We are totally geeking out over the solar eclipse that’s crossing the United States on April 8., 2024 In fact, we think it’s the perfect excuse to throw a solar eclipse party! If your kids aren’t in school yet or will be home in time for the afternoon event, check out these easy solar eclipse party ideas. From snacks and activities to the important gear you need to watch the eclipse safely, this is everything you need to throw a once-in-a-lifetime party. Literally.

And no, there’s no Bonnie Tyler playlist requirement; though that’s totally up to you.

This post updated since the last once-in-a-lifetime eclipse in 2017
This post contains affiliate links and some purchases may help support our team at no additional cost to you.
Top photo: Moon Cookies by Oh Sugar Events, sadly out of business. We need them!

Know when to throw your solar eclipse party

First things first: know when the eclipse will be passing over your town. The US Navy (above) and the scientists at NASA have calculators so you can find out exactly when you’ll see the eclipse, based on your zip code. So, plan your party for that moment.

Research your best viewing spot

Solar eclipse party ideas: Picnic party at Catch My Party

Now that you know exactly what time the eclipse will happen where you live, you can do some early recon work to find your best viewing spot for the event. Top of the driveway? Roof of your apartment building? Find someplace with an unobstructed view.

Then lay out blankets and throw pillows so people can sit (or even lie) down instead of craning their necks standing up — remember, it’s more than 2 hours long.  I love this picnic setup we found at Catch My Party, with some really fantastic ideas. Because of course, you’ll want to fill each basket with solar glasses, snacks, and drinks to pass the time while you wait for the big moment.

If it’s still cold in your neck of the woods (remember, the last eclipse was in August), it can’t hurt to have some hand warmers available so no one’s tempted to go inside and miss the event.

Have safe eclipse glasses and gear on hand

Celestron safe solar eclipse glasses

You can’t stare straight at the sun without permanently damaging your retinas. (Seriously, don’t do it.) So, check out our guide to NASA’s tips for safe viewing.

SPACE.com also has a list of the best safe solar eclipse glasses for sale including our picks: The MedicalKing Solar Eclipse glasses for just $14.99 on sale at Target if you hurry; or the Celestron EclipSmart Safe Solar Eclipse Glasses (above) for $29.99 at Best Buy. (They may restock at Amazon)

Remember, if you’re watching through a lens, like a camera or binoculars, you’ll need filters for your camera or binoculars too, SUPER important!

Serve solar eclipse-themed snacks, of course

Homemade galaxy slushie recipe for the eclipse, via Kraft

Obviously, you’re going to need some themed snacks for this event. For something special, check our guide to 7 delicious, easy, last-minute solar eclipse-themed treats. One of the easiest: The Eclipse Smoothie, above, from Kraft recipes.

If your style is keeping it simple, swing through the grocery and grab some Sun Chips and Moon Pies. Easy.

Easy eclipse party ideas: Galaxy Cookies at Sugar Spun Run

Or, get clever in your own kitchen with some amazing homemade solar eclipse-themed desserts for your party. In addition to our easy, galaxy themed treat suggestions we found these ZOMG cool. homemade Galaxy Cookies at Sugar Spun Run — use star cookie cutters, or check out these brilliant cycles of the moon cookie cutters.

Busy mom tip: you can always go semi-homemade with store-bought cookies or refrigerated cookie doe, then decorate with their techniques.

Have fun eclipse activities for kids on hand

Easy eclipse party ideas: A simple eclipse craft from Books and Giggles

Here’s the sad news: After all this planning, the height of the eclipse is going to last less than 3 minutes and kids are going to need some things to do in the time leading up to that — and probably after. That means you need some solar eclipse party activities.

I love this eclipse craft for kids (above) at Books and Giggles that teaches kids how an eclipse actually works. Also, it’s incredibly simple — perfect for a big crowd of younger kids.

Related: 5 expert tips for watching the solar eclipse with kids

DIY moon sand recipe from parenting chaos: Fun for an eclipse watching party or...anytime!

If you’ve got preschoolers at your party, think about setting up a couple of shallow buckets of DIY moon sand for them to play in. The recipe we found at Parenting Chaos is great because it’s safe to taste. And you know kids.

But you can also just put out simple sketch pads paper and crayons to ask kids to draw what they see around them. Or give journals for older kids who can write about the day or try to write a poem starting with the letters in ECLIPSE.

For tweens and teens, have them make their own solar eclipse glasses out of a cereal box from this tutorial from a NASA scientist.

Even if you plan nothing at all, make sure your camera or phone is charged to take pictures and document the event. One day, our kids may be asking each other, “So, where were you during the full solar eclipse?”

We hope you have the best time safely enjoying the eclipse and making memories with your kids. Go science!