dark game, and that is why they are so special.

What’s even better is that new technologies are creating totally new types of games.  Where once people were restricted us using torches or lanterns to see in the dark, the invention of the lightbulb, batteries, glow sticks and battery powered LED lights add heightened levels of lighting intensity, portability and functionality. 

Examples of glow games include: 


Glow games glow! Early in history, glow in the dark games were less about glow-in-the dark and more about light, such as candles and flashlights. Now, most glow games are played with glowing objects or with glow sticks. With the invention of glow sticks, lit toys and objects, the definition of a glow game now brings to mind glow sticks of many colors lighting up the darkened sky. There are so many variations of what constitutes a glow game now that practically any standard game can be turned into a glow game for an indoor or outdoor adventure.

Glow games can now be played with:

  • Glow sticks
  • LED lights
  • Flashlights
  • Strobe lights
  • Glow paint


The element of glow adds an extra dimension of fun to any game. Since glow-in the-dark games are played in the dark, they allow for people to stay active even after the sun goes down. This is especially useful when the sun sets as early as 5pm! They allow for adults returning home after work to rest before getting to play games with their kids in the evening with some extra athletic movement. Glow games are also a great way to turn a stressful situation, such as an electrical blackout, into a fun and memorable moment. Mainly, glow in the dark games are more exciting, adventurous, and enchanting versions of the games kids and adults know and love. Choosing to play a glow-in-the-dark game over a regular game turns a normal evening into a memorable and exciting adventure.


Back in the history of games lies the history of countries, wars, and the development of the 21st century. Glow games come from a history of man-hunts and searches through the dark to find missing people or animals. Torches and kerosene lamps were used for portable searches and seeing in the dark, while oil lamps and candles were used for playing games indoors after the setting of the sun. 

But the unreliability of flames and oil, along with the cost, made it difficult to have games after dark. Lit games outside would have been rare, but inside games by firelight. This all began to change with:


Edison’s patent for the light bulb was the beginning of indoor lighting and light separated from the natural world. Many inventions were necessary along the way to the patent of the light bulb, including the first invention of producing electricity by Alessandro Volta, the world’s first electric lamp by Humphry Davy, and a way to avoid using expensive platinum bulb filaments, which Edison figured out how to do.  His design led to the first light bulb.

Suddenly, light was no longer so precious and expensive. The light bulb itself was almost magical to behold. Light was immediately available without much individual effort. Carnival games and caravans followed, creating an atmosphere of adventure and excitement. At World Fairs, the light bulb itself was an attraction, with people crowding around just to see it. 

Still, electricity was available only to those wealthy enough to afford it, and it wasn’t much help when it came to search and rescue missions. That is, until:


Towards the end of the 19th century, a dry cell battery was invented, an improvement on the previous wet cell battery which was unreliable and leaky. This led to the invention of the flashlight by David Missel, which used three dry cell batteries. These first prototypes were called flash lights because they would only stay on for a certain period of time before the batteries needed a rest. Because of their instability, flashlight use did not catch on until later in the early 20th century when many different and more stable versions of the flashlight were invented. Part of that stability included:

C. LED Lights

The invention of LED lights also continued into the 20th century with stops and starts of inventions stacked on top of one another. These lights emitted more light than the incandescent lighting of light bulbs but were first rare because of their cost. Eventually, in the 1970’s, the Fairchild Semiconductors company created a low cost LED light to be used in remotes, warning lights, and, in some cases, glow games.

D. But What About Glow Sticks?

Almost automatically associated with the idea of glowing games, glow sticks share both a similar and different history line than the evolution of light bulbs. The invention of the chemical “Cyalum” began the invention line with a flurry of patents following to create a temporary glowing light created by a chemical reaction. In the final version, light is made of two chemical reactions contained in a brittle bottom base which when cracked mixes with the outer solution which includes the dye color of the glow stick. This is the delightful crack of a glow stick followed by the shaking which spreads the chemical reaction through the clear plastic tube. Glow sticks are used for serious reasons, such as police and emergency scene markers, but also for fun, games, and nighttime recreation.

Today’s glow games follow from a long history of scientific invention. Almost every popular game — football, soccer, Capture the Flag, tag — now has a glow game equivalent, whether with flashlights, battery-powered super-neat objects, LED lights, or with the iconic glow stick. Every time you rush through the darkness waving a glow stick or hunting down a hidden glowing object, you are moving through a complex and exciting history that leads to the games we know and love today.


Glow games are a great way to turn a sleepover, a gathering, any sort of choosing to have fun through games into a glowing success. But with all the many games that can be turned into a glow game, the question is, who do you want to play glow games with? 

For youths, glow games are a great way to make activities and events more special. Youth groups, YMCA’s, and after school clubs can all consider glow games as a great way to up the fun. As many youth activities are played indoors, using LED lights, or simply turning off the lights and snapping a few glow sticks is a great way to up the ante. Lock-ins and other overnight events are even easier: simply use the natural darkness to create adventure filled fun. Similarly, sleepovers are perfect for glow games.

The next may be a given, but it needs to be said: parties! Birthday parties, event parties, holiday parties, even office parties all can provide the players for your new glow game extravaganza. From throwing a glow themed party to including a glowing game as a part of the fun, glow games with parties make the fun grow. 

Birthday parties are great for an overall glow theme. In every corner of the Internet, you’ll find recipes for glowing cakes (yup!), cupcakes, drinks, decorations, chalk, party games – practically anything for all party needs with a glowing twist. With Starlux’s glow games, you get a premade theme for the party, from a fantasy Wizards and Werewolves themed party to a Galatic Glow Battle adventure party, your party goes beyond glow to newly lit heights.

II: Science and Education →

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