There’s no shortage of visual inspiration when it comes to an 80s theme party. The decade has become one of the most popular and recognizable party themes we’ve seen. After all, who wouldn’t want to bring back the era’s vivid patterns, neon fashion, and over-teased hair? (For one night only, that is.)
A decade that brought us so many staples (hello: Air Jordans, Bruce Springsteen, and Pac Man) deserves an epic night of remembrance. In the words of Bowling for Soup, we’re still “preoccupied — with 1985,” and it’s time to bring it back to life.
So whether you’re looking to travel back for a nostalgic memory or a first time experience, we’re breaking down 15 of the best 80s theme party ideas we’ve seen on PartySlate. Grab your boombox, blast Bon Jovi, start scrolling (and enjoy the ride).
1. Add Big Balloon Backdrops (& Bigger Hair)
It’s time to flip your hair, whip out those shoulder pads, and gather your brightest accessories. That’s right, we’re taking you to the prom, circa 1980. Click into these party photos for the raddest décor (and outfit) inspiration, including old school photo ops and props, and bushels of bright balloons.
2. Let 80s Arcades Inspire Your Ice Ice Baby
This birthday bash paired some of our favorite 80s games with tinted pampas grass and boho California florals — as well as the chicest arcade we’ve ever seen. Our favorite part? The incredible attention to detail; including retro arcade lettering across napkins, ice cubes, and custom drink stirrers (all paying tribute to the 40th-birthday boy).
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3. Pop Culture Onto Your 80s Theme Party Desserts
These 80s theme party photos are about to spark some bright ideas. We’re obsessed with the event’s signature cocktails, which were named after classic 80s hits including “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Bourbon Bohemian Rhapsody.” The celebration continued its tribute to 80s pop with poster-covered bars showcasing some of the era’s legendary artists.
4. Spark 80s Nostalgia From the Start
This party host handed out mixtapes before guests even arrived. We’re talking custom invitations that teased an unforgettable “pink 80s prom night” in retro-chic style. A tulle-wrapped birthday cake, hot pink satin table linen, and a tassel-filled balloon arch took older guests back to their high school dance (but this time, they didn’t have to spike the punch).
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5. No Duh You Need an 80s Theme Party Bar
We bet you never thought you’d see a Hamptons country club turned into a high school gym. Nonetheless, this birthday party did just that, taking guests back in time for yet another 80s-style prom. Cocktail tables made of VHS tapes, 80s slang swag, and a funky bar backdrop are just a few reasons this celebration is the perfect source of fresh 80s theme party inspiration.
6. Walk This Way (With Your Leg Warmers)
Oxon Hill, MD
Your favorite Halloween costume just turned into a party of its own. “Let’s Get Physical” on the dance floor with 80s workout-inspired dancers and matching neon platforms. We especially love the idea of ringing in a new year with décor from a past one — like this New Year’s Eve celebration did.
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7. Solve Your Décor Dilemma With Rubik’s Cubes
If you don’t know where to start in your 80s theme party planning, Rubik’s Cubes are always a fun idea. From bar designs to dance floor patterns, dessert inspiration, and more, we’ve seen them brought to life in every which way. However, this birthday party brought back more than just a decade of games. A neon-striped DJ booth, dance floor, and floral arrangements helped the guest of honor ring in 80 right.
8. We Want to Dance With Somebody (Under a Slinky Ceiling)
It’s true, slinkies originated well before the 1980s; however, they didn’t gain popularity until this beloved decade began to unfold. Thus, neon slinkies (with a side of disco balls) made for the perfect suspended dance floor décor at this 80s theme birthday party. We can just picture the neon toys bouncing above guests as they rocked out to U2.
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9. Phone Home About This Tubular 80s Theme Party Décor
It’s not everyday a tween Bat Mitzvah girl is keen on a retro party theme, and this event team loved every second of it. A kid-friendly version of the 80s included E.T.-inspired wall projections, Rubik’s Cube signage, and an old school MTV-inspired logo. Take one look at these party photos, and you’ll be trying to convince your little one that this theme is perfect for them, too.
10. Scrunchies are an 80s Girl’s Best Friend
We love the vivid décor that comes with an 80s party. But in this case, we love the photo ops even more. Secure retro props for your guests to take on-theme photos, and encourage 80s theme party clothes in your dress code ( just like at this birthday bash). After all, is it really an 80s party if no one has a scrunchy in their hair?
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11. Spike Your 80s Theme Party Drinks Neon
This cocktail party celebrated Pride month with an 80s theme. The celebration ensured each guest would experience 80s-inspired elements from start to finish, right down to the drinks. We know the decade after disco was all about color, and these beverages added just the right amount of on-theme detail.
12. Let Them Eat 80s Theme Party Birthday Cake
North Caldwell, NJ
If this party’s cake doesn’t say it all, the photos of the band wearing Ghostbusters costumes will. This birthday bash was authentically 80s from the totally tubular neon wall designs to the LED-lit furniture, arcade games, and of course, the perfectly-themed desserts.
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13. Serve After-School Specials
This 80s prom night hits different — and not just because it caters to some of our childhood taste buds. Click in to see massive balloon arch entrances, cheeky signage, and a company “yearbook.” Tassels, tinsel, and cheerleaders framed guests as they grabbed their corsages and entered the large-scale celebration. If you need us, we’ll be sending these party photos to our company’s holiday party planner.
14. Swap Your Walkman for a Rad DJ
Board games, chalk boards, and the best of 80s fashion are just a few reasons why we love this party’s retro theme inspiration. If you’re not obsessed with neon, these photos offer toned-down 80s inspiration that will still strike a chord of nostalgia amongst you and your guests.
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15. Don’t Stop Believin’ in 80s Fashion
There are so many reasons why we wish we could have attended this party, one being the arcade style “Pac Mac N’ Cheese.” We especially love the LED mixtape centerpieces, the epic Lite Brite wall, and floating Rubik’s Cubes throughout the sparkling scene. Trust us: You have to see it to believe it.
People Also Ask…
What Do you Wear to an 80s Theme Party?
When it comes to attending an 80s theme party, the fun is in the fashion. There are so many routes you can take when deciding on your look. Think anything from shoulder pads and teased hair to off-the-shoulder tops and scrunchy side ponies.
In terms of your outfit palette, the 80s were all about bright colors (specifically in neon shades), and don’t forget big accessories (including chunky jewelry, square-framed glasses, and slouchy leg warmers).
How Do You Throw an 80s Party?
The first step to planning an epic 80s theme party is finding a venue. On PartySlate, you can browse event spaces by location, amenities, style, and venue type.
Once you’ve found a venue, it’s time to pick your party planner. Discover the best planners in your city through PartySlate’s directory, then view their portfolio to make sure their work matches your style.
The same goes for your caterer, band, DJ, florist, invitation designer, and any other vendor you need for your event. PartySlate is your one-stop-shop for finding, saving, and booking your dream event team.