The 80s began when Pac Man chomped into his first Pac-dot. This was followed by a decade of neon fashion, Nintendo and mixed tapes filled with songs from one hit wonders. Everyone wanted their MTV and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles taught us the importance of a good pizza. So, if your child is ready to have an awesome time and “like totally chill out” than check out our 80s Party guide for some gnarly ideas. We include ideas for invitations, decorations, food, favors and games all inspired by the 80s.
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Planning & Invitations
What Do I Need For the Party?
Consider choosing a character from the 80s as a theme, like Strawberry Shortcake, Star Wars or The Smurfs. You also may want to consider purchasing, borrowing or renting the following items for your 80s party:
- 3D glasses
- 80s Music (see our list of songs below)
- 80s Movies to play in the background. Great movies include Karate Kid Kid (PG), E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (PG), Return of the Jedi (PG), Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (PG), Return to Oz (PG), The NeverEnding Story (PG), The Last Unicorn (G), Labyrinth (PG) and The Little Mermaid (G)
- 80s costume accessories such as odd sunglasses, mullet wigs, Mohawks, jelly bracelets, baggy sweatshirts and legwarmers.
- Toys from the 80s such as Rubik’s Cubes, He-Man and She-Ra action figures, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Transformers, My Little Pony, Mr. Potatohead and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Posters of Michael Jackson, Hulk Hogan or Molly Ringwald from the 80s
- Cassette tapes and recorders
- A karaoke machine
- Arcade machines
- An original Nintendo game console including games such as Super Mario Bros and Donkey Kong Jr.
80s Party Music Ideas
Here’s a list of our favorite kid-friendly 80s music for your party.
- “Walk Like an Egyptian,” The Bangles
- “Don’t Stop Believing,” Journey
- “Beat It,” Michael Jackson
- “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” Cyndi Lauper
- “Our Lips are Sealed,” Go-Go’s
- “I Melt With You,” Modern English
- “Cruel Summer,” Bananarama
- “You Spin Me ‘Round (Like a Record),” Dead or Alive
- “Mr. Roboto,” Styx
- “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” Eurythmics
- “Mickey,” Toni Basil
- “I Love Rock N’ Roll,” Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
- “I Want Candy,” Bow Wow Wow
- “Material Girl,” Madonna
- “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” New Kids on the Block
- “Weird Science,” Oingo Boingo
- “Abracadabra,” The Steve Miller Band
Take your guests on a trip back to the 80s by making your own totally awesome invites. Here are some ideas for your 80s party that are full of Punky Power!
- Send your guests one of our personalized invitations that can be customized with your child’s name and all the party information.
- Attach a card-style invitation to one of our personalized polka dot party supplies with curling ribbon.
- Attach your 80s party invitation to a flying disc. Personalized polka dot stickers work great for this. Just center the sticker over the existing label to make your 80s party invitation.
- Record your party information and a special message on to a cassette tape. Label the tape “Birthday Mixed Tape” and then mail it to your guests in a padded envelope. Record some 80s songs onto the cassette too. Recipients will have to play the message in a tape player so make sure one is available for your guests.
- Make a collage of some iconic images of the 80s such as Smurfs, Cabbage Patch Kids, Strawberry Shortcake, Michael Jackson, a Rubik’s Cube, Pac Man, Madonna and Rainbow Brite. Write your party information on the collage. Scan the finished image into your computer and print as many copies as you need on card stock paper. For your reference, a 5″ x 7″ image will fit into most invitation envelopes.
- For girls, take a photo of your child dressed up like Cyndi Lauper and scan it into the computer. Use photo manipulation software (like PhotoShop) to type “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” on the front. Print your party details on the back in fun neon lettering.
- For boys, take a photo of your child dressed like Michael Jackson. Scan the photo into a computer. Then, use photo manipulation software (like PhotoShop) to type “Who’s Bad?” on the front of the card. Print your party details on the back.
- Include an 80s themed rhyme on your invite or use the one below:
Cyndi’s 80s party is going to bring in the funk!
Attention all preppies, break dancers and punks,
So grab your legwarmers and turn off MTV,
I pity the fool who doesn’t RSVP!
- You may also like our Bright Dots Personalized Invitations that can be customized with your child’s name and all the party information.
If you still have some of your old toys or 80s swag hanging out in the attic then now’s the time to put them to good use. Here are some ways to create a vibrant vintage atmosphere at your child’s 80s party.
- Hang old blank cassette tapes from the ceiling by pulling out the tape from inside. Pull the tape out far enough so that the cassettes can hang down from the ceiling. Do not cut the tape or the cassettes will completely unwind.
- Hang brightly colored crepe paper streamers around the party area. We suggest lime green and bright pink!
- Find old magazines or photos on the internet from the 80s of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Wham, Depeche Mode, Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and other celebrities to hang around the room.
- Tie balloons to action figures and toys from the 80s such as My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Smurfs, He-Man, Transformers and Mr. Potatohead. Arrange them around the room or on the party table. Some of these toys are still sold in stores but look around at garage sales as well for ideas.
- MTV was a big part of the 80s. If you can find a collection of appropriate videos from the 80s these would be cool to play in the background of your party. If not, you can always play 80s movies or cartoons too!
- Set out a box of costume accessories so the guests can dress up. Include plastic sunglasses, leg warmers, baggy sweatshirts, band t-shirts, bangle bracelets, fishnet gloves and other neon clothes from the 80s.
- When the guests arrive, give them 80s hair! Give boys Mohawks by using a lot of hairspray and a heavy book. The book is used to pull the hair upwards while you spray. Close the hair in the book, spray at the roots and then pull the book slowly up. Repeat until the hair sticks up. For the girls, use a flat iron to crimp their hair and then let them accessorize with big bow headbands.
If you want your meal to have an 80s vibe than here are some ideas for entrees, snacks and desserts. Remember to serve smaller portions for younger guests so food doesn’t get wasted.
- Pac Man Patties: Cut a wedge slice out of a hamburger and then spread mustard on top. Place on a bun and serve open face.
- 80s Entrees: Some kid-friendly food that was popular in the 80s include fish sticks, TV dinners, Kraft macaroni and cheese, Oscar Meyer bun-length hot dogs and French bread pizza.
- 80s Snacks: Some snacks that were popular in the 80s that are still available today are Fruit Roll-ups, Capri Sun, Tab cola, Orange Julius, Cool Ranch Doritos, Hawaiian Punch, Combos and Kool-aid.
- 80s Candy: Arrange 80s candy on the party table such as candy necklaces, Ring Pops, Now and Laters, candy buttons, Nerds, Nik-L-Nip, Bubble Tape, Pop Rocks and Pixy Stix. Some of this candy can be purchased at Birthday in a Box!
80s Cake Idea
Create a Pac-Man shaped cake for your 80s party with the following easy directions.
- Bake two round cakes with a batter of your choosing.
- Bake a batch of cupcakes with a batter of your choosing.
- Lay one unfrosted cake on top of a square cardboard base that’s covered in foil.
- Frost over the bottom layer of cake with yellow frosting and then place the second cake on top.
- Now, cut a wedge out of the cake as if you were about to serve the first slice. This will be the opening of Pac-Man’s mouth. (Feel free to eat the slice you just cut.)
- Use yellow frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.
- Frost the cupcakes with the yellow icing.
- Place one cupcake in the space where you cut Pac-Man’s mouth. This should look like he’s eating a Pac-Ball.
- Arrange the rest of the cupcakes around the perimeter of the cake so that they look like Pac-Balls Pac-Man is about to eat.
- Write a birthday message on the cake using icing and you’re done!
Party Favor Ideas
Thank your guests with totally awesome party favors! To find a large variety of 80s party favors and candy visit our Favors page and then shop around. Some of the items you may like are:
- Glitter bracelets
- Shaped sunglasses
- Mini Uno games
- Mini Mad Libs
- Braided hair extensions
- Rainbow pencils
- Candy necklaces, Ring Pops and Pixy Stix
- Personalized favors such as stickers, zipper pulls and bookmarks
Party Planning Toolbox
Use the links below to quickly find related theme party supplies, planning tips, printable checklists, and advice from our party planning experts.
- Themed Party Supplies: Includes paperware, invitations, personalized items, favors, and decorations for your party theme.
- Personalized Items: Check out our exclusive personalized items including invitations, bookmarks, stickers, and more!
- Birthday Party Decorating Ideas: This guide will tell you how to decorate for your party theme, what to do with balloons and streamers, how to decorate with food, how to set the table, and how to make your own party decorations.
- Parties Under $100: Use this guide to celebrate in style without breaking the bank!
- Party Budget Estimator: Download this guide to help budget your expenses.
- More Birthday Theme Ideas: Browse our list of over 130 themed party guides to find tips for your child’s next birthday! Each guide includes ideas for invitations, decorations, food, favors, games and more.
Games and Activities
From Mr. T to Pee Wee, this costume guide will give you all sorts of great 80s costume ideas.
Teams will compete to see who knows the most about the 80s during this nostalgic game.
Make pretty ribbon covered barrettes that were popular in the 80s.
Find out who’s got the best moves at your child’s 80s party by having a break dance competition.
Record a music video with your party guests that they will laugh about for years!
This craft activity is fun, fast and just for friends!
Girls will love making their own bracelets filled with floating glitter and beads.
Create vibrant rainbow cake batter your child will never forget!