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Last Updated on December 19, 2022

Who doesn’t love the 80’s? It was a period that gave us some great movies, awesome music, interesting haircuts, and questionable fashion trends. Not only that, but people weren’t concerned about how many likes their Instagram posts were getting, or on their phones using filers to take selfies, it was a much easier time.

So it may be a good idea to throw an 80s themed party for someone you know. You don’t need to be an 80s baby to enjoy the benefits of a 1980s themed party. You can throw an 80s party for someone that loves the 80s, a retro game night or music night that appreciates the 1980s as a cool period, or you could throw a party for college or high-school friends that you graduated within the 80s. The possibilities are endless. Here is a quick guide to 1980s party planning for you to enjoy and take inspiration from.

The Dress Code

Eighties fashion trends broadened the color palette for clothes, makeup, shoes, and accessories, incorporating fluorescent pinks, electric blues, and highlighter yellows. So don’t be afraid to go bold with your ’80s theme party look.

The safe idea is to create a theme based on a popular movie or set of movies. Encourage your friends to watch their favorite ’80s movies to get inspiration for their ’80s party wardrobe. It doesn’t have to be complicated—put on a red hoodie and blue jeans and presto—you’re Elliott from “E.T.” You can also coordinate with other guests to dress as the cast of your favorite ’80s feature. Some fun options include

  • Ghostbusters
  • T.
  • The Goonies
  • Top Gun
  • Back to the Future

Music

80s music is awesome, and the best part is, you don’t need a cassette tape to play the music with terrible quality anymore. High-end sound functionality can be found in many speakers now, allowing you and your friends to enjoy crisp, clear music for as long as you want. In terms of what music to include, look to make a playlist with songs from the likes of

  • Madonna
  • George Michael
  • Michael Jackson
  • Queen
  • Prince
  • David Bowie
  • Elton John
  • The Bangles
  • Status Quo
  • Salt-N-Pepa
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Decorations

When it comes to decorating for your 1980s party, the more color, the better, look to buy some colorful balloons and plates and cups. A combination of helium and latex is best with the balloons because it contrasts with balloons at the top and bottom of the room. Similarly, anything with a neon-like style will go down a treat with an 80’s party, so any tacky glow in the dark items will be super-useful.

Similarly, look to bring in some glowsticks and turn out the lights for a little extra neon fun. Use this to set the scene for a dance party segment or theme your whole bash around the idea of a radical glow-in-the-dark party. Whether or not you break out the glow sticks, neon lighting is definitely the way to go for an authentic 80s theme party.

Deck out your place with a neon word sign like “I love the 80s” or a quote from your favorite 80s movie. Add strip lighting or swap out your usual bulbs for color-changing LEDs for an easy way to add neon colors to your party.

Having a retro photo booth and some cool props is yet another winning combination. Look to get hold of soe neon props, large sunglasses, a cowboy hat, and an inflatable bird, trust us with that last one, it works a treat.

Retro inflatable decorations are such a fun way to add a touch of whimsy and nostalgia to your party. We love brightly coloured boomboxes, giant cell phones, bananas, microphones, and guitars. Encourage your guests to pose for photos and use some of these props in party games or karaoke battles later in the evening.

Games, Games and more Games

If you are looking to have a games night or have a couple of games scattered around the party, then you are in for a treat. There are so many games that are still played today that originated in the 1980s that are just perfect for any party.

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Set up an area where guests can enjoy 80s classics like Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Tetris, Frogger, and Super Mario Bros. You can stay authentic and rent or borrow classic video game consoles or opt for the modern versions on today’s consoles instead. If you’re feeling creative, you could even base your whole party theme around your favorite 80s video game.

Not only that, but you can center your party around a favorite board game or board games, maybe older games or board games like monopoly, the game of life, charades, or hide and seek could be fun. Top Tip: Hide and seek against people that are dressed in full-neon attire is a hilarious experience.

If all else fails, there is always 80’s trivia or karaoke. Both of those ideas are sure to be hugely popular because everyone likes to think that they know everything, and everyone likes to think that they are the best singer on the planet. This is especially true if alcohol is present. However, be warned, things may get a little heated with all of that competitive spirit floating around. And everyone knows that you are the best singer anyway…right?

When the Party is Over

Party favors are a very important part of the whole ‘having a party process’. If you can make your party favors relate to the party’s theme, then that is even better. You could send guests home with a Rubik’s cube, themed cupcakes, or an airbrushed T-shirt inside themed favor boxes. Similarly, you could include some 80s candy or a link to the playlist you made for the party.

FAQs

What should I serve at an 80s birthday party?

Serve juice boxes and Capri Sun as beverage options. An 80s theme birthday party is a fun option for a guest of honour who grew up in that decade and anyone who appreciates the unique culture of the 80s. The birthday cake may be the star of the menu but be sure to include some other fun options.

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What should be worn to an 80s birthday party?

The 80s gave us so many eye-popping fashion trends. (Hello, scrunchies, mullets, lace blouses, and ripped jeans!) Bring back that style and have fun with it by introducing a dress code for your retro bash. Alternatively, you can pick a couple of movies from the 1980s and make them the central theme for the party.

Why are there so many 1980s themed party games?

Back in the 1980s, there were no Xbox or PlayStation consoles, there were no phones or tablets, so people had to come up with regular party games. Many of these games have stood the test of time and have become more and more popular as years have gone on.

Can 80s parties be expensive?

Any party can be expensive or cheap. It depends on what you intend to buy and where you shop. A party does not need to be lavish to be fun, and just because it is cheap, doesn’t mean it is not a good party either. It is not about how much money you spend that matters but how much fun you have.

What retro candy can I buy for a 1980s themed party?

Some of the candy from the 1980s is quite hard to find and some may not even be in production anymore. But if you were looking to get some candy for an 80s party, then look no further than Pop Rocks, Bubble Gum Cigarettes, Lemonheads, Gobstoppers and Sherbet Dips! They are just a few of the timeless classics.