Let’s get ready to throw a totally radical 80’s themed party! Who doesn’t love a good party with family, friends, good food, games, and music all centered around the 1980s?
My husband celebrated his 30th birthday earlier this year. I thought about themes for his surprise party for weeks and wasn’t satisfied until I came up with an 80’s party theme. I absolutely love how everything turned out from the décor to the music and even to our fashion. This party was probably the most fun I have ever had when having guests over. Mark was totally surprised and even a little shocked when seeing how all the guests were dressed.
I found several ideas of 80’s party décor from Parties for Pennies along with some of my own. I must confess too that me and Mark loved the décor so much that I left it up for another week or two so we could enjoy it some more.
I am going to give you an overview of the party in this part one with more details and pictures to come so you can create your own 80s themed party. All the details will be here in one place making your party planning even easier. Look no further.
Well let’s get started with a tour of the party so you can feel as if you were there yourself.
When guests first arrived, they were met at the door with a bright 80’s sign and neon paint splattered backdrop.
Once entering the party you are immediately met with the outrageous sounds of all your favorite 80s songs. My brother-in-law is a DJ and played everyone’s favorite tunes throughout the night. This was a huge help with so many other things to do that night. But if you do not want to hire your own DJ, download your favorite 80s songs and have a special playlist. My TV also had an 80’s music channel that I could have used as well.
The food tables were the first thing you saw when entering so I wanted a backdrop and décor that would really pop and grab everyone’s attention. I bought black plastic tablecloths that I found at Wal-Mart for $1 (or you could also find at your local dollar store). I used neon paint and large paintbrush to splatter paint the tablecloths.
Using the splatter paint tablecloths was also a great idea for making an 80’s photo booth and taking pictures with your glowing 80’s fashion.
Hanging on the backdrop in the middle was a birthday banner that read “Happy 30th Birthday.”
I also hung a banner on the mantle of my fireplace above Mark’s presents that said “Luv the 80’s.”
Hanging below the birthday banner were some neon cut-outs that I found at the dollar store. The package they came in actually called them starbursts. I love the zig-zag pattern around the edges of them that really added an extra touch without taking away from the banner.
For the menu, I went simple and made frozen pizzas. I cannot remember one party as a kid that did not include pizza. Plus who doesn’t love pizza after all? Nacho cheese Doritos were also a favorite snack food in the 80’s. I remember many times opening my lunch at school and having Doritos packed or snacking on them when first getting home from school. In order to keep the Doritos going, I had cheese balls that were covered in crushed Doritos. When doing more research online, I also read that pasta salad recipes were a favorite in the 80’s. There were also sausage balls to snack on as well mostly because Mark really likes them, not really because they have anything to do with the 80’s. Another fun addition to the food was Capri Sun for the kids. I personally remember loving the idea of having to punch a straw in the side and squeezing it as I took every sip.
Now that your plate is almost full, don’t forget to leave room for dessert which brings me to the dessert and candy bar.
Hanging above the cupcakes and candy bar was a “CANDY” sign that I made using my Cricut to cut out the letters and dots out of neon colored posterboard that was also bought at the dollar store. You just have to love the dollar store.
Below the “CANDY” sign, was a Pac Man display. Everyone loved the Pac Man and all the fun memories they had playing it when they were younger. I must say this was one of my favorite pieces of décor at the party.
Another addition to the décor were paper streamers that I made from my neon posterboard scraps from other projects. I cut out random shapes including triangles and nothing that was perfect. The more irregular and odd the shapes were the better it matched with the theme and décor. Then sew them together and you can hang up a paper streamer. Check out this Easter Egg Paper Garland that will show you exactly how to sew together.
I found a wonderful tutorial for the bowls I could use that went great with the 80’s theme. On the candy bar and also the food tables, I placed candy and Doritos inside bowls made from records. The record bowls were easy to make and absolutely adorable. Plus I found some records at Goodwill that were inexpensive with colorful labels that matched perfectly.
Every party must have a cake! I made chocolate cupcakes with a light and fluffy chocolate fudge icing because chocolate is Mark’s favorite. I also made him a 6 inch in diameter cake topper. For decoration on top of the cupcakes and cake topper, I sprinkled nerds on top. Nerds were a very favorite candy back in the day and the bright colors really popped on the chocolate fudge icing. I used cupcake liners that were a mix of bright colors that I found at the dollar store. I made a small paper banner with posterboard sewn together with skewers to place in the cake. On the paper flags I placed scrapbook stickers that spelled out “30th.”
Because these cupcakes were so cute with the nerds and all, they could not just be sitting on the table but needed to be displayed in a special way which brings me to the cupcake stand. Another favorite of mine. By gluing a couple of differing sizes of boxed together and spray painting black, you have the beginning of a cupcake stand. This basic concept could be used for any occasion or party with some extra decoration depending on your theme. I spray painted cassette tapes with neon spray paint and glued them around the sides of the boxes. Also don’t forget your neon birthday candles! Man 30 is a lot of candles! (I have to tease Mark about his age. Lol.)
For my candy bar, I chose a variety of candy with many kinds that were popular in the 80’s and many others that were just yummy and sweet that everyone could enjoy. The candy included Sour Patch Kids, Twizzlers, candy necklaces, candy bracelets, Nerds, Laffy Taffy, Air Heads, gum balls, Fun Dip, Sixlets, and much more. Be sure to have candy bags available so your guests can take with them candy to enjoy even after the party has ended as a party favor.
Because it was Mark’s 30th birthday, I thought it would be fun to look back at pictures throughout his life from just an adorable baby that he was in diapers to driving his first car to graduating high school to us getting engaged and married and even pictures of us being silly last week. I used neon ribbon that I hung on the wall and taped pictures to it starting from the youngest pictures of him to the most recent. Everyone loved being able to look through all the memories of Mark’s life and celebrate him.
In the main area of the party of course there were presents. But I wanted people to be able to place their presents in a special place and not just sitting randomly wherever they could find a place. I made a Rubik’s cube box for everyone to sit their gifts and cards on. I used package tape to put the boxes together and then painted them black. Glue different neon colored squares on the size and you have yourself a giant Rubik’s cube. This was definitely a conversation piece and just so much fun to add that extra touch.
You also can’t show up to an 80’s party and not be dressed appropriately in 80’s fashion. Everyone had so much dressing up and getting ready. My bathroom took me back to when I was a teenager with all the ladies trying to steal a spot in front of the mirror to apply that hot pink lipstick and bright blue eye shadow. We were teasing each other’s hair because face it, no one could ever get their hair big enough or use too much hair spray. I wore a hot pink shirt with fish net on the sides that had a wide neck and hung off the shoulder with a tank top underneath. I had zebra patterned shorts with neon green trim with black leggings underneath. My shoes were bright yellow and pink tennis shoes. I wore bright green hoop earrings and wore my hair in a side pony tail with a large hair tie similar to a scrunchie but not quite. My make-up was extremely bright and very heavy.
I found Mark a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt from Wal-Mart to wear. He loved them as a kid.
Some men were showing off their 80’s style with the Members Only jackets. There were also bright and very large party sunglasses that I found at the dollar store for people to wear while taking pictures.
What’s a party without some fun games? For the first game, fill a jar with some type of small candy while counting how many pieces as you place it inside. I used sour patch kids and a mason jar. Have a small notepad and ink pens available for guest to write down their guess and place in a small bowl. After everyone has guessed and is mingling and socializing, check the entries for the winning guess. I picked the winner that was the closest, not necessarily the closest without going over. The prize for the winner could be the actual jar with the candy. I chose to not give the jar and candy away but instead gave the 1st place winner a Wal-Mart gift card. The 2nd place winner received a large 80’s themed candy that I found at Cracker Barrel.
Another fun game that everyone enjoyed causing the competitive side to come out was an 80’s Trivia Game. I searched online for different 80’s movies, games, history of the 80’s, etc and also used questions from trivia games I found online. Pass out index cards and ink pens to your guests and let the games begin. For the 1st place winner, I also gave a Wal-Mart gift card. Who doesn’t shop at Wal-Mart? For the 2nd place winner, I had found a box of assorted 80’s candy that I also found at Cracker Barrel.
No party can be complete without presents! Because it was Mark’s 30th birthday, I wanted to give him something that would be memorable and also would include everyone at the party. I decided I would make a scrapbook filled with letters and pictures from his closest friends and family that stated memories people had with Mark, things they admired about him, advice for the future, and anything else they wanted to include. This does take some time and planning, so I advise you start ahead of time and give yourself plenty of time to put the scrapbook together. Give your guests enough time to write their letters. Mark loved everyone’s kind words and will always have something to look back on and read for years to come. I also loved being able to include everyone that came to the party.
Because Mark’s party wasn’t on his actual birthday, I didn’t want him to think that his birthday celebrating was over so I made sure to have him some other presents for him to open on his special day. But keeping with the 80’s theme, I created an 80’s scavenger hunt that made him think a little before he could open his gifts.
This party was a blast and thrill to plan and also have everyone over to celebrate Mark. Even if you do not know anyone that was an 80’s baby to celebrate their birthday, this would also be fun for a costume party for Halloween or just to enjoy having friends over. Everyone had a great time, and now I can’t wait to throw another party!
I will be posting more articles with further details and pictures explaining different parts of the party even more to make it easier for you. Be sure to please join me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter so you don’t miss a single article when planning your next party. I would love to hear from you with any comments, suggestions, or ideas you may have as well.
And as always, don’t forget to enjoy the little things in life!