'80s party themed inspiration and ideas

'80s Party Theme

Party hardy, dudes.


About the Theme

Why host any old party when you could host a themed party? There are so many themes to choose from, but '80s theme parties are easily the most fun. Between the colorful costumes and big hair to the dancey music and loud decorations, it’s simply a recipe for the most epic party.

Ah, the ’80s. VHS movie rentals, fanny packs, shoulder pads and DJing your own mixtapes—it’s a perfect decade to pull party inspiration from. Instruct your guests to come in their flashiest outfits, ready to cut loose.

Looking to host the party of the year? Check out our guide with all the top '80s theme party ideas. Whether you’re looking for entertainment or food and beverage ideas, we have you covered. Follow our tips and get ready to host the best '80s theme party yet.

VIBE: Funky

SIMILAR PARTY THEMES: ’90s, Retro


Venue Settings

Loft

Loft spaces offer plenty of room to accomodate large guest lists, with soaring ceilings and plenty of windows for a dynamic party atmosphere.

BASEMENT

How many times did you host a party in your basement during the 1980s? Probably too many to count! Honor all those basement dance parties by hosting your '80s theme party in your very own basement. Sprinkle in some retro decorations and your guests will feel like they’ve stepped back in time.

DANCEHALL

Any great '80s theme party is going to involve dancing and a lot of it. Be sure your guests have plenty of space to break it down to Whitney Houston and Duran Duran by renting out a dance hall. Add in a live band or DJ and you’re good to go.

Breather; Unsplash

Entertainment

'80s Band

From Def Leppard to Michael Jackson, nothing rounds out an '80s party quite like a live band that can play all the right throwback tunes.

TRIVIA

Break the ice with a few rounds of 1980s-inspired trivia. Divide your guests into groups and let the games begin. Ask questions about pop culture, music, movies and news stories. Kick-off with a question like, who scored a chart-topper in 1988 with “I Think We’re Alone Now”?

DANCE PARTY

For an easy '80s theme party idea, tell all your guests to hunt down their favorite cassettes and bring them to your event so you can create the ultimate dance party. Track down an old cassette player and take turns playing some hair metal and 80s jams. Want to set the party scene? You can’t go wrong with some Madonna, Prince and the B-52s.

DJ

Don’t want to worry about manning the tape deck all night? Hire a DJ to cover the jams for you. With a professional working the turntables, you can rest assured they’ll play all the best hits from the 1980s.

COSTUME CONTEST

What better way to encourage your guests to dress up than with the promise of a costume contest? Set categories, like “best makeup,” “biggest hair,” “loudest costume” and “best impersonation,” and don’t forget to give out prizes. Your guests will love getting into character and showing off their get-ups. Need some inspiration? Channel icons like Boy George, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Zack Morris.

PROJECT THROWBACK FILMS

There were so many awesome films to come out of the 1980s, such as “Scarface,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Ghostbusters” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” To really give your party that 80s vibe, project one of these classics on the wall. It’s a great way for your guests to watch their favorite scenes while still engaging and interacting.

GAME ON

The Ataris was quite possibly one of the coolest inventions to come out of the 1980s. Salute this iconic gaming console at your next party by setting it up with all the classic video games, from Duck Hunter to Pac-Man. Your guests will love competing with each other as they relive their childhoods.

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Food

Deviled Eggs

One of the most “retro” appetizers is, without doubt, deviled eggs. This classic, all-American dish is simple to make and easy to enjoy. (Server tip: Keep them on ice to stay chilled.)

SPINACH DIP

No '80s theme party is complete without some spinach dip. It’s a quick, easy and delicious app that your guests will love diving into with crackers or chips.

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Bessie Black Photography

Food

Meatballs

Slow-cooker recipes like meatballs were a huge hit—and they still are today. Serve up favorites of the past and present, like meatballs or Sloppy Joe sliders.

SWEETS

Need an easy '80s theme party idea? Add some sweetness with a display of all your favorite candy and snacks from the 1980s. Be sure to stock up on Big League Chew, Sour Patch Kids, Nerds and Push Pops. Your guests will go nuts over it all!

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Beverage

Long Island Iced Tea

Ask anyone from Generation X what they think about Long Island Iced Teas. Go ahead, ask. We guarantee they’ll respond with an epic party story from their glory days—courtesy of these potent and popular drinks.

THE B-52

Named after one of the top bands of the decade, this drink quickly became a fan favorite in the 1980s. It’s a delicious combination of Kahula, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Triple Sec that your guests won’t be able to resist.

ALABAMA SLAMMER

The Alabama Slammer is bright and sweet, just like the 1980s. Concocted with Amaretto, Southern Comfort, Sloe Gin and orange juice, this cocktail packs a punch. It’s no wonder it was a popular choice back in the day.

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Jackelin Slack; Unsplash

Creative Detail

Glow Sticks

Deck the halls in neon. That means glow stick necklaces and bracelet accessories for guests, glow stick centerpieces, and any other bright neon lighting you can think of.

TINSEL CURTAINS

It seemed every high school gymnasium was decked out in tinsel curtains for dances back in the 80s. Your guests will appreciate this nod to their youth when you decorate your venue in these throwback decorations.

'80s MEMORABILIA

Another '80s theme party idea is to decorate your venue using popular items from this decade. For example, place Rubik’s Cubes or My Little Pony figurines as centerpieces and display Pac-Man character cut-outs. All these nods to the 1980s will fill your guests with nostalgia.

The sky’s the limit when hosting an '80s theme party. Start off by incorporating some of these awesome '80s theme party ideas and you can’t go wrong. Now go turn up the volume on your boombox and start teasing your hair!