’80s-theme party guide

People playing games in an arcade.

Break out the brightly colored leg warmers and fluff up your hair — it’s a 1980s party! Read up on our tips for what to wear, eat, play and more.


Start by sending out a retro Evite invitation, like this free pool party invitation or this free colorful “Totally 80s!” invitation.


The ’80s were all about excess, so make your decorations dramatic and colorful. Look for paper cups and plates in neon colors, animal prints or black-and-white geometric patterns. Plaster the walls with posters of quintessential ’80s pop stars like Culture Club, Thompson Twins, Cyndi Lauper, New Kids on the Block and the queen of the decade, Madonna. To really get in the spirit, put on a John Hughes movie or an ’80s band’s video collection and play it on mute during the event.

Looking for a unique ’80s party tip? Make yourself and your guests part of the decor! Before the party, ask your guests to lend you a photo of themselves in their wildest ’80s outfit. Make enlarged copies of these photos and hang them up around the party area. During the party, your guests can guess who’s who and laugh at all the bi-level haircuts and pegged pants. If you aren’t old enough to have been a teen back then, you can easily find retro photos online of stars looking their ’80s best.


Thanks to the arrival of MTV, ’80s fashion was defined by music. Inspired by pop stars like Duran Duran and Wham, guys wore frilly shirts, skinny ties and huge op-art belts. Eighties ladies emulated their musical idols with Bananarama-style overalls, Pat Benatar-esque headbands and Madonna’s layered mesh-and-lace ensembles.

And don’t forget the makeup, guys. From the new romantics to the punk rockers, all the gnarliest dudes sported eyeliner, lipstick, glittery eye shadow and way too much mousse in their hair, just like their girlfriends. The ’80s ladies also sported leg warmers, rubber bracelets and side ponytails, while guys channeled Miami Vice-era Don Johnson with pastel-hued suits.


Get into the ’80s groove with a lip-sync contest to beloved ’80s songs. If you have a video game system, buy some of the classic ’80s video games like PacMan, Frogger, Donkey Kong and Asteroids—you can also find versions of these games online and play them on your computer.

Plus, pay homage to the classic board game Trivial Pursuit, which launched in 1982, by splitting up your guests into teams to answer questions about random factoids and earn those little pie wedges.


Yuppies and Valley girls made sushi big in the ’80s, as well as appetizers like artichoke dip served in a bread bowl. Kid-friendly treats like Rice Krispies treats and fluffernutter (peanut butter and marshmallow creme) sandwiches make great snacks for an ’80s party, and you can celebrate the frozen yogurt fad with a fro-yo cake. Finally, no ’80s party guide is complete without mentioning candy classics like Nerds, Fun Dip, Pop Rocks, Ring Pops and Charleston Chews.


’80s Wine Cooler (serves 4)

  • 16 ounces Chablis white wine
  • 24 ounces 7-Up® soda
  • 2 ounces grapefruit juice
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 2 ounces lime juice
  • 2 ounces lemon juice

Mix fruit juices together in a glass. Pour 4 ounces Chablis into 4 wine glasses, then add 6 ounces 7-Up to each glass. Divide the juice mixture evenly, and serve.

For a non-alcoholic alternative, stock up on Capri Sun, Fresca and Jolt Cola.

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