Do you remember the elementary school's disco, where they would sell brownies and popcorn bags, where the first slow dances of our lives where danced and where there was screams when the best song started playing? In Finland school discos have become classics a long time ago. They are great events for kids and young people, and also a good way to collect some money for class trips and other future activities. Often the class who has their field trip coming up next, is allowed the organize the disco.
As always when planning an event, it takes some time to get all details figured out. Despite the size of the scool you should always invest on good, durable equipment. Not that much is needed for providing a memorable day for kids and youngsters.
Below are some of the most often asked questions and answers for them, so that the school's disco can be organized without stress and last minute's panic.
The organizer of the disco is usually one class, that can keep all the profits. The class that organizes the disco can be divided in groups, so that one group will be in charge of decorating, one of buffet, one of music, one of contests and one of cleaning up after the event.
Similar group politics can be implemented in situations, where disco is organized by several classes, or some other mixed group of students.
Adults must be involved, even if the disco is organized by one class. An adult will make sure that there are rules and that they are obeyed, for handling money and other things like this. School's juice discos are usually not just a one time thing, so the parent union should decide the rules that can be implemented in the future too.
There is nothing wrong about collecting money with a disco. The most important thing is that everybody can afford to take part in. The ticket is usually good to be 1.5€-2.5€. Ticket can also include a juice and all other snacks can be sold separately. Entering contests can cost couple euros at most.
Disco organized by a school doesn't usually need a permit or it doesn't need to be announced to the police. Term for it is, though, that disco can be entered by its own students only, amplifiers are not allowed to use outdoors and there is not expected to be more than 100 attendees. Permits for playing the music depends on who is the official organizer of the disco. If the organizer is the school, municipality's annual permit includes the music payments for Teosto. If disco is organized by the parent union, the union must get the permit to use the music from Testo.
Disco is the safest and easiest to organize in the middle of the week. If it's not friday, disco should be organized early enough so that all kids and youngsters can get up for the school the next day. This usually means that disco should end by nine o'clock.
High schooler's disco can last a bit later. Just remember to notice that school building's automatic alarms possible restrictions. Good length for a disco is two to three hours.
Because school's discos are usually used for collecting money, food and drinks are chargeable. It is important to keep the prices affordable, though, and that can be achieved by preparing as much as you can by yourself. Also it is recommended to use the school's kitchen for making bulk-priced purchases, for juices, for example.
It is good to be decided by parents that who prepares what, so doubles can be avoided. Remember to take into account the possible food allergies.
Brownies are the favorites of all school discos'. These easy and delicious pastries can be baked in 15 minutes and they are easy to cut in to even pieces.
Internet is full of brownie-recipes. A detailed recipe can be found here, for example. To add up some zest on brownies, try out different color icings. These can be created by replacing coffee and cacao powder with food colouring and different juices.
Another easy classic for fair are cinnamon rolls. You can bake these in less than an hour and it is easy to prepare a big amount at once. Also they are affordable to make for collecting money. Recipe can be found here, for example.
Even though kids love sweets, it is good to prepare some savory snacks too. Easy finger food are wiener rolls and pizza pieces. Other good things to serve are bagged popcorn, bisquits and small bags of pick and mix. Candies and bisquits are usually bought for classes to collect money, anyway.
You can also sell healthier options, like fruit and vegetables (for example baby carrots and cucumber). The more you can prepare yourself, the better.
For drinks you should get concentrated juice, which goes a long way and is affordable. Sodas can also be bought in 1/2 litres bottles. Disposable dishes are also needed. These purchases should also be got via school's kitchen, if possible.
Contests are a fun and easy way to collect money, and they are good entertainment, too.
It is good to remember that the contest should be based on some kind of talent or knowledge, and not on who's the most popular. When done this, no one will get hurt.
For example a dance contest is usually won by the one who has most friends, but limbo is won by the one who's technically the best. If disco has a certain theme, a dressing contest can also be held (the worst Halloween contest, the best movie character etc). Judges should be chosen in advance and it should be maken sure that everyone is aware of the contest.
Winner can get something for free from disco's buffet, for example. The contest fee should be less than two euros.
See some good tips below for entertainment activities.
Limbo is great for a juice disco, because it has very easy rules, everyone can take part at once and the music can be played while the contest is on. All you need for limbo is a long bar and group of joyful attendees. Two adults should be chosen to hold the bar. Rules are simple. The bar must be passed underneath without touching it and by bending your body backwards. Head must be hold straight looking towards the ceiling. On every round everyone who touches the bar is eliminated and the bar is lowered. The last one standing is the winner. Limbo can also be played in groups for example adults vs kids.
Water payazzo is great for small money collecting. You need a big water bucket and a drinking glass. The bucket is filled with water and the drinking glass is set at the bottom of the bucket. Attendees will drop coins (for example 2 euros) trying to get the coin inside the drinking glass. The contest winner can get a bag of pick and mix, for example.
Guess the candy
The idea of guess the candy is to eye ball the weight of a translucent container full of candy. There can be a small contest fee. Guesses are written, with a name, on a piece of paper and closed in a box. The one who guesses the closest will be announced at the end of the disco and they will win the container full of candy.
Party mood with some bubbles
Even though soap bubbles are usually something fun to enjoy in the summer, they also work as an excellent party element in children’s parties. You can create a whole new dimention to to your disco with some UV bubble liquid. Glowing soap bubbles floating in the air are bound to pump up the party mood. Invest in a goof bubble machine if you have a larger venue. Of course, you will also need UV lamps to make the bubbles glow. Make sure that there are no sensitive materials (floor, walls, etc.) at your venue.
Disco is usually organzed in a gym room. In addition you should also be able to use hallways, where buffet can be located. Restrooms and coat racks should also be available. Class rooms and other rooms that should not be entered, should be locked.
Decorating the gym doesn't have to be that expensive for creating a great experience for the kids. We recommend concidering certain products.
If you don't want to invest on big lights, you can also use lights with E27-base. These lights will last up to 25 000 hours, so they will serve you for several disco's.
Glow sticks always work. They are also very durable, cheap and safe, and used for several different purposes. You can easily create decorations out of these. There is packages for different size of groups.
Uv-products can be used to make the gym room look totally different. Kids and youngsters will love these for sure, because regular shoes and clothes will react with these too. And these are not an expensive investment. UV-lights can be bought as ready sets or as a light that can be attached to E27-base.
You can also get some other UV products. You can use invisible ink for all kinds of purposes - each class can create their own banner, for example! The ink is invisible in daylight but glows magically in UV light.
If uv-lights are too expensive, you can create the same effect with this paint that glows in the dark. As mentioned before, these can be used for face painting, for example.
If you really want to invest, you can create an amazing experience for kids by getting a confetti gun. Get a confetti gun that is suitable for indoor use.
Decorations can be made by yourself too. Kids can create decorations out of pieces of cardboard and leftover silkpaper.
In the end: make sure that no outsiders can enter the disco and that everyone has their parents' permission to enter!