Lights Out!

I recently experienced something that doesn’t happen a lot where I live – the power went out. Like… really went out. I’m not talking about a flicker or two – I mean for hours! It didn’t really occur to me, until I couldn’t use any technology or electricity, just how dependent we can be on that stuff. Especially with kids!  So what do you do when you find yourself unable to turn on the TV, lights out and no way to cook? Seize the opportunity to have some quality family time – try some of these fun ways to reconnect the old fashioned way! And hey, you can always take a trip to the fuse box and schedule your own Light’s Out Party!

First thing first: be prepared! When the power does go out, you want to have everything in place so there’s no fumbling around a dark house trying to remember where you put the flashlight… only to discover it needs new batteries!

  • Get flashlights for each room in the house (or the most frequently used rooms) and keep them in the same place at all times so you and the kids always know exactly where to look.
  • Keep a fresh supply of batteries in (and next to) each flashlight – and periodically check to make sure they work!

Now for the fun!

Glow Sticks – these are a great, safe alternative to candles and so much fun for the kiddos! They come in all different colors and can be made into bracelets and necklaces. Load ‘em up and let them run wild!


Food Fest – this is the perfect excuse to raid the fridge! Go for the perishable snacks first to avoid anything from spoiling.

Game Time – get out a deck of cards for some Go Fish or grab the family’s favorite board game to play by candlelight.

Story Telling – bring the campfire inside with some candles and ghost stories! Get the whole family involved with Build The Story – sit in a circle and choose someone to start. That player begins a sentence, like “On a dark and stormy night…” – then Player #2 continues with their own idea. Move from player to player until you have a full – and probably ridiculous! – story.

Slumber Party – grab some cozy pajamas and blankets and get comfy. Go nutso and build a pillow fort!

Shadow Puppets – set up flashlights or candles facing a blank wall and see how creative everyone can get making shadow animals. Who’s up for a dinosaur?


Conversation – yep, just chat! Ask questions, share your own stories and learn something about your kiddos you never knew. How often do you get a chance for uninterrupted talk time?

What’s the most fun you’ve had with your family in an unexpected situation like this? I’d love to hear your stories below!



  • Jun Alapag

    maybe stories about having a black outs when the parents were the kids age during a blackout.

  • Leslie Barnett

    do any of you have those small mouse-shaped lazer lights that pet cats love
    to chase all around in a darkened room? I usually have a couple of those around to give my cats exercise and me a chuckle watching them chase
    the bouncing beam of light around!! If the lights go out, this is a
    good way to keep both your pet and the children from getting nervous;
    make the kids laugh!!

  • Dean McDermott

    Back when we didn’t know what it was like to NOT have an iPad – great idea, Jun!

  • Dean McDermott

    LOVE it, Leslie! I’ll definitely add this to my bag of tricks!

  • jennifer korpics

    last october, hurricane sandy came to town. we lost power during the storm & slept with our 2 boys on our the floor of our home’s 1st level. (for fear of a large tree hitting the 2nd floor) our house became the neighborhood hub for the 3 days we were without power because we have a wood burning fireplace, gas stove & a gas water heater. everyone got a hot shower & heated their food at the hub. in the evening, we toasted marshmallows by candlelight in the fireplace!! we made a lot of great memories. the kids still ask when will the power go out again!! here’s hoping not for quite some time!!

  • Dean McDermott

    That’s awesome, Jennifer – love the marshmallows-by-candelight!

  • Crystal

    Is that just water in a 2Liter bottle with a glow stick floating inside to make a lantern of sorts? I was just curious as to how that was done. I’m sure my kids would love something like that.

  • D O C

    We live in a rural area so for us when the power goes out we lose water as well. No power, no way to get water out of the well. Our heat is forced air electric and we have no wood stove or fireplace. We are seriously considering installing one. We have had long power outages during and after ice storms. We run a gas generator every few hours to cool down the fridge and freezer, flush the toilets, and run a small electric heater. We usually play games. One fun thing is to hold the flashlight up to your mouth and inflate your cheeks. It looks pretty funny. The light will make your hand glow if you hold it up to it. Hold the light at your chin shining up your face, it is a great scary look for the ghost stories. Use a candle to heat chocolate or cheese sauce in a fondue pot. It is warm, fun, and tastes great to dip in. If you have a wood fireplace you can make banana boats. Open one side of a banana put chocolate, peanut butter, marshmallow or any tasty sweet. Flop the banana peel over it and wrap it in foil. Toss in the coals. You can make baked potatoes in foil in the fire too. We put onion slices in the middle of the potato, sometimes bacon too.