It’s 80s party time! Radical! Tubular! Break out the sweat bands, slap bands, headbands and maybe even some hair bands (yes, hair bands are an 80s thing).

In terms of popularity, the 80s certainly fight for the pole position with the 90s, but the type of tacky (or, as we call it these days, retro) merchandise we love most definitely comes from the decade of questionable leather outfits and John Hughes movies. From Scooby Doo themed cakes to games based on the style of the 80s, it’s easy to set up your perfect themed party – with just a touch of our most excellent advice.

The music

Yes, you’ll find new Christmas music out and about at the moment, such as Kelianne Stankus’ ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ but throw that out and get crate digging (aka digging through vinyls at the record shop). Don’t have a record shop nearby? Or even a record player? That’s ‘cause it’s 2020! Don’t worry, you can find 80s gold on Spotify, YouTube, or your music player of choice.

Check out these playlists for easy access:

The 80s were well known for bringing us the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Prince, Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, and Bon Jovi, and Donna Summer, Diana Ross, and Lionel Ritchie. Whether you’re into pop, rock, or synth, an 80s playlist awaits.

The drinks

Vodka and soda? Not in the 80s. If you want to be on point with your party drinks then go retro for your choices. Big in the 80s in the booze department were drinks named with lots of innuendos, crazy colors (Blue Curaçao and bright green Midori, anyone?), and OJ and/or peach schnapps.

To make it legit, make shots (aka shooters) like the Slippery Nipple, B52, and Kamikaze. For long drinks, try out Vodka Sunrise, Sex on the Beach, Fuzzy Navel, or Long Island Iced Tea. Just be careful with that last one – warning high alcohol content!

The decor

If you’re going for your regular 80s theme (and not something a little more topical from the 80s) then now’s your chance to go neon crazy. Think decor inspired by 8-bit games, boom boxes, rubix cubes, and slinkys. Big and bold neon shapes and toys can be scattered around your party areas.

You might find inspiration in graffiti art, packets of candy, and bolts of lighting. Don’t forget a gazillion balloons for this one and colored lighting if you can manage it.

The outfits

An 80s themed party is nothing without your guests rocking up in their finest decade-specific attire. Make sure that you write on your invite that people must dress up. If you have outfit optional parties then you’re running the risk of a majority of people turning up as themselves. Boring.

You can scour Pinterest for 80s style costumes and clothes as suggestions for your friends and/or family to wear on the occasion.

Solid concepts include:

  • Power suits
  • Neon workout gear
  • Puffy tracksuits
  • Double denim
  • Brash metallics
  • Animal prints
  • Mesh
The invite

Just because no one had the internet in the 80s doesn’t mean you need to be mailing out party flyers to all your friends. These days, you’re better off making sure you have an internet invite – generally a Facebook event. Feel free to get fancy and create a digital event flyer on Canva that’s 80s themed as the image for your event. Throw in some 80s silliness in your event description and away you go.

A good idea is to include nearby thrift shops and party supply stores on the invite. This way you can help your guests pick up a good deal on something 80s to wear that won’t break the bank.

Make sure to keep an eye on your headcount as the event inches closer so that you’re prepared with enough food and drink to last you through. While it’s no big deal if you have leftovers at the end, there’s nothing worse than running out before the night’s over and having to make a mad dash to the store – especially dressed up Like A Virgin!