The 80s were filled with bold fashion, loud colors, and music that are still popular today.
The eccentric nature of the era means there are plenty of retro and fun costumes, music, and food ideas to choose from for an 80s theme party.
How to Throw an 80s Themed Party
Here are some rad 80s party theme ideas for music, decorations, outfits, and food to transport party-goers back to the era of iconic music and fashion.
These ideas will create an authentic feel at the party and give people nostalgic memories of Madonna the Queen of Pop, Tina Turner with her leather pants and denim jackets, the eccentric dance moves of Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie’s smooth voice, the portable walkman, and top video games like Super Mario Bros and Tetris.
80s Theme Party Outfits and Costumes
When all the style options and outfits make it hard to decide what to wear to an 80s theme party, choose from these 80s outfits or 80s costumes from TV shows or movies that were popular during the era.
Betty White in The Golden Girls
Pay homage to the late Betty White by dressing up as her character, Rose Nylund.
There are so many of her outfits to choose from, but a good option is a bold blue-frilled blazer and blue knee-length skirt, finished with a simple stone necklace.
Don Johnson in Miami Vice
Be a smooth operator by dressing up like Don Johnson’s character, James Crockett. The classic white suit with a pastel blue or pink shirt, complete with a pair of sunglasses, was a typical 80s outfit.
Don’t forget to roll up those suit sleeves!
Tom Cruise in Top Gun
A crowd favorite is the pilot outfit worn by Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, played by Tom Cruise. A more simple Top Gun-inspired outfit is a fur-lined black leather jacket that has pilot- and American-theme badges sewn to the leather — a big fashion fad in the 80s.
Alternatively, get a modern twist on the classic Top Gun look with Tom Cruise’s updated look in the new movie, Top Gun: Maverick!
Michael Keaton in Beetlejuice
Go all out with Michael Keaton’s character, Beetlejuice, by wearing a black and white striped suit.
Embrace the character even more by wearing a wild green-tinged wig and painting your face white with bold black rings around your eyes.
Aileen Quinn in Annie
Dress in a bold red dress that has a white collar and sleeves to re-create Aileen Quinn’s character, Annie Bennett Warbucks.
Add a white belt and curly, red wig to complete the outfit in true 80s style.
Joan Collins in Dynasty
Wear an iconic 80s-style dress using Joan Collins’ character, Alexis Colby, as inspiration. Any pastel- or bold-colored dress that has puffed-out shoulder pads will work.
Alternatively, try out a simple, but smart, blazer and necktie blouse combination.
80s Theme Party Decoration Ideas
Here are some awesome 80s theme party decoration ideas to create the right atmosphere.
Give Historical Context
Some of the guests may not be familiar with memorable events that happened during the 80s.
Educate party-goers by creating a historical theme for each table, filled with images and fun facts about specific events.
Create a Glow
The 80s were filled with neon lights, glow sticks, and bright neon clothing. Dim the lights and add vases of glow sticks to each table, and place neon decor around the room.
Add a Photo Booth
The polaroid camera was popular in the 80s and many teenagers had the iconic polaroid wall in their bedroom.
One of everyone’s favorite party photo shoot ideas is a simple photo booth with a polaroid camera so guests can make their own memories to take home.
Arcade Cabinet Decor
Video games were big in the 80s and many of the popular games are still played today.
Rent arcade cabinets for guests to play games the way they were played during the 80s.
Rent Out a Roller Rink
Roller rinks and arcades were the places to be in the 80s. The rink doesn’t even need any decorations and you won’t have to worry about keeping your home clean after the party.
80s Music Theme Ideas
Various music genres boomed in the 80s, in part due to MTV’s launch, which showcased music in a completely new way.
Here are several gnarly 80s songs for an 80s theme party.
Offering a versatile range of songs from his time in the Jackson Five and as a solo artist, Michael Jackson is a great 80s artist to create a music theme around.
Local Cover Band
Book a band that specializes in 80s music, to offer guests live music that pays tribute to the era.
Ask the band to play a few iconic songs to keep everyone grooving.
Glitz and Glam Playlist
Create playlists featuring the main 80s artists who rocked the glitter and glamor fashion with their large earrings, shiny jackets, and leather outfits.
Include songs from artists such as Wham!, Prince, Freddie Mercury, and Tina Turner.
Play music from artists who sported an Afro — a popular hairstyle in the 80s.
Include songs from artists like Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and Whitney Houston.
80s Music Videos
Create a playlist of songs that topped the music video charts during the 80s.
Place a projector or TV in the room to play your guest’s favorite music videos, and try out the moves from the videos.
80s Theme Party Invitations
Creating fly 80s theme party invitations for an 80s theme party will set the tone for the guests and encourage them to dress for the occasion.
Have the invitations professionally designed or make your own using our favorite craft supplies.
Rubik’s Cube Invitation
Design an invitation with colored blocks from the Rubik’s cube, an iconic puzzle from the 80s. The paper invitations can be folded into cubes with the information on the outside of one side or tucked inside.
Consider placing an actual, mini Rubik’s cube inside as a gift.
Similar to the Rubik’s cube, print invitations in specific shapes, for instance, a polaroid picture, an arcade cabinet, or a cassette tape.
Add the information in fonts and colors that match the shape.
A Neon Invitation
Create a colorful invitation on a black background with splashes of neon shapes and text. Add funky fonts to complete the 80s look and feel.
80s Theme Party Food
Offering guests good food is the easiest way to ensure the party is a success — but — the food should match the theme.
Here are the most tubular 80s theme party food ideas to keep up with the vibe.
Retro Sweets Table
Set up a table dedicated to sweets to keep everyone’s sugar levels high enough to party all night long.
Add popular sweets from the 80s like fizz bombs, gobstoppers, lollipops, popping candy, Refreshers chews, and orange Aero Bars.
Place bowls of microwave popcorn with various seasoning flavors on the tables for guests to snack on.
This type of popcorn was first commercially available in the 80s and immediately became a popular snack.
Jello was a popular treat in the 80s, despite being around long before then. Add a twist on this tasty treat by making jello shots — if the guests are the appropriate age.
Tasty Italian pizza is an easy party food that gained popularity in America during the 80s.
Not only will it fit with the theme, but it’s also still a much-loved party food today.
A Chip Table
Dedicate a table to chips that were popular in the 80s, such as Doritos, Bugles, and Tostitos.
Chips were a food craze advertised by celebrities in this era and were found in many lunch boxes and at parties.
A Yuppie Station
During the 80s, urban professionals were called “yuppies,” and were known to enjoy fancy foods.
Create a table with sushi, quiche, prawns, and pesto dips, along with drinks, including fancy cocktails and espresso.
Tell us about your 80s party in the comments below!