1980’s Theme Birthday Party

Last night we surprised Kristen with an 80’s theme party to celebrate her upcoming 41st birthday.  We knew she would never expect a party for such a random year and we almost pulled off the surprise until my four year old spilled the beans a few hours before.  Everyone seemed to have a great time and it was fun to re-live our back in the day memories!


I made the invitations on Power Point and emailed them to everyone to save on postage and paper.

For inside decor I taped up old Teen Beat posters that used to hang in our bedrooms and set out several Teen, Seventeen and Young Miss magazines that I had saved (yes, I have saved them for over 30 years…don’t ask!)  I also made a YouTube channel with a variety of 80’s music videos and commercials that I had playing on our TV.  It was so much fun watching them all again.  In the bathroom I taped up a favorite Scott Baio poster and set out Aqua Net and LA Looks hair gel.  It looked just like our bathroom growing up minus the make up and hair accessories scattered all over the bathroom counter!

The party was mainly held in our backyard where we set up a buffet and drink table on our patio.  The tables were decorated with photo copies of the covers of all our old 45 records (again, don’t ask!) and a lava lamp that my dad scored at a garage sale for $1 the morning of the party added to the fun!  The backdrop was a black shower curtain that my daughter had fun splattering with neon paint.  A large Rubik’s cube made out of a cardboard box and colored paper served as the gift table and also held the party favors (a cd of 80’s favorites and suckers from a bucket with a sign that said “40 may SUCK but 41 is going to ROCK!)


We set tables up in the yard covered with plastic neon tablecloths from the dollar store and photo copies of movie posters taped down the middle like a table runner.  The centerpieces were cassette tapes that I had glued together and set on a cd then filled with iridescent shredded paper and an individual LED light.  They let off a nice glow and added a little atmosphere to the yard.  In one corner of the yard we set up an Atari lounge with a red shag rug and bean bag chairs.  The only difference compared to our real Atari lounge as kids was the flat screen 32″ TV that we used to play it on at the party.  I wasn’t able to find a large console TV like we had growing up (and no, I did not save the one my parents had!)

For food I came up with a meal inspired by movies, music and memorabilia straight from the 80’s.  We had “Porky’s” Pulled Pork Sandwiches, “Children of the Corn” Corn Casserole, “Journey’s Wheel in the Sky” Pasta Salad and a “Cabbage Patch Doll” cheese ball.  And of course, no 80’s themed party would be complete without Shasta soda and a variety of snacks including Bugles with canned spray cheese, Sun Chips, Cool Ranch Doritos, Funyuns and Cheese balls.   The snacks were served in bowls made out of records.  They were a cinch to make.  Check out the tutorial here.

The food labels I quickly made up on the computer using movie posters and pictures then printed out and placed in 4×6 acrylic frames.


Finally, we turned our dining room table into a giant Pac-Man game using a black tablecloth and large Pac-Man shaped cake and yellow cupcakes.  It was the easiest cake I’ve done for a party yet!


This was such a fun party to put together!  It was also super cheap just like the middle school parties we had as kids!  As always I try to spend no more than $150/party and this one was no exception.  For 30 guests, I spent $80 on food and drinks using coupons and watching the grocery store ads for the past month or so.  The decor and  all the fun accents and party favors came to $70 thanks to the dollar stores and garage sales (and my stash of childhood memorabilia!)  I plan to sell the centerpieces and some of the other decor so I should get some of that money back.   It’s the perfect way to party…lots of fun and memories for little money!

Kristen loved the 80’s outfits I picked for her and her nieces to wear and although they were tired by the end of the night they had a blast like the rest of us did!  Thanks to my husband and parents for helping me pull this one off!


  1. It was an amazingly creative event; so impressed!!!!

    Thanks for inviting me!

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