Turn Your Dances Into Parties

Contributed by Don Shaffer

The students that want to dance will dance, but there are many kids that just want to be with their friends.

Entertain them and give them something to do!

Through special events, carnival type games and specialty food, transform your regular dances into the atmosphere of a Party!

Special Events

Change the pace of what goes on at the dance.

Provide some variety! Intersperse into the lineup, the Limbo, a hula contest, a hoola hoop contest, a pie in the face of a noted student or teacher, an individual dance contest, or a teachers dance contest.

Make these contests fun and not “high stakes” events so judging them remains simple and winning or losing does not become a big deal.

Have the D.J. lead the crowd in the “chicken dance”, a swing dance create a “guys kick line” or a conga line.

Then of course there’s always YMCA, the Macarena, the “bunny hop” or the Hokey Pokey.

The strobe light stage is an easy and relatively inexpensive event.

Provide a small stage in a corner and block it off. Have the D.J. bring an extra strobe light and shine it up on the stage where 2-3 people dance for two minutes and create their best “strobed out moves”.

Keep people flowing on and off the stage.

Provide a photo backdrop and Polaroid shots to create student memories. Charge a dollar per shot and just break even.

For some extra fun, supply the Velcro Fly Wall, Sumo Wrestling, the Bunji Run, the Gyro Ball, a dunk tank or the Karaoke machine.

Each of these costs a bit of change, but they supply great entertainment and involvement plus creating an atmosphere the kids will talk about for weeks.

In California, these companies can supply the events.

  • .A. Party Works 800-789-4872

  • Feet First Eventertainment 800-393-3338

  • Orange Party Works 714-545-4036

  • Fun Services So. Cal 714-630-6380/No. Cal 408-745-1976

  • Plan-It Interactive Games 888-90-GAMES

  • Special Event Amusements 310-374-4321

  • (No. Cal) Unison Productions 916-783-5941


Rent or construct home-made carnival type games and place in an adjacent room or patio for students to play. Add 25-50 cents to the price of the dance to cover the costs of the games and prizes.

Give blank tickets to the winners of the games that they put their name on and place in containers for prize drawings at the conclusion of the dance.

Give away gift certificates, school wear, sports equipment, radios, bags, candy, phone cards, or whatever your budget allows)

Adapt 4-5 of these games each time to fit the theme of the dance.

  • Skee Ball
  • Nail Pounding
  • Big Valley Miniature-Golf
  • Touchdown Pass
  • Shell Game
  • Basketball Shoot
  • Dart Throw
  • Carrom Shooting
  • Spin the Wheel
  • Ping Pong
  • Blow Horseshoes
  • Bucket of Guck
  • Beanbag Throw
  • Ring Toss
  • Ball Throw
  • Horse Races
  • Name That Tune
  • Shot on Goal
  • Fishing for Ducks
  • Straw Blowing
  • Boat Races
  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Food, Food, Food

Punch and Cookies need a shot in the arm! Use sodas, pizza, nachos, ice cream, candy, taco bell items, french fries or churros.

Let the kids chow down on something Mom might not buy!

Provide the food as a service instead of as a fund-raiser and just try to break even. You will make up the difference in the number of kids that will come to the dance.

Sell 50 cent tickets, at a different location, to redeem the food.

Food handlers then do not have to take care of any money.

For some extra money and if you want to deal with the mess sell cotton candy or snow cones. The kids love both of them but they are a mess and you won’t normally break even during a two hour dance unless you charge a lot of money.

But it is fun!?!?

Dance Organization

The organizational aspects of this type of event require extensive planning and the people power of 25-40 students. Utilizing the students in the Leadership or ASB class is convenient because of the ability to use the class periods preceding the dance for preparation of materials and training for the jobs needing to be done for set up and event itself.

Dividing a two hour event into half hour segments allows students to work various areas for one hour, while enjoying the party themselves for the other hour.

A special note in regards to music

In this day of such diverse music, it is essential to the success of a dance to take a music survey as to the wants and desires of the student body.

After compiling a list, have your DJ tell you what you should or should not play and then have a committee determine the actual songs to be played. Work with your DJ on this one!

Hire a professional DJ (fully insured) and use their expertise!