Long Island kids' sleepovers get a major upgrade with glampover tents
Sleepovers have gone from basic to bespoke. Just ask the growing list of Long Island parents who’ve hired party pros to glamp things up.
"Slumber parties are definitely more glamorous than when I grew up," says Roslyn mom Jordana Levine, 40, who recalls having fun as a girl crashing on the floor at her friends’ homes.
That’s a galaxy away from her daughter Zoe’s 9th birthday sleepover in January celebrated with five besties. "I love throwing elaborate parties," says Levine, "but this was a way to scale things back and still make it special."
The family’s basement was transformed into a dazzling "glampground" featuring a unifying starry theme. The out-of-this-world motif was prominent on six adorable A-frame tents (each with a comfy mattress) and decorations throughout.
Zoe Levine says her sleepover was "magical."
In the past few years, companies that specialize in jazzing up traditional slumber parties have popped up on and around Long Island. Images of these beautifully curated affairs have flooded social media.
CREATING A GLAMPGROUND
A-frame tents for privacy wrapped in decorative fabrics are mainstays at the parties, along with coordinated tray tables (for nighttime and morning nibbles) and accessories that accentuate the theme. Motifs are practically unlimited. Some of the popular ones include mermaids, princesses, sports and neon.
Janine Halikias, 51, launched her company, Starlight Slumber Party, "right before COVID-19 hit," she says. "Since then, I’ve definitely seen a surge in popularity."
"Decor and elegance have become part of the sleepover," says Halikias, a former magazine art director and mom who lives in Rockville Centre. "There’s a huge transformation. Mothers are usually the most shocked."
Melissa Wrenn, 43, a St. James mom with two girls who works for a mortgage company, was surprised and delighted by the experience special-occasion pros at CC Slumber Party delivered for her daughter Kayla’s 13th birthday in February.
"Kayla didn’t want anything babyish at her first teen birthday," says Wrenn, adding that they opted for a winter wonderland vibe in a cool palette of silver, blue and white.
Wrenn moved some furniture out of the basement. Then she let Christina Tetrault, of Kings Park, and Cindy Ocampo, of Holtsville, set everything up for a handful of guests including the birthday girl’s 10-year-old sister Macey.
Making things easy for moms and dads is part of the appeal of glamped up sleepovers. Since launching their company in 2019, business has boomed for sleepovers and sleepunders, daytime get-togethers for children who are too young for an overnight party. So much so Ocampo hasn’t returned to work as a library teacher, and Tetrault has scaled back work as a florist to focus on their business.
They've even outgrown storage space in the basements of their homes. They’ve expanded to a shed and a garage. "Our husbands are always at Lowe's buying shelving," says Tetrault. She adds, "our advertising is through social media, word-of-mouth and donations to schools and other organizations."
Kristen Taormina, 40, is a Smithtown mom whose triplets Braedan, Arienne and Eponine turned 11 in September. She used CC Slumber Party for back-to-back sleepover birthday celebrations for her girls in 2020 and 2021.
The guest list each time was limited for safety’s sake. The wow factor was off the charts. "I’m a big experience person," says Taormina. "I would rather have experiences over things any day of the week. I also have two very different little girls, even though they were born together."
Each birthday girl chose three friends to invite and her own celebratory theme. The siblings agree that the parties were big successes.
"I loved the individual trays and all the soft pillows we got to use," says Eponine, who chose dragons as a theme when her sister picked unicorns. "And the plaques with our names."
"My favorite part of our slumber parties is playing Just Dance with my friends at 3 a.m.," says Arienne. "The tents look so awesome in the dark, all lit up with twinkle lights."
Effie Thabet, 42, a mom of three in North Bellmore, was another happy CC Slumber Party customer. The owners pulled together a Hogwarts-inspired sleepover to mark her daughter Sofia’s 10th birthday in October 2020.
While still being cautious and keeping the guest list down, "it was a way to kick things up a notch," Thabet says. The party cast a spell worthy of a wizard, according to Sofia. "My friends and I loved how much effort and detail was put into each tent," she says. "It felt like we were in the 'Harry Potter' universe — sleepover style."
Sarah Cruz, 28, a second grade teacher who lives in New Jersey, launched SlumberBee Teepee in August 2020. Since then, business has been buzzing. She’s done party setups in Babylon, Medford, Oyster Bay and Rockville Centre.
She’s collaborating with Woodbury event pro Roni Gaon, 36, who runs Parties by Roni, on a Long Island birthday gathering in April. The sleepunder is for a soon-to-be 6-year-old whose mother, Chaitanya Chevireddy, an internist, says is a "mini fashionista." The planned theme includes unicorns and florals. Activities on deck are manicures and glitter hairbraiding.
"I was scrolling through posts of a party Roni had done earlier," says Chevireddy. "My daughter, Maya, saw them, she said, ‘I’d like that.’"
Starting prices for an individual tent set-up vary and run between $80 and $140. You can find more information at company websites:
CC Slumber Party; 631-475-0124, ccslumberparty.com
SlumberBee Teepee; 704-526-5715 slumberbeeteepee.com
Starlight Slumber Party; 516-654-0033; starlightslumberparty.com