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You’ve Got the Right Stuff – An 80’s Theme Party

Over twenty years later, we may no longer have to fight for our right to par-taaay, but that doesn’t mean we should stop. Throwing an 80’s Theme Party is a fun way to be nostalgic, whether it was for your teen years or your childhood. Yes, mullets and shoulder pads were terrible, but they make for easy to find and fun to put together costumes. If you want to throw a tubular 80’s party, keep reading for great tips on decorations, setting the mood, costumes, and fun 80s activities.

80’s Party Decorations

When it comes to the 80’s, you have a few popular directions for your decorations. The first 80’s style is a combination of neon colors and those classic geometrical shapes. Get some neon bulletin board paper and cut it into bold geometrical shapes (triangles, circles, lines) and hang these from the ceiling and around the room.

The second direction is draped lace. Do up your living room like a Madonna video with draped lace and red roses. A third is one I like to call ‘Solid Gold.’ Premiering in the early eighties, Solid Gold was a popular television program that featured dancers breaking out to hit songs. Like a hangover from the 70’s, the original set was all about beige carpets and gold and black accents. You can channel that Solid Gold look into your party room with black and gold decorations.

Add a touch of authenticity by decorating the walls with posters from bands like Duran Duran and Wham! You can easily make these by printing poster images large-scale at a local print shop. To add to that 80’s flavor, play DVDs of 80s music videos and movies quietly in the background. Simply throw on a Devo video, start up the dry ice, rent a few inexpensive laser lights and you’ll turn your living room into a certified time machine!

Party Activities

Bad 80's hair day

80’s Karaoke: For a fun party activity, try 80’s karaoke. Rent a karaoke machine and encourage guests to sing their favorite song from the era of new-wave and glam metal. In minutes, you’ll have guests belting out Depeche Mode, The Clash, and Def Leppard.

Guess The Hair: Print off a few pictures of classic 80’s hairdos (Mike Score from A Flock of Seagulls, David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider, Robert Smith of The Cure, Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, or Sid Vicious’s mohawk) and blank out the faces. Award a prize to the party-goer who can guess the most mystery hairstyles.

Wall of Shame: If your guests are older, ask them to bring a picture of themselves in the 80’s or send one in advance by email. Pin each picture to the wall and offer a prize to whoever can match the most party-goers to their 80’s counterparts.

Rubicks Face-Off: Set up a few easy-to-solve Rubick’s Cubes (take a new cube and only shift it a few times). Stage a Rubick’s Cube competition with prizes for the fastest solver.

Drinks and Refreshments

While it’s hard to make a theme menu based on the 80’s, you could set out a few classic drinks that were hugely popular at the time, including wine coolers, Jolt Cola, Fresca and Tab. While you’re at it, throw some Nerds, Pop Rocks, Big Chew bubble gum and other novelty candies that hit it big in the 80’s in bowls around the room.

1980’s Costumes

You can dress up in full 80’s garb with items from your own closet! An oversized sweatshirt with the neck cut out, stretch pants, white pumps and leggings will turn you into Flashdance while a pastel blazer, t-shirt, and pleated khakis will transform you into Miami Vice. A leather jacket, tight jeans, and chains will make you a punk rocker.

Another costume option is to dress as a specific 80’s icon like Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, Pat Benetar, Madonna (circa Like a Virgin), Tammy Faye Baker, or even Magnum P.I. Whether you base your costume on a famous person or a general 80’s style, you can get creative in your own closet or buy costumes from online retailers, including wigs of classic 80’s hairstyles and mullets. And remember, stay gnarly.


About Chris Molnar

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