80s Party Ideas

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.

80's Party Planning & Invitations

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 playlist 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.

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
  • 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
  • Your Love, The Outfield
  • I Love Rock N' Roll, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
  • Material Girl, Madonna
  • You Got It (The Right Stuff), New Kids on the Block

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 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.
  • 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.

80's Party Decorating & Food Ideas

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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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!

80's 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
  • Bandanas
  • Braided hair extensions
  • Headbands
  • Rainbow pencils
  • Candy necklaces, Ring Pops and Pixy Stix
  • Personalized favors such as stickers, zipper pulls and bookmarks

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