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80s Party Ideas

Nostalgia is taking over the 80s and 80s party ideas are all the rage. I admit that I basically grew up in the 70s and 80s, and I enjoy watching stuff like VH1's series of programs on "I Love the 70s" and "I Love the 80s." I can't believe that some of the things they talk about were really in the 80s. Some of it seems like it should be in the 70s, like it was sooooo long ago. Guess that's what makes it nostalgia, huh? Some of the stuff is too funny, totally forgotten until it's mentioned on the show and I sit there going, "Oh yeah! I remember that!" And you'll remember some of the things I suggest for your 80s party ideas too!


A basement or big room is perfect for all of your 80s party ideas. You can also consider doing this at an 80s retro nightclub if it's appropriate.


If you want to create your own (and you might want to since I haven't been able to find any 80s party ideas invitations!), the text can be something like Valley Girl speak (yeah, like it'll be so totally, like, gnarly if you could, like, be there) or "It would be Bad to the Bone if you'd come" or "Come have a bodacious time at the party!" or "Be Fresh! Be There!" or "Come Party With Us Like It's 1985!" I know, I know, they're all kinda cheezy (another 80s slang term), but whatever works, huh? You can search for invitations (or ideas) at eInvite or FineStationery.


The 80s were filled with, ahem, colorful characters, from Flock of Seagulls to Boy George to KISS, so costumes for 80s party ideas - whether you've chosen a theme or specific year or not - shouldn't be difficult to think of. Be sure to note on the invitations if you expect your guests to dress up. Find any costume attire you need at


Favors for 80s party ideas can include CD compilations of 80s music, neon colored hats, neon glow items, 80s albums or VHS tapes of movies, Tom Cruise sunglasseses (from Risky Business), Madonna style bangle jewelry, leg warmers, hair mousse (or even a crimping iron!), ripped t-shirts (Flashdance style), one red glove (Michael Jackson), etc. The possibilities, especially for funny favors, are endless!


For 80s party ideas, you can choose a basic theme like punk rock, Pop (Madonna/Michael Jackson), Stars of the 80s, a movie (Ferris Bueller, Sixteen Candles), or a theme based on whatever other special memories you or the party's guest of honor might have. You don't have to limit to a particular theme, though. Here are some general decade ideas:

-> Metallic, neon, and black balloons and streamers (in any combination). Lace and long strings of beads can also be used. Metallic gossamer would look really cool.

-> Hang movie posters and album covers on the walls, and hang vinyl records from the ceiling.

-> Table centerpieces for 80s party ideas can be anything with silver tones or a dressed up fad item. Or, you can provide a more elegant atmosphere with a candle that has either a silver candle holder, or you can wrap some gaudy jewlery around it. Or, you can tie a lace bow around it. Or, you can stand several glow sticks in a cup or glass as a centerpiece (kind of like a glowing bouquet!).

-> Use black, silver, and neon colored tableware (in any combination) if you aren't using a "birthday" or another type of celebration's pattern.

-> Get standups of your favorite 80s move and TV starts - photo-realistic lifesize cutouts . Then you can have people stand with them and take pictures for favors or after-party gifts!

Get more 80s party ideas for decorations here.


80s party ideas food can be typical party fare. Let's face it, 80s pop culture was riddled with junk food, so what you'll be serving will most likely, by default, be better than we ate in the 80s! However, your typical party fare can be renamed after movies, songs, or people of the 80s. For example, you could serve Metallica Meatballs, Pretty In Pink cookies (sugar cookies with pink frosting), LoveShack pasta salad, Sex Pistols Sandwiches. And be sure to have pizza. I know it's still a staple, but it sure was popular in the 80s. Hey, remember the "Make Your Own Pizza" places? I used to work at one! ha ha! You could have premade pizza dough (or crust) and have everyone make their own pizzas. Another food that I remember being popular was the crepe. You can make mushroom/cheese crepes and/or dessert crepes... Get more ideas from the links on the Party Food page.


Don't forget drinks of the 80s. Pink champagne, wine coolers, Southern Comfort, Long Island Iced Tea, etc. Include the basics like coffee, beer, soda, iced tea, and wine. Search for mixed drink recipes at


If it's a birthday or other special celebration, you'll need a cake. Or you might just want a cake as a dessert item. Some ideas are a round cake that looks like a vinyl record, the face of anyone famous (movies, TV, music, political), a square Rubix cube (or any other popular 80s game), a favorite album cover or movie poster, Space Invaders or PacMan, etc. Check out these cake decorating resources for more ideas.


80s theme parties games can include 80s Trivia, Twister, Breakdance contest, lip synching contest.... I've read about Rubik's Cube games, but that seems like it would take too long. You can, however, have a few of the cubes around for people to play with. You can do the same with other 80s games like electronic Simon Says, Battleship, Connect Four, anything Nerf, Alf or Star Wars toys. As people drink their wine coolers, they'll get into this stuff! If you can find one, an Atari (or some of the classic games on a newer system) would be really cool. Remember Centipede, Space Invaders, PacMan....

Another neat idea is to have all the guests bring a picture of them in the 80s, hang them all up together, and have everyone guess who is who. You can also have guests tell their best/worst memories and have everyone vote on which is best/worst.

Don't forget to have a lip-synching contest!

More game ideas - > Games.


Your musical entertainment for 80s theme parties really depends on the kind of 80s party you want to have. You can go

-> Dance music with stuff like Madonna, J.Geils Band, Huey Lewis and the News, Cindy Lauper, Talking Heads, Prince, Duran Duran, Culture Club, Wham, B52s, etc.

-> Punk with music from Black Flag, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Billy Idol, Dead Kennedys, Generation X, The Ramones, The Misfits, Blondie, etc.

-> Classic Rock with music from artists like Stevie Nicks, Peter Gabriel, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Pat Benatar, Pink Floyd, Queen, Journey, Styx, Steve Miller Band, Van Halen, Bon Jovi, etc.

-> Metal with bands like Aerosmith, Poison, Guns n Roses, AC/DC, Cinderella, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, KISS, Metallica, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne (and Black Sabbath), Scorpions, Rush, Skid Row, Whitesnake, Vixen, Warrant, Motorhead, Kix, etc.

Find Hit 80's Music Collections - As Seen on TV!

Whatever you want music-wise, you can play CDs, hire a band, or hire a DJ. (Or a combination) Get more ideas for music here.

You can also rent 80s movies and TV series compilations to watch. If you can snag a copy (or if it happens to be on the same night as your party), playing "I Love The 80s" from VH1 would be really funny!

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