Sleepover-core Is the Reason You Should Host a Slumber Party

How to host a night of crafts and self-care with your friends.

Three adults sharing a bowl of snacks while watching a movie at a sleepover
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After spending so much time apart, it’s natural to want to log some serious friend time.

Why not gather your favorites for a night of self-care?

Sleepovers are sweeping the nation, and sleepover-core — a charmingly retro embrace of old-school crafts, sweatshirts, pop culture, and décor — means you really should lean into it.

Embrace all the nostalgia with fun activities and throwback junk food, then take it up a notch by adding in high-quality skincare and a good night’s sleep. Less expensive than a weekend away and way more fun than a crowded night out, here are some ideas to make staying in with your pals your new favorite activity.

Sleep smarter

Sure, staying up a little late is fun, but that late-night mentality is so junior high. Now that we realize how important a sleep schedule is, let this slumber party be a night of communal motivation for the beauty sleep we know our friends need. Skip the sleeping bag in favor of something a little more comfortable.

Here are some fun suggestions worth trying.

  • Just sleep in a bed. If there are just a few of you, opt to give each person a bed. It doesn’t take away any of the fun and helps ensure that you won’t wake up with cricks or spasms.  
  • Use camping cots or toddler mattresses. If you want everyone in the same room while you sleep, just consider adding more padding under those sleeping bags to prevent aches and pains in the morning.  
  • No mattresses, no problem. If you’ve got a crowd, consider pulling a foam mattress topper from a bed and using that as some extra cushion under all of your blankets. It keeps things a little comfier.  

Other great alternatives: the cushion from an old futon or individual blow-up pool rafts.

Snack attack

Two adults eating delicious pizza at a slumber party
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When it’s a sleepover, comfort food reigns supreme. Plan something fun and interactive that won’t be too messy to clean up after.

Pizza party! 

Sure, you can order in, but isn’t it fun to customize your own mini pizza with gourmet toppings? Pull together bowls of grown-up toppings like caramelized onions, pickled jalapeños, or hot honey so everyone can customize their own to their tastes. Buy store-bought pizza dough to make the process a little easier. 

Throwback snacks.

Party like it’s 1995 with all your favorite old-school snacks. Pull out all the stops with a collection of colorful gummy candy or an impressive collection of everyone’s favorite kids’ cereal. Fruit snacks and dunk-able cookies paired with frosting are totally fair game, too.  

Mocktail or cocktail station.

Empower guests to help themselves to their favorite drinks. Create a bar that has all the essentials, including their favorite spirits, fresh-juice mixers, and some tasty flavors of seltzer, too. Don’t forget fun add-ons like fruit garnishes, mini umbrellas, or colorful cocktail stirrers. Bonus points if you serve them in retro glassware or old souvenir cups.  

Have some fun

Adults looking at their tie dye shirt creations during a slumber party
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What’s a sleepover without activities? A movie marathon is classic, but why not try something a little more unplugged to keep your hands busy — all the better for catching up while you get a little crafty.

Try tie-dye.

The trend that is going nowhere and is a cinch to DIY. The easiest way to do this with a crowd? Have everyone bring something they want to customize! Some great options: a t-shirt, a tote bag, some sweatpants or shorts. To keep the sleepover theme, have everyone dye a white sleep mask.

The key here is to choose an item made with natural fabric like cotton instead of synthetic materials. From there, using a simple dye kit from your local craft store will ensure that you’re all candy-colored in no time, provided you follow the package instructions. The real beauty here is you end up using all the dye, since you’re dying multiple items, instead of tossing leftovers.  

DIY a linen spray. 

You won’t believe how easy it is to make a custom scent for your sheets. 

  1. Mix a one-to-one ratio of distilled water and vodka and essential oils.
  2. Add the vodka to a dark-colored glass spray bottle first, then add 15-30 drops of essential oil (amount of scent depends on your taste, start with fewer drops, then you can always add more).
  3. Then add the distilled water. Shake and spray!

Lavender or chamomile are great scents for promoting sleep.  

Make your own jewelry. 

Two people using beads and string to make bracelets as a slumber party activity
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Have you ever heard of polymer clay? This easy-to-use material lets you mold a pair of earrings or make a pendant and then bake it till it hardens. It’s simple and fun. Buy chains, earring pieces and more to complete the jewelry piece. The polymer clay can be molded, mixed together for a cool marbled effect, cut into playful shapes, or imprinted on. Use your imagination! 

Make flower crowns. 

These are so fun to make. Our pro advice? Use dried florals, grasses, herbs, and more to enjoy the fruits of your labor beyond one evening.

  1. Gather your dried flowers, green stem wire, green florist wire, floral snips, floral tape, and ribbons.
  2. Using two floral stems, create a circle that fits your head.
  3. Twist the ends of stems together tightly to form the base of your crown.
  4. Create small bunches of flowers and wire them together, then wire them to the crown.
  5. You can completely cover the wire base or decorate just the front or back. Finish with ribbons!  

Go glam, version 2.0

Three adults with face masks on, enjoying a cup of tea before bed
Lucia Romero Herranz / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

Gone are the days of questionable homemade masks from kitchen supplies! As adults, we’ve learned a thing or two and upgraded our skincare. Here’s how to indulge in a little beauty routine.

  • Have everyone bring their favorite sheet mask. Or you can go out and purchase a few sample sizes from your favorite local beauty store. Have everyone swap and try a different mask that they’ve never used before. You can also freeze rollers, use under-eye patches, and microcurrent devices to give yourself a glow. 
  • Don’t forget to moisturize! Post-masque make sure everyone slathers on a good moisturizer. The combination of a late night, alcohol, and sugar can show up on your skin, but moisturizing can definitely help take the edge off.  
  • Upgrade your nails. Skip traditional manis in favor of some cool nail art with some stick-on gel manicures. They’re less messy, allow for cooler designs, and will still look good in the morning. Plus, having your girlfriends around for a little extra help doesn’t hurt with the application process, in case you need a hand.  

Skip the gossip and go to sleep, girl

Staying up late to catch up on conversations can be tempting but this is where the grown-up part of you should kick in. Make having a reasonable bedtime, such as any time before midnight, one of the perks of your party so that everyone feels well-rested by the next morning. If you have to, suggest brunch as that extra nudge of motivation. (May we suggest this pancake cereal with lavender syrup?)

And as an extra reminder, you don't have to invite everyone on your contact list! Keep the party small to two friends or even just one close one. Sleepover-core is about the nostalgia, not the numbers.

Now what are you waiting for? Start planning your own grown-up slumber party! Why should kids get to have all the fun?