80s theme party ideas for one of the most popular theme parties.

8. September 2017 - Alexander Schmidt

80s Theme Party Ideas – Guide for Your Totally Awesome Retro Party




The ultimate guide with 80s theme party ideas for the best party of your life. Pack your gauntlets, leggings and studded belt and go back in time!

Decade parties are among the most popular theme parties par excellence. And with good reason, because on the one hand they conjure up nostalgic feelings of the good old days (often even for those who didn’t experience them at all), and on the other hand a decade theme gives hosts and guests great freedom in design and interpretation. After all, a lot happens in 10 years in terms of fashion, music and zeitgeist!

The best example: the 80s – if you only think of perms, neon-coloured leggings and mega pop stars like Michael Jackson, Tina Turner and Madonna, you forget the enormous diversity of this decade! After all, the 80s were also the decade of punks and poppers, of burgeoning metal, new wave, dark wave and gothic rock. And styles like hip hop and techno, which would only come to full bloom in the 90s, also had their formative early phase in the 80s.

What a decade! And so it’s no surprise that the 80s theme party continues to enjoy great popularity.

Are you planning an 80s theme party yourself? Great idea! So that you don’t forget anything important and your party becomes absolutely legendary, here is our compact…

Ultimate Guide With the Best 80s Theme Party Ideas


In order to make your 80s theme party a success, you should think about a few basic things beforehand. When planning your party, you should take into account the time of year, the weather, the party location and the number of guests and their tastes.

Of course, the latter is always difficult, but especially with an 80s theme party you can cover several styles so that there is something for everyone musically.

Short checklist with questions

  1. Where will the 80s party take place? Inside or outside?
  2. Which style suits the location particularly well?
  3. Do I narrow down the motto further, e.g.: “”80s – Punks vs. Poppers”, “”80s Trash Party”, “”80s New Wave Party” or do I leave the interpretation up to the guests?
  4. What suitable decorations do I have and what do I need?
  5. Do friends perhaps have suitable decoration items that I could borrow?
  6. Which food and drinks go with the theme?
  7. Where is the music coming from? Good sound system available? DJ? Live band?
  8. How much money do I invest – in decoration, food, drinks, possibly even DJ or live music?

2. Invitation

You want as many people as possible, if not everyone, to come to your party and to be really excited about it. So make an effort with the invitation and set the mood.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, even an online invitation can be original with a witty text full of 80s references and a cool cover picture, e.g. of an 80s star or a poster of an 80s cult film.

But the best invitations are of course printed out, nice and old-fashioned analogue…?

You can also print out 80s-related pictures from the web, preferably on thicker paper.

3. 80s Decoration

When it comes to decorations, it’s mainly your own imagination that counts, as well as your personal associations and/or memories of that time (if you consciously lived through it).

Suggestions for good decorations for an 80s theme party.

  • Posters of big stars of the 80s, like Michael Jackson, Madonna, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Nena, Modern Talking, Nina Hagen or rather the Scorpions, Iron Maiden and Metallica
  • Posters of 80s cult films like Dirty Dancing, Flash Dance, Back to the Future, Phantom Commando, Terminator, Balde Runner, Blue Velvet, Road House, Rambo, Ferris Turns Blue, The Goonies, The Breakfast Club, Ghostbusters, E.T. etc.
  • Old 80s records from the flea market as coasters (or imitation ones made of plastic, see links below)
  • Magic cubes!!! – No item represents the 80s as much as the iconic Rubik’s Cube
  • Disco balls
  • Record tapes
  • Stuff in 8-bit design
  • Uralt computers from the attic
  • Plush toys & figurines of Alf, E.T., He-Man, Pacman, the Ninja Turtles, Arnie himself… [insert personal favourite heroes of the 80s here]

There are also special 80s decorations to buy, e.g. napkins with the typical TV test picture of the time, wall hangings or garlands in 80s design. If you order such decorations from amazon via one of the following affiliate links, you are supporting Abenteuer Freundschaft without the products becoming more expensive for you.

4. 80s Theme Party Ideas for Outfits for Women

80s theme party ideas provides an occasion for a fashionable trip down memory lane.

019 jacinta’s birthday party by Fernando de Sousa at CC BY 2.0

To some, the 80s are now seen as a decade of fashion sins, while others are now celebrating them again for their flashy ideas and iconic looks. Either way, there’s a pretty wide range to choose from, because whether you’re wearing a perm and harem pants, going all Nina Hagen or a badass punk chick… it’s all the 80s.

5. 80s Theme Party Ideas for Outfits for Men

The stylistic diversity of the 80s also gave men quite a few options: Punk or well-behaved popper, 80s rocker in the style of Alice Cooper or KISS, dark wave goth or early hip hopper…

6. Food and Drinks

Are there any dishes and drinks that are typical of the 80s? The answer is yes. There is hardly a decade in which dishes were prepared that were ONLY available at that time, neither before nor after. BUT there are definitely dishes, foods and drinks that enjoyed particular popularity at certain times. In the 80s, for example, people loved so-called country buffets, where snacks were sorted by country of origin, e.g. Italian, Spanish, American, etc.

The popularity of bright colours was also reflected in the favourite cocktails of the 80s: many contained Blue Curaçao and were generally very colourful.

A small selection of party snacks for your 80s theme party

  • Tomato mozzarella – Still popular today, this snack was absolutely nonplusultra at every party in the 80s!
  • Poundstopf – Attention, not for vegans: this popular party speciality of the 80s is made of small cut steaks, schnitzel AND crumbly minced meat! So a good basis for drinking ? (here a recipe for it)
  • Salmon canapés – In the 80s, people liked it decadent
  • Crab cocktails – As I said before… 😀

Typical 80s Cocktails

  • Kir Royal
  • Vodka Gorbachev
  • Green Widow
  • Batida Kirsch
  • Angel’s Kiss
  • Cosmopolitan

7. Music

Honestly? That’s what you want to know from us now? If you’re planning an 80s theme party, it’s probably because the era appeals to you anyway and I’m sure you already have a lot of music in mind.

But to give you something like a guide to what was played in the 80s, here are a few helpful links:

Any questions? Let’s Party!?

If you’re looking for more good party themes, check out our Theme Party List with 111 great suggestions.

On Abenteuer Freundschaft, lots of hot tips for celebrating a theme party together are waiting for you to discover them. Browse through our gift ideas and tips for activities with friends, kids and partner. Check it out!

Stay up to date and follow Abenteuer Freundschaft on Facebook and Instagram!

Image source Cover image: 080 jacinta’s birthday party by Fernando de Sousa at CC BY 2.0

*This article contains so-called affiliate links. That means, if you order products through these links, we get a small commission. However, this does not change the price.
Back to the 80s! With these party tips you can get into the DeLorean and travel to the decade of the poppers and punks!


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