it’s all the rave

Warning: This post isn’t nearly as long as it appears in the mirror. There are a lot of definitions that you can scan. But. If you have a teen or a child that will be soon, you MUST read this post and inform yourself on this topic. Because guess what? It isn’t going away and the kids are pulling off the old I’m sleeping over at Bobby’s and Bobby is saying he is with Jimmy and Jimmy is with Stone and guess what? They are all at a Rave.

A couple of weeks ago I was peacefully enjoying a book in my bedroom when I received a text from my son.

Him: Can I go to a rave with some friends in two weeks?

Me: *blinks eyes several times then rereads the text* What exactly is a rave? (Because clearly it must mean something different than it used to.)

Him: Idk. Ive never been. Im pretty sure its just a big party

Me: (online frantically doing research and finding out that NOPE it doesn’t mean anything different than it used to and wanting to scope out the extent of his knowledge.) What exactly is a rave?

Him: Its like everyone can I go its like…organized. Idk.

Me: K. (knowing he wouldn’t be going, but stalling while I researched) Find out where it is please.

Him: its down town and we would just go with my friend taylor and just hang out with him and he lives downtown so they usually just spend the night at his house cause it goes late.

Umm. Yeah. That? Is a NO.

But? Before I was the Wicked Witch of the East that concocted a secret potion to ruin his high school career by making him the kid who couldn’t go have the fun many of his friends were having? I decided to do my research. Search and find I did.

Some very good parents that I know have chosen to allow their teens to attend. I have heard some say that if the kid is good, they should be trusted. Also that they could do the same thing at the house of out of town parents. That it appears if they are just having a good time dancing. And? Some of that is true. 

However. I wonder if they have ever seen a rave in action.

A sampling of a teen rave.

Pick your mouth up off the ground and let’s talk about a few things. One. I have clearly turned into a prude and I am proud of it. Oooh. I should have t-shirts and buttons made and we could all wear them. Prudish and Proud.

Is this where you want your teens hanging out on the weekends? Instead of going to their high school football games, they are hanging out at raves? What the hell is that? They will have plenty of time in their 20s to go to dance clubs. Yes?

High school is for drama clubs and sitting together at home games pulling for your team. It’s for nights at the county fair, going to haunted houses together and pretending to be petrified by the guy chasing you with a chain saw. (To my high school posse. I was not pretending.)

You can thank the Europeans for yet another decision you must make as the parent of a teen. Why? That is where these beat pounding light lasering parties began. No offense to the Europeans. Just. Saying.

Raves are set up in warehouses, bars and other large open spaces. They typically have 250 – several thousand kids in attendance. There is a strict, NO ALCOHOL policy at Raves. Well? I guess that is something.

You might have noticed that a lot of kids in that video have brightly colored bracelets all up and down their arms. Or how about those pacifiers? Those parents really should have stopped that habit when those kids were toddlers, I thought. Their teeth must be a mess

Then? I did some research to find out what they were all about.

eHow offered this definition of those bracelets and also a “how to” of course:

Something that has grown out of rave parties is a bracelet called a “rave bracelet.” These bracelets are also sometimes called “Kandi bracelets” or “Candi bracelets” because a rave attendee is often called a “K(C)andi kid.”

Youngsters enjoy making these simple and colorful bracelets and exchanging them with friends as a way of remembering raves that they have attended. These bracelets are easy to make. They can be wildly colorful and either simple or intricate. Here are a few suggestions for making fun rave bracelets.

Which leads to this term: Kandi Kid

Wikipedia definition:

A Kandi Kid (commonly called a “Candy Raver”, or “Kandi Raver”) is a rave attendee who exchanges or shares small gifts, primarily beads, necklaces, toys, bracelets or stickers. The defining part of a Kandi Kid’s appearance is their wearing of many homemade bracelets made of plastic beads, known as Kandi. The bracelets are often given as gifts to remember past raves and commemorate new friendships. Kandi Kids are also known (and sometimes identified) by their brightly colored style. They are often found wearing bright clothing depicting “trippy” designs, as well as cartoon characters, hair extensions or hair falls, fake dreadlocks, childish attire, chew toys laced on string around their necks, fuzzy gators (loose legwarmers), visor hats, hair clips and much bright makeup.

Kandi Kids often find one or more things to wear that make them appear different from other Kandi Kids and people in general. This individuality allows for easy recognition. It often is a particular style or color of hair, a particular hat, shirt, pair of pants, gloves, headphones, belt or other accessory.

This in particular caught my eye: …common practice of Kandi Kids giving out edible candy such as hard candy, lollipops, gum, and suckers to fellow ravers and Kandi Kids alike. This practice has two reasons, however. One is for the mere purpose of enjoying the candy, and the second is to lessen the teeth grinding that occurs due to ecstasy use.

Those pacifiers? Not so cute. Their real purpose is to keep the kids teeth from grinding from all that ecstasy.

Another term you might be interested in? Raver. My favorite place to check in on teen trends, Urban Dictionary, supplied this definition:

A raver can be anyone who attends an all night party (could be underground and small or “bust-free” and a massive) consisting of DJs who play electronic dance music (for example: trance, house, happy hardcore, drum & bass, etc.) frequently. There is still debate about whether or not someone is considered a “raver” if they only attend the massives and never go to any of the smaller, underground ones. A raver does not have to use ecstasy; some have chosen to dance sober therefore being called a raver does not necessarily mean being called a drug addict. It is, however, quite a popular drug in the scene, nonetheless, since it enhances the music and the lights for most people as well as gets rid of any inhibitions. The rave scene in England officially started in 1987/1988 while in America, it started in the early 90s. The rave culture is still going strong although raves are much more commercialized now than when the movement first began.

If the potential for drug use isn’t enough to scare you off, you might also consider this. Often times these parties are over a thousand kids. There is little to no security at these events. No one to get a situation under control should a fight break out or a fire get started. No one to monitor drug use. No one to make sure there is no under age drinking. No one to help your daughter should a roofy be dropped in her drink by some drugged out college student who is crashing the party.

This is not a place for our teenagers. There is plenty of time later for them to explore the dangers of raves. Soon enough, high school will be over and guess what? They will never be able to be in high school again. Preserve their youth. Allow them to be in high school while they are in high school. And yes. I know. They can get into trouble anywhere, but why would we want to knowingly lead them to it?

An excellent source of information on RAVES.


  1. says

    After we talked on Saturday I did ask Nick if he had ever gone to one. Miraculously he had not! But he said it was not from lack of opportunity – he’s just pissed because he would love to have been one of those sober dancers since music is his thing BUT the drug scene turned him off and he said he knew there was no way to avoid it at those events. (yeah, I was shocked by that opinion of his given his history. Guess there was a time & a place for experimentation and a time and a place for dancing & he didn’t like them being mixed up)
    Anyhow – great information and you know you will not be the only parent causing your son’s social demise at school since mine wont be allowed near one either. I just wish more of the parents in our area would get their damn heads out of the sand about these things.

  2. Sondra Santos Drahos says

    You have a great relationship with your son since he’s asking your permission (and not lying about it as so many other kids will do).

    Hopefully you can encourage him to keep being honest and open with you and if not, I can share some horror stories with him – having been to raves in my late teens / early twenties that still give me nightmares today.

    Oh, and I am so not looking forward to the teen years. You’re my mentor when it’ll be my turn.

  3. says

    I know all about raves, from my 20’s, and my kids are not going anywhere near them. I hope I have as good a relationship with my kids as you do with yours so that they come to me first before attending one. Oh, I have anxiety again!

  4. Erin says

    I fully intend to teach my kids all about D&D, Star Trek, chess, and spelling bees.

    Seem unrelated? Not really, dorks don’t get invited anywhere and thus my parenting technique is born.

    It will work, right? Right?

  5. Jesse Roth says

    Heres my take…………..What some kids "call" a rave–may not be the true definition of an actual "rave"–However I would say no myself.

    Keep in mind–as I was once a teenager myself—–It I knew my parents may say no–I would call it something else the next time I asked. Like next time your precious angel may just say "Hey, can I spend the night at Jimmies house?"

    Of course I had an advantage over most of my teenaged friends at the time. Most of my friends were the oldest of their siblings, I was one of the youngest. I took notes on how badly my brothers had messed up. Like coming home stumbling drunk after having lied about where I was going to be was a no-no. By the time I was 17 I could walk out the door and say "Hey mom, I will be at Shannons house–She may have a few people over so if theres drinking involved I’ll call you and let you know I will be spending the night"…Hand her the phone number and say "If I go somewhere other then Shan’s I will call and let you know" I think my COMPLETE honesty bowled her over!

  6. Victoria Landingham says

    mother trucker…..i pray for all u moms….what happened to a mowed down corn field, a keg of PBR and maybe…i say MAYBE a joint or two???????? xoxxo
    a loving aunt of two + two

  7. says

    i would say "HELL NO" to my kids. organized or not. my definition of rave or not. anything that is called a rave, in my book, equals BAD NEWS.
    bad. bad news.
    i’m hoping we don’t have these things called ‘raves" in michigan. but, i’m sure we do. i’m rethinking letting my kids leave the house, like ever.

  8. BJ Cook says

    Wow, let’s infuse some "BOY" perspective into this post. Disclaimer: I have a little girl with another one on the way, so not teenagers.

    From having been at these "Raves" in the Barrio area in someone’s warehouse about 6-8 years ago; you all have a good base instinct to not let your kids go. Because I was in my twenties, I had been through many experiences so all the drugs and things floating around didn’t interest me. So I’d say that for a highschooler, it may be different. The temptation may seem easy to negate prior to an event, but once you’re in that environment and feeling even a tiny bit impressionable, a cute girl or guy can make that decision a lot easier for you.

    So here’s to healthy relationships with our kids and hopefully they make the right decisions, even though we should also give them the chance too, right?

  9. Elle says

    I was a raver for a few years in the 90s (while I was in my late teens). I’m in Europe. It was a huge scene here. During that period I used all the recreational drugs, as did all the people who were there with me.

    I come from a good home, with good values. I have a good education and had a good job at the time.

    Now I’m a parent, and bringing my children up with good values in a good home.

    This won’t stop them falling into the same scene I did all those years ago. So I’m with you Stef.. there’s no way in hell I’d give permission for my kids to go to a rave. It means the same now as it meant then, and there are more recreational drugs out there now, increasing the risk.

    I don’t want my children to take the risks I took. Luckily I didn’t end up being a statistic, as many of my peers did.

  10. says

    I went to a few of these myself while in my early twenties. Based on personal experience… you’re absolutely right. I would never allow my kids there. I know my kids will get themselves into sticky situations enough on their own, just like I did. The only reason I didn’t do half of what I could have is because I was scared to death I’d be grounded for the rest of my life!! There’s something to be said for being a parent, not a friend.

  11. Paula Danner says

    wow – thank you for that article! I hung around the LA rock scene for some years in my 20’s – not likely I would have ever approved a "rave" for my boys, but now I know definitively why.

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