10 Easy DIY Black Light Halloween Decorations

DIY glow in the dark Halloween decorations provide a spooky and creative touch to any Halloween party. These decorations shine brilliantly under black light illumination, adding a unique and ghostly glow to your Halloween celebration.

10 glow in the dark decorations for Halloween

Black light is one of my favorite ways to add spookiness to my Halloween party.

So every year I try to have at least one room in my Halloween haunted house that features black light.

Clothes made out of white or light-colored cotton glow in the dark. If you can find a ghost costume that is made from cotton, you’ll have an awesome glow in the dark costume!

And I always try to add some glow in the dark decor to make it more fun.

Keep reading to find some of my best glow in the dark Halloween ideas.

How To Set Up a Glow in the Dark Room

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But before we start, let’s talk about how to set up your black lights.

This is the trickiest part of actually getting things to glow.

It’s a little harder to do than it seems because black light doesn’t travel very far. And you need black light to make fluorescent things glow in the dark.

To be specific, you need black light fluorescent tubes* or an LED UV bar*.

I have yet to find a black light in standard light bulb form that produces enough light to make things glow in the dark. Most of them act more like purple colored light bulbs than actual black lights.

Even with the proper fixture, you’ll need more than one of them to light a large room. For the best results, try to get the longest fixture you can find.

Place the bulbs so they are not directly visible by your guests, but are pointing towards the main area where you want things to “glow-in-the-dark”. Here are a few ways I’ve done this in the past:

  • The best way I have found to do this is to get a fixture that can be mounted to the ceiling. Then you can position it where you need it.
  • Another option is to buy stand-alone black light fluorescent bulbs and install them in a standard shop light or grow-light fixture. Then hang it from the ceiling where you need it.
  • If neither of those options is possible, try installing the bulbs on the tops of kitchen cabinets, or an upper shelf of a book shelf, pointing the light down toward the room.

Once the lights are hung, then the fun begins. Creating glow in the dark decorations for your party!

1 | Use Glow in the Dark Spider Webs

Glow In The Dark Spider Web

Stretch glow-in-the-dark stretchy spider webs across the room so that they light up (and have the added advantage of hiding the light fixture if you have hung it from the ceiling).

I always thought that the green or white spider web would work best but I have actually found that the purple glows the best under black light.

Just be sure to buy the kind that actually say they glow in the dark…the regular kind of stretchy spider web does not reflect black light at all.

Adding some glow in the dark spiders would also be fun.

2 | Create Glow In The Dark Potions or Drinks

Witches potions made with tonic water and food color

If you want to create some potions (or drinks) that glow in the dark, tonic water is your friend!

It contains quinine which glows in the dark naturally.

Then you can add liquid food coloring to get different colors, although I find that blue and green work the best.

Cocktails containing tonic water will also glow in the dark as long (as long as the tonic isn’t too diluted with other things).

Too much food coloring takes most of the glow out of this potion

Just be aware that the more color you add the less the tonic water will glow in the dark (like the picture above), so you may need to experiment to get the look you want…a few food coloring drops goes a long way!

3 | Make Glow In The Dark Jello

Glow in the dark jello brains

You can also use jello in molds to create spooky décor, like our jello brains in the picture above. Click here to find out how.

If you are looking for something alcoholic that glows in the dark, you can also make glow-in-the-dark jello shots.

4 | Paint With Liquid Laundry Detergent

Glow in the dark messages written with laundry detergent

Who knew that liquid laundry detergent glows in the dark (I used Tide).

You can make things glow in the dark by “painting” them with laundry detergent (like cake plates skulls, or other Halloween accessories). Or use it to write on the walls.

Glow In the Dark writing and spider web

And the great thing is, it will wash right off when you are done!

The skeleton* in the picture above is also meant to glow in the dark, which is why it is such a bright color of green. You won’t get that same effect with a normal white skeleton.

5 | Hang Stars In The Sky

Stars on black paper on the ceiling

Another one of my favorite party tricks is to decorate the ceiling. Since people aren’t used to seeing that, it always makes a statement.

This is especially true of this glow-in-the-dark party idea…staple or tape starry night black paper* to the ceiling.

With black light*, the white stars will glow in the dark. With the dark background, it really looks like you’re outside at night.

If you hang a ghost made of white cotton from the ceiling with a black string, you can add a glow-in-the-dark ghost that seems to be floating in air.

6 | Wrap Things With Scotch Or Packing Tape

Packing Tape Ghost
via craftygeeks.wordpress.com (page no longer available)

Speaking of glow in the dark ghosts, this DIY version is made from packing tape!

Just wrap it around things to make them become glow-in-the-dark.

I learned the hard way that scotch tape glows in the dark. I used it to put up scene setters on the walls in my hallway that was lit by black light. Every piece of scotch tape glowed in the dark brilliantly…exactly NOT want I wanted!

7 | Make Glue Gun Candles

Use a glue gun to create these faux candles. The glue glows in the dark.

I would use flame-less candles* inside though…you don’t want the glue to melt!

Click here to see the instructions at diynetwork.com

8 | Create Glow in the Dark Bottle Labels

DIY Glow In The Dark Drink Labels
via marthastewart.com (link no longer available)

Print labels for your bottles on some adhesive label stock.

Then stick them to the bottles.

The white of the paper will glow in the dark!

9 | Use Glow in the Dark Markers and Paint

Glow in the dark spider web table cloth
via marthastewart.com (link no longer available)

Using glow in the dark markers to draw a spider web on a tablecloth is an easy way to dress up your dining table.

If you don’t mind permanently painting some serving pieces, you can use some glow in the dark paint to add to the glow in the dark decor, like the cake plates and bowls in the picture above.

For a less permanent version, you could achieve something similar by “painting” your own cake standards and bowls with laundry detergent (like I did on the walls above).

Pumpkins painted with glow in the dark paint
via marthastewart.com (link no longer available)

That same glow in the dark paint makes pumpkins glow, too!

10 | Use Glow In The Dark Tableware

This glow in the dark tableware set* glows neon under black light and comes with everything you need to serve a glow in the dark buffet.

Plus they’re all disposable so clean up is a breeze!

Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration to host your own glow in the dark party for Halloween!

Other Halloween Ideas You Might Like

Or browse all of our Halloween ideas.

Do you have comments or questions on our glow in the dark party ideas for Halloween? Tell us in the section below.

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Ways To Create Glow-In-The-Dark Halloween Decorations

This post was originally published on October 27, 2014 but was updated with new content on January 23, 2024.

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  1. jessie lester says:

    so all you need is liquid laundry detergent, and then you paint your’e wall and at night it glows?

    1. Hi Jessie…you do have to have a black light in the area (the laundry detergent won’t glow all on its own). I just hung a fluorescent black light tube (like this one from amazon.com) at the top of the wall with the light bulb facing down. When you turn it on, then the laundry detergent will glow.

  2. Not all liquid laundry detergent glows under a blacklight; Arm & Hammer detergent is a great one to use and also on the cheaper side compared to others.

    1. Thanks, Sean! I didn’t know that. I used Tide since that’s what I had on hand…but good to know there’s a cheaper option 🙂

  3. did you paint the liquid detergent with a paint brush? I have my black light in the bathroom for the holiday , it doesn’t look as bright as you pic

    1. Hi Terry…I did paint the laundry detergent with a paint brush. You could try doing another layer of detergent (mine was thick enough on the wall to run down). Or you could try moving the black light closer to where you have the laundry detergent…I find some of those black lights don’t project the light very far. Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Sebrina…I used Tide, but others have said that Arm & Hammer works well, too…and it’s a little cheaper.