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How to Host the Perfect Sign Night

A sign night is when you, for the “first” time, go out drinking legally after turning 21. You wear a sign around your neck and run around to bars completing ridiculous tasks all night. 

When two of my closest friends turned 21 and asked me to plan their sign night, I didn’t know where to start. It seemed like nothing existed on the Internet on how to properly host a sign night. I was clueless.

But now, I’ve successfully hosted sign nights for four different people. I think I’ve figured out every step of the process — from the pre-game, to the stickers, to the actual sign. So for your sake and sanity, here is how to hold the perfect sign night. 

Step 1: The Facebook Event

Yes, you need to make a Facebook event page for a sign night, but this is no ordinary event page. 

This event page is meant to honor all of the embarrassing things a person has done. First things first, make sure the event is set on private. Your friend will probably be pretty mad if employers can find this. 

Next, it’s time to think about the title of the event. This could be anything that has to do with the person you’re throwing the sign night for. For example, if my friend was obsessed with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, her sign night could be “Kelly’s Red Hot 21st.” You really just need to feel out the person and think of what they would want.

Now for the event description; this should be a paragraph or so, inviting people to the pregame for the sign night and narrating how the night will go for the lucky 21 year-old. For example: “Come one, come all, because Kelly is turning 21. She’s ready to paint the town red, and…” 

Don’t forget to include a photo for the event, preferably something from a funny night out or an ugly snapchat.

Invite all of their friends, and let them post their own ugly photos on the wall for the event. 

Step 2: The Sign

The sign is the most important part of the entire night. Don’t let this be an afterthought.

The sign should encompass some part of the person’s personality. For example, if they love a certain television show or food, maybe include that in the sign. The sign should also have a slogan on it that relates to the event page. This could be the same title as the page, or a new one that goes along with the sign.

There are different ways to make a sign. If you’re artistic, you can paint one yourself on a foam board. Or, you can create one on Photoshop and get it printed and laminated at a place like Target Copy. Personally, I like hand painted signs. You can even hire an artistic person to make the sign for you.

On the back of the sign, you need to put 21 “tasks” for the person to complete on their sign night with check boxes next to them. These tasks could be “post 21 snaps on your story” or “dance on a bar.” It’s good to make the tasks realistic so they can complete all of them by the end of the night. 

Step 3: The Stickers

The stickers can be done more at last minute than the sign. On the sign night, everyone in attendance wears a sticker. The stickers basically include another aspect of the person’s personality and should be different than the sign. They also should have a slogan, or at least say something like: “Kelly’s 21st.”

If you have time, you can design and order stickers on avery.com to be shipped to you. If you don’t have a week to wait on shipping, you can pick up blank Avery brand stickers at Office Depot. You can then go online to avery.com/print and find the template you bought. You can design the stickers and then download a PDF of them to get printed onto the template. For best results, take the sticker sheets to Target Copy so they can align them and print them perfectly.

Step 4: The Pre-Game

The pre-game is the party before going out where the sign is revealed. It’s normally held at someone’s off-campus apartment or house. 

Normally the host only provides a few snacks and some soda.

Your job is to decorate the apartment. There should be cute decorations on the walls, and something on the door so people can easily find the apartment. The most important thing is to have a cute wall where people can take photos. Floor length streamers, bubble balloons and tassels are all cute ways to decorate a plain wall.

Here you can start handing out stickers to people. About an hour or so into the party, around 9:30 – 10 p.m., you can reveal the sign. Make sure the birthday girl or boy is facing away. Meanwhile, everyone who hosted the sign night stands behind them holding the sign. Take photos with them behind the person whose sign night it is. Then count down from three and they’ll turn around. With all hope, they’ll love their sign.

Voila! You’ve just pulled off planning a sign night. It can be super stressful. However, with careful planning, it can be fun for all involved.


Photo Credit:

Ashley Miller


Kelly is a sophomore studying telecommunications and English at UF. She is the Campus Cutie writer and couldn't be more excited for her first semester on the Her Campus UFL team! Kelly is an avid traveler, coffee lover, and Netflix junkie. She is also a member of Delta Zeta and a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. Kelly spent her summer at WWSB ABC 7 as a digital media intern. She hopes to one day produce and write for television in a city like New York or Toronto.
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