5 Ideas for the Best 80's Party and FREE Party Printables

1980's party ideas

The 1980's. A time when everything was LOUD - the fashion, the hair, the movies, the dance moves and the music! The 80's was all about the music!

I grew up in the 80's and I remember the era fondly; especially the fashion. I loved my neon Choose Life t-shirt and matching ruffle skirts and balloon skirts and neon socks! I teased my hair and dressed up like Cyndi Lauper and Madonna. And no, before you ask, I'm not posting any photos.

If you're looking for a fun party theme idea for all ages, perhaps an 80's party is the way to go. It is a fairly generic theme idea, which gives your party guests lots of easy and affordable options for fancy dress, the music is great and decorating can be done easily and on a budget. And it's just downright fun!

Let's look at some fun ideas for your next 80's party!

80's party ideas

1. Think Neon

From video games to fashion, everything in the 80's was totally neon! Don't be afraid to go nuts with the colour scheme for an 80's party - the brighter the better!

Popular colours were neon pink, yellow and green. But bright blue, orange and purple were next in line. Much of the design featured these colours on a white or black background. Think loud punchy designs that totally clash, with a lot of splattered paint and graffiti-style artwork.

As suggested by Birthday In a Box, the photo above displays an easy and cost effective decoration. Simply splatter neon paint onto a black backdrop. You could also add colourful paper fans  and a paper garland as they have done.

We also love how they have created this awesome party table just by adding vintage items, that you may already have in your home. Note the old boombox, and old movies. You or your friends may have some items laying around that you could use for party decor:

  • cassette tapes
  • video cassettes
  • movie/celebrity posters
  • vintage game equipment e.g. nintendo, atari etc
  • Rubik's cubes
  • arcade games e.g. pinball machines
  • toys such as Cabbage Patch dolls and Care Bears
  • vintage guitars
  • sunglasses, cheap plastic jewellery and other accessories
  • disco balls
  • neon lights
  • anything glow in the dark

80's party tips

Jamee from Setting the Mood shares a great idea for 80's party centrepieces - just spray paint old cassette tapes in neon colours!

2. Fab Fashion

If you are hosting a costume or fancy dress party, just remember that with 80's fashion, it was pretty much anything goes. 80's fashion was big, gaudy and loud!

If you don't want to buy costumes for your party, you can raid friends' wardrobes or put something together from your own, without spending a dime. Alternatively, visit some second-hand clothing stores and grab a vintage bargain.

Unsure of what to wear? Pinterest is a great source of inspirational ideas, as we show below (*giggles*):

80's party ideas80's party tips80's parties

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80's party80s party fancy dress

Below is a list of fashion items from the 80's:

Girls -
  • leg warmers
  • shutter shade glasses
  • plastic pearls, bangles and earrings
  • hair bows
  • fingerless gloves
  • ruffle skirts
  • balloon skirts
  • glow bangles
  • midriff tops
  • baggy jeans (high wasted)
  • tights

Guys -

  • baggy jeans
  • double denim (stonewash and jeans rolled up at ankle)
  • happy pants
  • loud patterned shirts
  • thin ties
  • preppy jumper tied over shoulders
  • oversized blazers
  • Hawaiian shirts (thanks Magnum P.I.)
  • loafers
  • brimmed hats
  • bandanas

Remember, you can also opt to dress as characters or icons of the 80's. Suggestions include:

  • television shows such as Miami Vice, The A-Team or Magnum P.I.
  • movies, e.g. Back to the Future, The Breakfast Club, Top Gun, The Goonies
  • music icons e.g. Madonna, Culture Club, Adam Ant, Michael Jackson
  • characters e.g. Scooby Doo, He-Man, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids Show

    80's party ideas


Hair and makeup (for guys and girls!) in the 1980's was as big as possible and bright! Mullet hairstyles were massive for everyone. Crimped hair with a teased fringe (and lacquered to within an inch of its life) was big for the gals. Colour in the hair was also a thing, so you may want to stock up on some hairspray or invest in a fun wig, to save yourself the trouble (and possibly your hair).

1980's party ideas80's party ideas tips

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1980's party fancy dress ideas1980's party costume ideas

For further ideas, research some 1980's fashion icons, such as:
  • Michael Jackson
  • Madonna
  • Cyndi Lauper 
  • Bananarama
  • Don Johnson
  • David Hasselhoff
  • David Bowie
  • Boy George
  • Prince
  • Joan Collins
  • Princess Diana
  • Molly Ringwald
  • Adam Ant
  • Duran Duran
  • George Michael
  • Tom Cruise
  • Lionel Richie

80s party ideas

A fun idea as shown above by Birthday In a Box is to set up a dress up bar for your guests. As they arrive they can help themselves to your accessories!

3. Totally Rad Fun

Every good party keeps attending guests entertained. Below are some suggestions for entertainment at your 1980's party:

  • 80's cover band
  • play an 80's mix of music - an easy way to do this is with 80's compilations
  • 80's edition of Trivial Pursuit, Battleship or Connect 4
  • 1980's Karaoke
  • Costume contest
  • Play vintage video games
  • Play arcade games
  • Watch 80's movies
  • Name that 80's song/artist
  • 80's dance moves/breakdancing contest

1980s party


You can download this free 80's trivia printable here.

80s party


 4. DIY Decor

No 80's party is complete without one or two Rubik's cubes. You can create your own by painting square boxes of any size, as shown by Parties for Pennies.

eighties party ideas

Printable party decor is a quick, easy and affordable option. Here at The Digi Dame Party Shoppe, we've got your 80's party covered with our 80's party printables pack of decorations and matching cassette tape invitation, as shown in the pictures below. Click on the images to visit the items in our shop.

80's party printables invitation


80's party printables

80's party printables decorations editable templates

editable printable 80's party backdrop

At the end of this post, we have some free party printable downloads for you, from our 80's party printables pack!

Parties for Pennies once again provide us with a great DIY decor idea. Use black plastic plates to resemble vinyl music records, as shown below.

80's party DIY

5. Totally Tasty

Why not name your party food dishes and snacks after 80's icons? Some suggestions are listed below:

  • Pac-Man Pies
  • Rubik's Rolls
  • Madonna's Mix
  • Sting's Sausage Rolls
  • Prince's Pizza
  • Culture Clubs
  • Cassette Cakes
  • Top Gun Tasties
  • The Police Pretzels
  • Cyndi Lauper Crisps

We're sure you can come up with many more creative ideas!

So, are you ready for some FREE 80's party printables? We've got you covered.

free party printables 80's party

From our 80's Party Printables Pack, we are excited to offer you two sample party printables - our 80's party cupcake toppers, and our coordinating 80's party favor box printable.

Just click on each image to download our FREE party printables!

80's party cupcake toppers

80's party printable favor box

We hope these ideas and our free party printables help you to celebrate the best 80's party in town!

Happy Partying,

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