How to Host a 1980s Themed Party

Are you ready to tease your hair, put on a member's only jacket and listen to Weird Science with your best friends? Sure! Let's get started on how to set this up! Don't forget that with any party, you have to engage all senses to have a memorable experience for your guests. So let's get this rad party started!


  1. Image titled Host a 1980s Themed Party Step 1
    Plan your guest list with the most outgoing, fun people that you know. Stuffy Stuffertons won't likely enjoy this style of a party! You'll need people that are not afraid to have fun. Once you get your guest list prepared, send a save the date via email. Yea, they didn't have email in the '80s, but this is the informal process involved with the party that will enable you to set the date. Once you verify that your main peeps are coming and you don't need to change the date, plan out the perfect invite. In the '80s - we either made a phone call or prepared a formal snail mail invitation. From this point on, you'll need to remain in 1980s character, so sending an Evite would not place your guests into the correct decade. Prepare a colorful (i.e. aqua, hot pink, bright green) invitation to mail to your guests to get the party train engine fired up! Give your guests an '80s slang dictionary with the invitation! This will help boost your verbal stimulation for your party guests and make them feel like they are smack dab in the middle of the '80s. Here's a helpful slang dictionary:
    • 411 - information
    • Ace - best; awesome; terrific.
    • Airhead - A stupid or unaware person; moron,dim-wit.
    • Amped -totally excited about something.
    • B.F.F. - Best Friends Forever.
    • Bag/Baggin Bag - to talk down on a person.
    • 'Bag Your Face!' - Shut Up!
    • Bangin' - Awesome
    • Barf Me Out- expletive - you hate it
    • Betty - girl
    • Big Time - Awesome
    • Bimbette - a girl who is stupid, an airhead
    • Bite Me! - Get Lost, Go Away
    • Bohunk -dumb, large jock.
    • Bombdiggity - awesome
    • Bomb - Something favorable.
    • Book - Leave, get out
    • Bootleg - not the real thing
    • Boss -excellent, superior.
    • Bounce -Means to get out of here, leave
    • Boy Toy - a cute guy that dates older woman.
    • Buggin' - When someone is acting out or doing something stupid,losing one's mind
    • Bulk - very good
    • Bunk - Not cool.
    • Burn Out - A druggie; someone who smokes cigarettes/doesn't care about themselves e.g. in general a derogatory term
    • Can you relate? - Do you get it?
    • Chill (Take a Chill Pill) - Relax
    • Choice - Extremely cool
    • Clutch - cool
    • Chillin' - Relaxing
    • Cornchip - a punk or new wave look.
    • Couch Potato - Someone who sits in front of the TV on their couch or sofa.
    • Cowabunga - Surf term,get ready here we go/up for the challenge.
    • Crunk - something that is cool or hip.
    • D.I.N.K. - To describe a married couple. Dual Income No Kids
    • Dag Spanky! - Wow!
    • Dang Skippy! - Strong affirmation or agreement.
    • Dank - Really good
    • Deadly - Wickedly cool
    • Dexter - Smart, kinda preppy, but not overly nerdy.
    • Diesel -Cool, awesome, radical, basically something very good
    • Ditz - A less harsh way of describing a person who is not very smart.
    • Down - In agreement.
    • Doy (Doi) - Short for "No duh" or "no doy".
    • Dyno - Short for dynamite; a response to something one is looking forward to.
    • Eat My Shorts - Phrase used as a comeback. Heavily in use in the 80's and also used on TV's 'The Simpsons'.
    • Fer Sure - Obviously, Of course
    • Fine - cute, a hot guy or girl
    • Flash - Cool, awesome
    • Freaked Out (Freak Out) - scared, excited
    • Freak - a hottie who likes to have fun
    • Gag me with a spoon - expletive - you hate it
    • Gamer -a video game player
    • Glam - An object or a person who is glamorous. Either for positive or negative use.
    • Goth/Gothic - someone who likes the cure,skinny puppy & ministry
    • Grill - teeth, smile, or ask a lot of questions
    • Grindage - food
    • Grody - Gross
    • Hacker -Computer genius. In 'WarGames', Mathew Broderick played a hacker.
    • Hairdog- Someone who sports a 'mullet' or a really big permed 'mall' hair doo.
    • Happen'n - Very cool; up-to-date or current in style.
    • Head Banger -Fan of heavy metal music.
    • Metalheads - someone who listened to rock and dressed the part
    • Homefry -a close, or best, friend.
    • Hotdogger - surfer.
    • In the Mix - Cool.
    • Jams - Songs, Music
    • Joanie -A boring, not-so-hip girl. From the 70's and 80's show 'Happy Days', specifically, Joanie Cunningham (Erin Moran), the unhip girl.
    • Kicker -A kicker is a hick; a cowboy. they drive trucks with grill guards and wear wrangler jeans.
    • Kirk Out -To really freak out, get super angry or crazy about something
    • Legit -It means legitimate, legal, honest, or a sure deal, or the real McCoy.
    • Mega - cool, good
    • Mondo - Cool; nice; neat.
    • Most Triumphant - excellent or above average.
    • Narc -Tattle tale or sell out. "Don't narc me out man." "He told the teacher, he's a narc."
    • New Wave -A type of heavily synthesized pop music performed by groups like A Flock of Seagulls, Duran Duran, The Busboys,Thompson Twins and Erasure.
    • Noob -A new person to a game; a loser.
    • O-rama - Suffix you affix to a word to describe the whole spectrum of the meaning.
    • Ooglay -Extremely ugly.
    • Pac-Man -A person with a voracious (and often humongous) appetite; one that will eat EVERYTHING *edible* in sight!
    • Ralph - To throw up.
    • Righteous -Same as awesome or cool.
    • Schweet -Sweet
    • Shiz Nits (Schiznick) - awesome
    • Shred/Shredding/Shredded - good music or skateboarding / surfing
    • Sick - Cool
    • Skeezer - a girl who is always all over popular guys.
    • Space Cadet - Airhead, Ditz.
    • Spazzing - Overly excited. An exaggeration of being excited.
    • Spiffy (Spiff) - cool, awesome
    • Sportin' - To wear an article of clothing or to wear your hair a certain way.
    • Sprung - Totally in love, infatuated.
    • Stud -A very good looking guy.
    • Tight -Really cool.
    • Totally Tubular - awesome
    • Trippin' - Verb, Acting in an unbelievable manner.
    • Wastoid -a waste of space, a loser. Emilio Estevez calls Judd Nelson a wastoid in The Breakfast Club.
    • What's Crackalackin'? -What's goin on. What's happening. Rhetorical greeting.
    • Where's the Beef! -Expression used to show one is being ripped off or shorted.
    • Wigging/Wig Out-Someone that is freaking out.
  2. Image titled Host a 1980s Themed Party Step 2
    In the '80s, arcade games became the rave. If you lived in the '80s, you likely had a Nintendo Entertainment System as it had 90% of the American video game market by the end of the decade! Computers hit the scene in homes and as a complete industry as the IBC PC launched in Commodore 64 was another popular home item although it had minimal capabilities for home users. Think about this realm of technology when you are ready to start decorating. Having these items at the party will fulfill your visual senses as well as your kinesthetic (touch) sense - if you can get the real stuff. If you can go to some vintage stores to score some old video game systems (i.e. Atari) or computers from this era (i.e. Commodore 64), you will add authenticity to your event. It would be ideal if these systems actually worked so the guests could have a go at them. But no worries if you can't get your hands on them - if you can simply get some screen shots of this archaic technology, you can either put them as a slide show via a DVD and monitor or print them out and slap frames on them to scatter about the room.
  3. Image titled Host a 1980s Themed Party Step 3
    The Music Scene was definitely unique as the use of keyboards came into play (New Wave or Synthpop) and MTV hit the scene. Think about your party playlist. You must stimulate the audio senses, and what better than some '80s new wave tunes! The following artists were popular in the 1980s, so jam up your playlist with their Billboard top 40's:
    • Madonna
    • Queen
    • Michael Jackson
    • Duran Duran
    • Prince
    • Queen
    • Guns N' Roses
    • Bon Jovi
    • Joan Jet
  4. Image titled Host a 1980s Themed Party Step 4
    What to wear, what to wear, what to wear? Clothing was colorful to say the least. Sweatshirt dresses with matching bold-colored leggings, parachute pants, big plastic bangles, and Member's Only jackets were extremely popular! Be sure on your invitations, you encourage your guests to dress in the theme of things. Your guests can and should become part of the d├ęcor and enhance the visual portion of your party experience! An alternative is to go to vintage stores, grab some '80s fashion and have a dressing room designated for your guests to change into your hand-picked garb. It shouldn't cost too much to score some '80s rags, but if money is an issue, simply task your guests to dress up for the occasion.
  5. Image titled Host a 1980s Themed Party Step 5
    Everybody needs to eat and you can't host a party without proper munchables! Taste is a sense, so you must stimulate it! In the '80s, the yuppies of this generation made sushi the cool food. Eating in a bread bowl was popular, as well as anything they could blast ranch flavoring on was the rave (i.e. Doritos). "New Coke" was a flop, but a popular flop of the '80s, so if you can print out some New Coke labels and adhere to some Coke cans, that'd be neat! Frozen yogurt was a new fad, and if you are serving cocktails, be sure to have some Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers handy.
  6. Image titled Host a 1980s Themed Party Step 6
    Smell is another sense you'll need to hit on - so let's think about what you might have smelled back in the '80s. One thing comes to mind - Polo Cologne - the original in the green bottle. Anybody that lived in the '80s smelled that and would remember the scent. Believe me, a little goes a long way where that fragrance is concerned! However, don't spritz this next to the food - any scent other than a food odor will be unappetizing. Spray a few squirts next to the entrance to give a blast from the past when the guests enter the room. If these are a newer generation that didn't survive the '80s - they'll know what they missed!
  7. Image titled Host a 1980s Themed Party Step 7
    Life is simply one game after another. Party games are a must! Spend some time Google searching or creating your own party games and try your best to stay in the theme of your decade! Rap music was emerging at this time, so why not host a rap contest with some cheesy '80s rap beats and a microphone! Everybody loves to dance - well, maybe not everybody - but everybody enjoys watching dance contests! Pair up your guests and play a fun '80s tune for them to dance to and be the host-judge. You'll be surprised how much your guests will get into this! Relay matches are good - maybe with '80s fashion at each end for the team members to have to put on before running back to the starting line, as well.

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Categories: Theme Parties