How to Throw an 80s Party

Congratulations, you have decided to throw an 80s themed party. The 80s party is the cadillac of the decade themed parties. Whatever your motive for your 80s party may be; nostalgia, love for bright colors, a Judd Nelson fetish, or just because your friends said it would be awesome, you are in the right place.

Below you will find a comprehensive guide on all kinds of 80s party ideas, tips, and tricks. Throwing an 80s party is one thing. Throwing a great authentic 80s party, well that’s a whole other conversation.

80s Party Songs

A bumping playlist is essential to any successful party, a bumping 80s playlist is essential to life. The 80s were a great time for music, as disco and the hippie movement began to lose steam a new sound started to emerge. Some genres that saw a rise to prominence in the 1980s were pop, post punk, new wave, hair metal, thrash metal, and hip hop.

A comprehensive 80s playlist draws from all these while also keeping in mind that the crowd is gonna want to hear some 80s party songs.

Here are a couple links to pre made 80s Spotify playlists if you don’t want to go through the hassle(hoff) of putting together your own.

Taste Rewind: The 80s

80s Smash Hits

All Out 80s

These playlists will get the job done, but, there really is something special about personally selecting the soundtrack of your party. If you do choose to go that route, here is some recommended reading.

Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Albums of the 1980s

Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums of the 1980s

100 Best Songs of the 1980s

Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 1980s

In case you were looking for our take on the topic, below find our personal top 10

Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears

Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen

Take Me Home Tonight – Eddie Money

Walk Like an Egyptian – The Bangles

Your Love – The Outfield

Working for the Weekend – Loverboy

Material Girl – Madonna

Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

99 Red Balloons – Nena

Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield

80s Party Costume Ideas

80s fashion, a time of great hair, bright pants, and a little too much leather. When it comes to nailing the perfect 80s look for your party there are a couple things to keep in mind.

There is no such thing as too much denim

Ladies, light lipstick, dark and thick eyelashes, and pink or blue blush are some makeup staples

If you think your hair is too big, make it bigger

While picking your actual outfit you can take a couple of routes. You can go for a generic 80s look based on the above info. Otherwise, there are a bevy of infamous characters and icons you could emulate.

Here are a couple of great lists on 80s movies and pop culture to draw inspiration from.

Top 100 80s Movies

80s Pop Culture Moments

80s Celebrities

Pinterest has some great boards on 80s costumes and fashion as well.

80s Party Costumes

80s Party Outfits

80s Fashion

80s Party Decorations

Decorations are key to any great party. Now, if you have followed this guide thus far you should be expecting a full house for your party. 80s party decor should revolve around bright colors, nostalgic wall decorations, and the lights dimmed real low.

Below are a couple of Pinterest and Etsy links to help you get the wheels turning.

80s Party at Etsy

Pinterest 80s Party Decorations

Pinterest 80s Party Decor

Ambiance is important to any good party as well. If you have a big television why not have some great 80s movies on in the background or maybe an 80s themed visualizer.

80s Party Games

No party is complete without games and entertainment.

One guaranteed crowd pleaser is karaoke. Picking up a great karaoke machine ahead of time and loading it up with your favorite 80s hits is a great way to break the ice.

Encourage people to bring any retro 80s board games or video games that they have to play at the party. Many stores carry small Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Galaga, and other portable retro style video games. Also, nothing beats a good game of Twister.

Flip cup is always a great way to get the party going. The beauty of flip cup is that everyone knows how to play and you can get a good number of people involved. Being that it is an 80s party though, the game needs an 80s twist. After each round of flip cup the losing team has to take turns naming 80s movies until one person is stumped and then they are kicked off the team. Or maybe try something really out there like putting green beer sunday in the cups!

Giving out door prizes is also a great idea. You can give prizes for categories like best dressed, biggest hair, and best thriller dance.