How to Plan an 80s Night

I haven't done an 80s night myself (though the more I read of other people doing it, the more I want to do it myself). I've gathered together ideas people have used in the past here, and I encourage others who have tried it to send in their results (good or bad). I also started a page on How to Hire a DJ for an 80s night as well, since that could be a big ingredient if you're planning a larger scale event.

I also have a couple of pages devoted to posters of the 80s that are currently available for sale. Check out Bands From the 80s and Movies of the 80s. A couple of posters can help set a good atmosphere.

I also started an entire quiz site devote to trivia quizzes, which are useful for questions to ask in prize giveaways.

I had an '80s night in December 1993, and while it was low-key, it was definitely a hit. There were only a few of us, maybe eight. I asked everyone to come dressed '80s and bring music and toys and whatever else. We just played '80s music, Trivial Pursuit, and Atari, and I brought my synthesizer, too. Had more people brought stuff, it would've been more lively. Everyone came dressed in '80s clothing, though, and that was cool. I wore an off the shoulder gray sweatshirt with authentic '80s buttons (Michael Jackson, Wham, Frankie Goes to Hollywood) on it. I wore dark jeans, jelly bracelets, neon bangle bracelets, neon earrings, and a pair of legwarmers that I made by cutting the sleeves off of an old, ugly sweater. Clothing and jewelry can be found in friends' attics and secondhand stores. If you can find quintessentially '80s food at the grocery store, snap it up!
Submitted by: Jennifer Boyer
80s Jeopardy is a big party favorite. All you need are some standard 80s trivia questions, along with video and audio splices for "Daily Doubles." If you've got alot of people, you can play teams where the three contestants switch off every question.
Submitted by: Anonymous
Depending on how lively (or juvenile) your group is, 80s lip synch contests can be hits. If you've got a contest between the likes of, say, the Beastie Boy's and B-52s, and everyone's dressed and acting the part, you're going to have a good thing.
Submitted by: Anonymous
I am having an 80's party and I got a bunch of theme songs from t.v. shows of the eighties...You can get them off the internet or you can buy a cd with them on it...Anyway people have to guess what T.v. show the theme song is from.
Submitted by: Anonymous
For our 80's night I asked all the guest to bring a high school picture from the 80's. Not only did they have to dress the part everyone could see how it really was.
Submitted by: Anonymous
We checked out tons of 80's movies and went through them, finding the 10 best sound clips we liked and digitized them. Then we found 10 80's songs to match those clips (e.g. masterful clipping of 3 dog-fight scenes into one seamless track from TopGun matched with Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins). We burned a CD out of this, made 70-80 copies as party favors.
Submitted by: Loren Cheng
We designed covers for the CD's which sported shots of Miami Vice, very nice color copies (thank God we had access to a color copier at one of our workplaces). We passed them out midway through the party when everyone was totally psyched. Then passed out pens and suggested people open up the foldout covers and sign each others foldouts as if they were yearbooks. People actually really got into it.
Submitted by: Loren Cheng
We put pink and blue streamers all over the room. Borrowed lights from a DJ friend of mine.
Submitted by: Loren Cheng
We borrowed tons of vintage 80's clothes, cut out cardboard cutouts, dressed the cutouts, and tacked them to the wall!
Submitted by: Loren Cheng
We had TONS of movie posters (one of my roommates grew up in a movie theatre -- his dad was the manager); we picked 8 vintage 80's movies and put those posters up around the room.
Submitted by: Loren Cheng
Spent 0 or so at Diddams, a local party store for things that seemed 80's.
Submitted by: Loren Cheng
We used a hypo needle to spike crates of Capri Sun with Bacardi 151. Very very popular drink. On a bad note, one Mormon did accidentally drink the Capri Sun before we informed her it was spiked.
Submitted by: Loren Cheng
Put up poster boards everywhere encouraging people to contribute experiences (Most Embarrassing Moment in the 80's, Favorite Action Hero of the 80's, Favorite Outfit from the 80's).
Submitted by: Loren Cheng
Trivia contest using your lists. We printed out the 25 questions we liked best, plastered them on the wall in a large font, then passed sheets out to people on the way in. The sheets were labelled with team names (the Weavers, the Carringtons, the Ewings, etc. etc.). People formed up and tackled questions at their leisure throughout the night. Winners took home Blockbuster gift certificates.
Submitted by: Loren Cheng
Rubik's Cube Contest - Can be done several ways, but usually I give 7 people their own cube, put them out on the dance floor, and whoever can get 1 side done within one song, gets a drink, or some type of giveaway.
Submitted by: From Rikk / Dj80
Stymie Dj80 - This one puts me to the test...If anyone in the party can request an 80's song that I don't have, they win something. This contest is usually the whole night since people think they can get me, and then realize how difficult that is! As a rule, I always have to show the song, or prove I have it. Occasionally I lose.
Submitted by: From Rikk / Dj80
Breakdancing Contest - This one speaks for itself
Submitted by: From Rikk / Dj80
"Name that 80's theme" is also fun. I see this one has already been posted, but I play a sample of an 80's TV show theme song, first correct guess..wins. You can double the prize if they can name the ARTIST!!
Submitted by: From Rikk / Dj80
I had an 80's party a few years ago, which was a lot of fun. Started by raiding my parents house for some memorabilia to put up around the house, like some garbage pail kids cards, old magazines, a poster of Tron and a history of videogames. Next i hit up ebay; for around $100 I got a Colecovision with the Atari 2600 atachment and a bunch of games. I got Dragon's lair on DVD, along with copies of a few movies (including Liquid Sky! if you don't know what it is, do yourself a favor and find out). Next I hit napster (ahh the good old days) and made about four full 90 tapes of 80s music. A good place to start for ideas about music is the time life website or some other one where they sell those compilation cds. Then search on allmusic for other songs by those bands or related bands. You'll have a few hundred in no time. Got to have a few rubiks cubes and their knock-offs laying around. I found my old Lazer Tag as well(it was the copy, called Photon). Last and most importantly, 80s candy! pop rocks for everyone! Hmm.... maybe it's time for another
Submitted by: Lincoln
We're throwing a party for my 30th birthday party in August. I'm going to use many of the ideas I've seen here. We're also planning on buying an old Chevette, restore it and that will be the ride all of my buddies and I will show up in. We found one already for $250.
Submitted by: Benwa
March 2003 : We hosted an 80's Party and required party goers to dress "80's style". We got a keg (no brainer) and I made a "Drinko" game in the spirit of "Plinko" from The Price Is Right. Instead of winning $$ the chip would fall in the slot that was designated to a shot of Schnapps...Vodka..Maddog 20/20 ect. It was the hit of the party. Also, I downloaded about 30 photos of the 80's; Back To The Future, Silver Spoons, The A-Team, Ninja Turtles ect., shrunk them down and taped them to the red and blue beer cups. This not only made it easy to find out where you left your beer, but was also a great conversation piece. "I got David Lee Roth..who you got?" "I got Three's Company" Also I downloaded enough 80's music for a whole weekend!! I had a 50/50 raffle and gave away 80's CD's. In the Living Room, I removed photos in our frames and replaced them with "Family Ties", Harrision Ford, and other 80's icons. The basement had a dance floor and we hung Pink and Blue Streamers from the rafters. All the small details took alot of time and work but it all was worth it. Go to eBay and but swatch watches or borrow things from friends like we did (Old Albums / 45 Cover Sleves / Cabbage Patch Kids and display them about the house) It was a great time and people are asking when the next party is!!!
Submitted by: Craig Nemeth
I am planning an 80's night for my 24th birthday in July, 2003. The first thing guests will see is a time tunnel leading up to the front door, taking them back in time from 2003 to 1979. At the opening, a strobe light will provide special effects, whilst at the end next to the front door, my laptop will be set up playing a video clip on DVD by Darren Hayes entitled "Crush (1980me)" on auto-repeat. It will just loop over and over again. I have sent out a list of ideas along with the invitations on what to wear, how to do your hair and so forth. In the lounge room, an Atari will be set up on the main TV with a selection of 80's music on casettes will play on the stereo we got in the 80's. In my bedroom, which will be open to the public for the first time, like, ever, 80's video clips taped off cable onto VHS will be playing on my TV. Thanks to a program called "Golden Years" I managed to tape an hours worth of clips from each year from 1979 to 1989 in cfronological order on 4 tapes. There will be coloured light bulbs replacing every white globe in the house. As my kitchen has fluorescent lighting, I will be replacing the white bulbs with those groovy black UV ones. As I am expecting a group of about 20 laid back people to attend, it's just a matter of 'find your own fun.' There will be PLENTY of free alcohol and maybe even something slightly greener for those so inclined. The idea is not to just remember the 80's, my guests will, for one night, think it IS the 80's. I'm even trying to track down some old calenders.
Submitted by: Daniel Raffaele
Me and my friends being products of the 80's had an 80's night. since we were only alive during the 80's for a little bit we asked our parents what to wear. My friend Nikay actually was wearing clothes from the 80's since her mom still had them. All that we did was watch 80's movies like the cult classics and listened to 80's music but it was totally FUN!
Submitted by: Melissa
Well i don't know much ideas but one idea would be is to compile a top 100 or 500 or 1000 list of 80's songs and do a countdown like in radio style or video style oh and it can be any 80's song from UK charts, US charts or wherever and if you ever have an 80's song/artist freak get him to be tested to see if he has the song i bet i have much music in 80's to test you all out
Submitted by: Matthew
Atari put out a new game system where it is the old atari joystick and all the reset and start buttons are on the plugs directly into the a/c cables and runs on AA gives the feel of the old joystick and the games are not updated one bit...imagine having an asteroids or missle command contest using the original joystick
Submitted by: Jon
Have had a successful 80's girls night wine and cheese.Planning another girls and guys new years party- making up a disc of all my favourites (70 odd songs) off my 80's collection and going to grab a madonna (like a virgin,material girl,get into the groove etc) kareoke CD.making up a 'happy new years" banner all in 80's style pink neon etc
Submitted by: Paula
I graduated from high school in '88 and pursued various college degrees for ten years afterwards. I threw 4 80's parties between '95 and '98. Some ideas I used for all four: -I had an Atari 2600 set up for people to play. -I passed out a trivia contest when people arrived and had them turn it in when they finished and gave out a prize for the best one. -I told people to come dressed in 80's clothes or as 80's personalities. -I decorated with posters and old LP and 45 rpm covers that I got cheap at a used record shop. -I had various 80's videos and movie clips playing on a big screen TV at the party room I rented (it was the clubhouse for the apartment complex that a friend lived at). -Bought party favors and decorations at a store that specialized in 80's stuff (favorite was Alf centerpieces at the tables). -Played all 80's music (since I DJ'd, I had plenty of material and could set up lights and a fog machine). Some suggestions for your own party: Offer beer. If you charge a small cover charge (say $1-2) people will be happy to pay it if they know they can drink as much as they want). Also, don't save the great 80's dance music hits until later in the night - play them in the middle or early because people are more likely to stay on the dance floor for a mediocre song after a good one than come out to the dance floor for a mediocre one. Food is a nice bonus too. And most of all, don't take yourself too seriously - have fun!!
Submitted by: Dave "80's Guy" Hayslip
We have an 80's themed wedding reception. In the bathrooms for the girls i'm having crimpers and aqua net hair spray. Another fun thing is as our guest book little cutouts of vinyl records will have the guests names on it and the guest turns it over and puts their favorite thing about hte 80's or their most embarrassing moment or who their favorite guy or girl(famous) in the 80's was.
Submitted by: Gina
I am planning a costume ball for the spring of 2004, and the theme this year is the 80's. Several hundred people are coming. We decided to create our own 80's mix mp3 cd instead of hiring a Dj, so that we can be sure to have the perfect mix. Then, we are are camoflauging the mp3 player/stereo equipment by creating a fake stage with large plywood cut-outs of a "typically 80's" band - 4 or 5 hyper-colored rockers with crazy-shaped guitars, etc. we are spattering Tide on the columns of the room (it's being held in a large architecture work studio, so it can get dirty) and shining black lights on them. We are also getting a projector and shining 80's movies on 2 large white walls. We will also have a cool neon light show. It should be "radical".
Submitted by: Amanda
Just one to add so not to say what's already here... 80's celebrity heads as icebreakers - print up tags of 80s famous people, actors, singers, bands, tv shows, etc...and give one to each guest. they then have to guess who they have on their back by asking yes/no questions to other people. great way to get people who don't know each other to mingle!!
Submitted by: Bonnie
In keeping with the TV theme song games, I think it would be fun to have guests sing the lyrics to popular 80's TV shows. To make it into a contest, a rule could be that the first person to get it right, wins a prize. This is on my list for a Dec. '04 80's party.
Submitted by: Raquel D.
We are having an 80's Halloween party. I am keeping the Halloween decor to a minimum. We make an 80's shrine on our fire place to all things 80's.Movie posters, music tapes, clothes, shoes, candy, concert photos etc. Everyone is bringing a photo of themselves from the 80's and we have to guess who is who
Submitted by: Penny
I am having an eighties party and wanted to share some of our ideas. First, I sent out an invite with photos I got off the internet from a ton of eighties entertainment like Dynasty, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson and more. Everyone is dressing in eighties of course too. In the entryway of my house, I decorated a table with eighties albums I still had including LIke a Virgin, Pac Man Fever and Olivia Newton John's Physical. I also put down a magic eight ball, jelly braclets, rubik's cube and 45's from New Edition, Jack Wagner and Do they know it's Christmas. Then I found a Ronald Reagan calendar, a Breakfast Club poster and Lost boys poster and hung then around. I found additional 45's from the eighties I hung from the light fixtures. Some of the prizes we are using for the trivia games we are playing include pop rocks, aqua net and a mix cd I made of multiple 80s hits. I have also hung up signs of course bright green and pink with messages around the house like who shot JR, Psyche!, I feel the need...the need for speed etc. !!
Submitted by: Sofia
I had an 80's party a couple years ago and did a lot of what the others have posted, but the other thing I incorporated was a PowerPoint presentation that played on a projector for the entire night with the events, inventions, top 5 songs, news, etc. of anything that happened during the 80's. Each event was put in the year in which it took place (from 1980 - 1989) and each slide was dedicated to one event with some info, if needed. It was so much fun to research the 80's and to see how far we have come!! Although it took MANY hours to complete, it was great entertainment for all!!
Submitted by: Misty
The 80s was not only rock n roll. Hip hop became really popular in the 80s. The guys could dress up in the Adidas jumpsuits and big gold chains and sunglasses. Girls in the baggy overalls, big buckle belt and gold jewelry.
Submitted by: Elisha Stewart
Decorate for the 80s. Top movies, albums, TV shows, and other things pertaining to. Get posters of these. Get a good DJ that knows his 80s music. I have all the great 80s songs even the obscured stuff that didn't get radio play. Have an 80s dress up.
Submitted by: Brian
OK... heres a game for the more "athletic" crowd. it's a relay race, what you have to do is fill a dresser/clothes trunk/etc. with 80s-ish clothes... on all of the clothes you tape an 80s trivia question on it. you divide up into 2 or 3 teams (depending on how many 80s clothes you have) then you line up and one person at a time runs to the dresser/trunk/etc. if they answer the trivia question correctly, then they get to wear the 80s piece of clothing... than they run back and slap the next persons hand, and they run to the dresser/etc. and it so on and so on... once there is a team with 2 or 3 items of clothing on, they win!
Submitted by: Paige B.
We had an 80's themed Halloween party. Very cool! Everyone came dresses as their favorite 80's singer/band member. I dressed as Cyndi Lauper (the unmatched outfit, orange hair, rainbow eyeshadow, bracelets up the arm and hightops), my friend came as Lita Ford, my husband did a perfect Nigel from Spinal Tap. It was a blast! We played 80's music all night and remembered the past like it was yesterday! I also broke out the 80's game and we just sat around asking each other the trivia questions. So much fun!
Submitted by: Adrienne Rigney
we had an 80's party for work. we all dressed, had a d.j. play 80's music and played 80' trivia pursuit....way to hard. my team was -6. we also gave prizes for best dressed ( auqua net and banana clips and autobiogrphy of ronald reagan, winning team got buttons that said mullets rock my face off, top gun dvd, and the person not dressed got a sticker that said f*** the80's. also the person who answered the most questions got a 80's cd...tons of fun.
Submitted by: kimberly parker
We had this huge costume box, with tons of embarrassing 80s clothes to wear. So when one of my friends showed up without 80's clothes on, we'd make them wear something from the box.
Submitted by: hannaona
I have a jukebox that's loaded with 80's music, so with the 10 of us we had the music going as each of us dressed up as close to our favorite 80's stars as we could get. The clothes, the hair, you name it. It was the theme. The decor of my basement was done up 100% 80's style where I had movie posters and album covers plastered everywhere. If you don't have the actual prints, simply pluck off what you can find off the internet, print them and if you can, frame them. So with the 80's theme going, music and all and we're all dressed up, we had a blast. The food and drink mainly consisted of pizza, chips, pop and liquor. We had a blast.
Submitted by: Ryshtyan
Our 80's party is next month and thus far we've got a DeLorean that'll be parked in the driveway, gull-wing doors open with Miami Vice soundtrack blaring. Once you get past the 6'5" Samoan bouncer manning the velvet ropes, you'll be greeted by a Billy Idol look-alike offering you a liquid cocaine test-tube shot. We've got an 80's cover band by the name of the Reaganomics and a black & white checkered dance floor. We also found this killer lounge furniture with black & white geometric shapes all over it. On the TV behind the bar, all the old 80's music videos will be playing (think Video Killed the Radio Star). We're dressing like Miami Vice and since we're having casino tables, the raffle winner gets a briefcase full of fresh bills (real cash) and what appears to be 2 kilos of cocaine. Not a low-budget party but you only turn 40 once.
Submitted by: Todd
And I forgot to mention, when the band takes a break, we've got break dancers performing.
Submitted by: Todd
We just had a 80's birthday party for my niece who turned 30yr.I made pac man sugar cookies,and Rubik cube cookies,I made a poster of her from the 80's and hung 80's posters all around the house.We had rented and played 80's music.We had a break dancing contest,Rubik cube contest,80's trivia-guess the lines to famous 80's movies.I made her a 80's journal and had everyone sign it.I made a big poster of all her family and her from the 80's and put 80's slang on the poster as well as pac man cutouts.I made my own Rubik cube out of a box and paper .It was a hit,also a pac man box,as a decoration piece.You can also write 80's slang on paper plates and put 80's candy on them as decoration center pieces.Some of the candy we bought were,big league chew gum,pop rocks,lemon heads,fun dip and blow pops.I also had candy wrappers made up of 80's theme,and gave out them as prizes.The party was real fun,I LOVE THE 80's.
Submitted by: sheila owens
Couple event for val.
Submitted by: fafoo oliver
80's theme
Submitted by: bel
Alternative Sounds Inc. Presents ... S U B C U L T U R E Night Club (@ Molly Blooms II) every Friday Night in Amityville, Long Island, NY ... DJ CODY: Spins The Best Of: 80's New Wave Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Electro, Goth & More... Check us out at My space: Doors open at 10 FREE ADMISSION Till 11PM Danny, Hahn & Paulie at the BAR: Malibu Drink Specials all night $2.00 Bud & Bud Lights till Midnight $2.00 Soco & Lime Subculture 140 Merrick Rd Amityville, NY (On The Corner of Rt.110) For More Info: Call 516-679-9655 or E-Mail:
Submitted by: SPIZEII
To plan an 80's night you can also go to our agency (international artists) which is specialized in organizing the best 80's nights ever. With classic names like Bonnie Tyler, Bad Boys Blue and Sister Sledge you're guaranteed to have a fabulous evening! Check out our website and contact us!
Submitted by: Jelle Brandsma
We had an eighties night last night. We all smoked pot and ate acid. Come to think of it we have eighties nights every week.
Submitted by: stoner
I'm having an 80's party 4 my 12th b-day (yes I know I was born in the 90's but, hey, who cares?) We're dressing up in neon legwarmers, excessive makeup (of course) and stuff like that. I'm planning to put posters of the A-Team, Madonna, Olivia Newton-John etc. around my lounge. We've got Blues Brothers CDs, loads of vinyl. Should b cool...
Submitted by: Ellie
I'm trying to come up with a name for a radio special playing nothing but 80s music. I'm looking for suggestions.
Submitted by: DJ Madman
I'm having an 80's party 4 my 12th b-day (yes I know I was born in the 90's but, hey, who cares?) We're dressing up in neon legwarmers, excessive makeup (of course) and stuff like that. I'm planning to put posters of the A-Team, Madonna, Olivia Newton-John etc. around my lounge. We've got Blues Brothers CDs, loads of vinyl. Should b cool...
Submitted by: Ellie
If you want a great 80's revival, contact me at I do 80's parties every single week at Yianni's night club here in Tallahassee Fl. I am the DJ you want for your 80's party!I can help you plan your event and host it, I have a huge library of music, and I specialize in 80's to today!
Submitted by: James Jenkins
We just had my b day party at Graham Central Station in Tempe Arizona. We have an 80's room, totally awesome! Anyway we all dressed up, had a fun cake, wore crazy hair, and blew bubbles. My invitations were made up using the image from the Valley Girl movie, and another from Miami Vice. If you live here in Arizona, GCS is the best place to have your 80's night!
Submitted by: tatiana
We had an 80's party for my birthday. We had classic Atari & Midway games on my PS2. I printed pix of 80's icons & autographed them w/ their famous sayings. We also did the Pepsi Challenge. I was playing 80's movies on my t.v. & Retro Cd's on my stereo. I decorated the front yard w/ tape I pulled out of a cassette (you never see that stuff anymore). We also bought 80's candy. We used Magic 8 Balls & Rubik's Cubes for game prizes. Everyone had a radical time.
Submitted by: Craig
Show We Are the World on a big screen and have people pick cards that have all those singing in the song...when they sing, you must drink if you are holding that person's card. People who pick Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Bruce Springsteen are in trouble!
Submitted by: Sam Malone
We did an 80's theme for our high school Sadie Hawkin's Dance. We called it 80's Sadies. And decked out the place with 80's decor and had everyone dress in 80's. We also had 80's music and games.
Submitted by: Zombie
My daughter is turning 16, but she doesn't want the traditional sweet 16 party. she want's an 80's theme party instead. what can I do to make this come true for her?
Submitted by: lily
I am having an 80's party this month Jan 2009 and we are planning to have a drawing to sing karaoke some popular 80's hits. We will do about 20 or so during some part of the night.
Submitted by: Chris
My best friend is having an 80s party for her 40th, it's down to me to decorate the hall and I wanted to get some posters. any idea where I can get some that are not to expensive.. help!!!
Submitted by: sam croxson
I'm planning an 80's party for my sweet sixteen. I was born in 1993, but I'm still an awesome 80's fan. We're gonna play trivial pursuit: 80's edition, and have a Rubik's cube contest, and watch pretty in pink and sixteen candles. I'm decorating with yellow, pink, and blue balloons of course, everyone has to dress 80's.
Submitted by: lauren
I actually purchased an authentic 1981 Ms.Pacman machine for our 80's party. It was a huge hit. You can check out photos from our event at
Submitted by: Chris Cotten
I had a big TV screen and we had pacman and Dig Dug set up on it.
Submitted by: SBugher
Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart â€" yes, 1980â€TMs. I recently found their music at, Magazines, Readerâ€TMs Digest. Yes, RD carries music CDs. This shopping website for the best and many fantastic coupons, deals, clearances, free shipping etc This website carries many brands, which are reminiscent of the 80's - e.g. Coke, Jelly Belly candy, Reader's Digest magazines etc.
Submitted by: 1980's gal
Do You Have an Idea to Share?

Please check out the 80s Night idea submission page.