How to Plan the Perfect 80s Party

Anyone can throw any old party, but if you want yours to really shine, consider a theme to set it apart from the rest. One popular theme is a favorite decade — and what could be more fun than revisiting the 1980s for an evening?

Eighties parties are tons of fun to plan and throw, but how successful your party is depends almost wholly on how well you set the mood. Think total immersion: Everything about your party, from food to music to decorations, should scream 1980s. Here are a few tips for planning a perfect 80s party.


Guests have to come in costume, of course. You can simply require 80s clothing, or suggest a more specific theme, such as dressing up as your favorite 80s celebrity or your favorite 80s TV show or movie character. Eighties costumes can be purchased online, or with a little creativity, you can put together a costume with items picked up at thrift stores. If you’re lucky you may even know someone who still has 80s clothes hidden away in the back of their closets! Plus, many styles from the 80s have been revived, such as leggings and straight-leg jeans, so a trip to your own closet may give you a great deal of what you need for an 80s costume

To help your guests with costumes, send around an email or a flyer with a list of popular 80s clothes and color schemes, links to pictures of classic 80s outfits, or movies and TV shows from which guests can draw inspiration. If you really want to be sure all your guests come in costume, you can put together a trunk of 80s costumes to have at the party. If someone doesn’t come in costume, YOU get to dress them!


Whether you are having the party at your house or someplace else, such as an event room at your apartment complex, how you decorate it is all-important in setting that 80s mood. In the weeks before the party, you can start collecting movie posters of popular 80s movies, such as The Breakfast Club, Back to the Future, and others. Pink and blue streamers and disco lighting (if you can manage it) are also good ways to give your party that 80s feel.


Music is all-important, of course. The 1980s were a decade that was very much focused on music, so you just can’t have a party without good 80s music.

iTunes offers a great way to get all the music you need. Eighties compilation albums generally give you a good selection of 80s music for the best value. When planning your music for the night, it is a good idea to pre-mix your playlist, alternating the hits with other 80s songs so that all the best songs aren’t clustered into the beginning or end of the night. Typical choices include songs by Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Pat Benatar, Prince, and others.

Other Details

A good 80s party is all about attention to detail, so don’t forget about the other things you can do to make your party a hit. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Provide popular 80s candy or food, such as Pop Rocks.
  • Give away funny 80s-themed door prizes, such as vintage cassette tapes of popular albums or life-sized Michael Jackson cutouts.
  • Are you able to get your hands on an old, working 80s game system, such as Atari or Nintendo? Or can you find original 80s games for a modern game system? Eighties video games offer great entertainment for a theme party! To make things more exciting, have a playoff or have everyone post their scores, and give the winner or the person with the highest score an extra special 80s-themed prize.
  • Play favorite 1980s movies. To make it even more fun, turn down the sound and give a prize to whomever knows the most lines from the movie.
  • Have a breakdancing contest.
  • Get a friend to volunteer to do 80s style makeup for the guests. Provide her with makeup in a range of pinks, blues, and other fabulous 80s colors.

Throwing a 1980s party can be tons of fun, and is a great way to set your party apart from the rest! Remember, setting the mood is everything when throwing a theme party, so don’t pass up a single opportunity to give your party that authentic 80s feel!

About the Author: This guest post is by Vern, who enjoys throwing theme parties for friends and family, and insists everyone have awesome adult costume ideas to fit the theme!

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Connie Roberts

Professional Blogger
Living in the Tampa Bay area, I'm lucky enough to see beautiful sunsets almost every day. Although life can be difficult at times, focusing on the positive and being with my family is what gets me through.

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  1. Ummmm…breakdancing might be a dangerous endeavor for those in their 40’s 🙂


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