Add an ‘80s theme party to your entertaining – and you’ll be guaranteed an epic night for an epic decade.
Big permed hair, neon leg warmers, Cyndi Lauper…
Rubik’s Cubes, Top Gun, the original Transformers toys…
The A-Team, Knight Rider, Miami Vice, breakdancing…
…are some of the many things associated with the 80s.
In particular, the music and over-the-top fashion.
It’s apt that the 1980s are back, in modern times – with sneakers, mullets and skinny jeans in vogue.
Give old friends and new the chance to time travel back to the ’80s with this theme party idea. In 6 simple steps.
Step 1, decide on your ’80s theme party invites
Let everyone know you’re all leaving behind the 2010s, by setting the scene with the following cards:
• You in the 1980s — Scan a photo of you or your friends, to be the backdrop of ’80s theme party invite. Print and glue onto white card.
• Spirit of the Times — What was your ’80s like? Write down 5-10 things you loved about the decade – then create a collage using images from the web. Ask your local print shop to make the collage into an invite.
Let everyone know they must come in fancy dress.
Also ask people to bring a photo of themselves from the ’80s. This will be used in a Guess the Photo game later on.
Step 2, let everyone know it’s a fancy dress night
Dressing up 1980s style for this ’80s theme party is A LOT OF FUN – and a must. You can’t throw an 80s party without this.
Think leg warmers in neon colors, fingerless gloves (a la Michael Jackson), jumpsuits, stonewashed denim, mini skirts, mullets…
Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran, and Grace Jones were all the fashion icons at the time. As were many TV shows and movies.
Take inspiration from ’80s music videos. Robert Palmer’s famous video ‘Addicted to Love’ is the reason why the girls on the top are dressed that way.
To help your guests find what they need, don’t forget to enclose a list of thrift shops and costume hire in your invitations.
Step 3, decide on your ’80s theme party decorations
Everyone’s got their own take of the ’80s, so you may choose to decorate according your own experience. Alternatively, you may want to evoke a general feel of the decade, with these decoration ideas.
Dress your tabletops and walls in neon colors
Play music from the ’80s
Cover your walls in posters in ’80s icons. Think Bananarama, Prince, Beverly Hills Cop
Create an ’80s memorabilia table. Ask friends to bring their favorite 80s thing, be it photos, toys, fashion accessories. Be protective of what’s on display, especially if an item is rare (like, say, an original Care Bear)
Scatter Rubik’s cubes. These make great conversation starters.
Step 4, decide on your ’80s theme party activities
Get ’80s Dancing — Make your ’80s dancefloor the centerpiece of your party. If you’ve got the budget, bring a DJ, otherwise you can create your own playlists.
Keep everyone on their feet and cheering to familiar songs, by including tracks such as these:
Choose an Italian party theme – and you’re choosing a night of great food, high energy and noise.
Italians love life, to talk, joke and laugh, usually over a big meal and wine (like in the photo here). They’re also very welcoming, as my own travels in Italy can attest, with many a party with complete strangers.
By throwing this Italian theme party, you’re offering your friends the chance to taste a bit of Italy.
Italian party theme invites
You can opt for an Italian flag invitation – but why not try these creative ideas:
The Face of Italy
You’ll need several blank postcards, glue, scissors. Make a list of famous Italians, e.g. Gianni Versace, Sophia Loren, Da Vinci. Find their faces on the web, print, cut out and glue to the card.
If you’re inviting 20 people and have the time, you could create 20 individual cards.
To save time, create only 4, in this case, and have your local print shop do copies.
Create your own holiday postcard, as a collage of images from the web. Icons can include buildings (the Leaning Tower of Pisa) to people (Luciano Pavarotti). On the backs of your invites, use Italian in your invitation wording, like:
“Ciao a Tutti" — Hello everyone
“Benvenuti alla mia festa" — Welcome to my party
“Cosa ti piace fare festa?" — Do you love to party?
Alternatively, just send your invites in Italian wording, with your party details (in English) on the back.
Italian party theme decorations
Hang up a map of Italy. Pepper your walls with interesting country facts, like the ones listed here.
Pin the Italian flag to your ceiling.
Go overboard on the color scheme, with balloons, table ornaments and streamers in green, white and orange.
Also hang up banners filled with famous Italian sayings. Examples I love include:
“Amore è cieco" — Love is blind
“Parla bene, ma parla poco" — Speak well, but speak little
“Belle parole non pascon i gatti" — Fine words don’t feed cats
Place bowls of olives on the main table, for finger food and table color. Complete with a vase of cut flowers. Add classical music and opera in the background.
If you’re partying outside, reproduce everything above, with dining around a long wooden table.
Drape twinkling lights in the bushes, for when the dusk sets in.
Italian party theme heart and soul
Seriously, there’s so much to choose from. And with regional variations, the food on its own can provide endless Italian party themes.
Whatever you decide to go with, the food is traditionally served in the following order:
Antipasti (aka appetizers), plus Italian cheeses and cold cuts;
Primi piatti (first main), either soup, pasta or pasta dish like lasagna;
Secondi piatti (second main), usually a meat dish;
Then dessert, like fruit, pastries, tiramisu.
Keep bread, wine and water available and flowing throughout your meal.
Alternatively, if a sitdown meal ain’t your thing, buffet it. Organize your dishes so they follow the above order. Label each one, so people have an idea of what they’re enjoying.
Pepper your Italian theme party with a few games, to help everyone bond as well as digest from all the food.
Drop in a few icebreaker questions first, to warm people up.
Before playing, come up with a list of famous Italians, from alive to dead, entertainment to politics. Cut the list into strips and jumble in a jar. Each player mimes the famous person for everyone to guess. They can also use “rhymes with" and “sounds like".
Know Your Italians?
This time, make picture cards of famous Italians, downloading their mugshots from the web. Look for photos that are not too recent.
Hang up your mugshots, each one with a number next to it. Guests write down their guesses during the party. The person with the most correct wins.
Learn the Language of Love… in Italian
Learn how to connect to Italian culture with a simple language lesson. Start out with the basics/greetings, then move onto a few Italian love phrases. Always fun to try and who knows where they’ll lead. Try these:
“Facciamo l’amore” — let’s make love
“Ti penso sempre” — I’m always thinking about you
“Sono dipendente dei tuoi baci” — I’m addicted to your kisses
Dance the Tarantella
Shake off the food and get everyone moving, by teaching them this folk dance:
Italian party favors
End your Italian theme party, with a few foodie favors, like:
Small bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar
A jar of colorful pasta
A bottle of Italian wine
A slice of Torta Claudia each (an Italian layer cake).
So if there’s a Claire, she’s now a Constance. A Luke? He’s now a Lucian
Make sure you add the new name to that person’s invitation.
Victorian Tea Party Details — As well their Victorian name, add party time, date, venue and contact info to your invites. Got guests with dietary needs? Ask them to ring you.
Step 2, decide on Victorian fancy dress
This might be a daytime party, but that’s no excuse to have a bit of fun with dressing up, Victorian style.
For the ladies – think bonnets, ankle-length skirts and corsets
For the gents – Think neckties, waistcoats and top hats
Moustaches, side burns and beards were also in vogue for guys back then.
Step 3, plan food and decor for your Victorian tea party ideas
Create a relaxed atmosphere in your party room, by moving the tables and chairs around. To encourage mingling, arrange your seats in a circle, with serving tables to one side.
A Bit of Sparkle — Hang up fairy lights to give your room a sparkle, like sugar cubes
Serving Tables — Set up two tables, both in a white tablecloth. Use doilies as place mats
The tea table – Arrange a teapot, sugar, lemon, milk and a pitcher of hot water. Also include cups, saucers and teaspoons, napkins, and your box of teas
The food table – Stock this with scones (with jam and cream), muffins and cucumber sandwiches
Ask a friend or two to man the tables, if partying with 10+ people. That way, you can host, while your friends can sort out drinks and replenish the food
A Spot of Victorian Reading — Second-hand bookshops and flea markets are your best bet for finding Victorian novels.
Place them in a reading area or just on display. Try:
Our Mutual Friends – Charles Dickens
Vanity Fair – William Thackeray
Silas Marner – George Eliot
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
The Sounds of Victoriana — Play a selection of soundtracks from movies set in the Victorian times – for example, Oliver! The Musical and Mrs Brown.
Step 4, games for your Victorian tea party ideas
No Victorian tea party is complete without Victorian parlor games. I LOVE these games, as none need props.
Although the Victorians invented them for Christmas, you can play them any time of the year.
Throw a Smile — Select one player to be “it". They’re also the only person allowed to smile. Everyone else? Keep a straight face. The “smiler" now tries to do everything they can to get someone else to smile. As soon as someone does, they become the “it". The player who holds their straight face the longest wins.
Lookabout — Show everyone a small object quickly, then ask them to leave the room. While gone, hide the object. Now everyone must try and find it. When they do, they must immediately go to the center of the room, sit down and say nothing. The last person to spot the object loses.
The Sculptor — Nominate a person to be your sculptor, while everyone else stands still. The sculptor now moves between players, putting them into difficult poses. Players must maintain their pose without laughing, moving or breaking it. Anyone who does is knocked out. Last person standing wins.
Watch the Victorian times in Action — From Hell, Around the World in 80 Days and Great Expectations are all movies set in Victorian London. Play these in the background or watch together after your parlor games.
Learn to Speak Victorian — I love introducing friends to period slang. Teach yours to speak the Victorian way with a trivia quiz. Here’s a taster:
A. What are lamps?
B. I’m buzzing, which means I’m doing what?
C. A crusher is a what?
Answers: A. 3. Eyes / B. 2. Stealing / C. 4. Policeman
Add these movie theme party ideas to your entertaining – and you’ve got a homemade movie theater idea on your hands.
With Netflix, Lovefilm, instant movie releases a few short months after showing in theaters, having movies at our fingertips is a joy.
And watching them with your mates is even better!
With these movie theme party ideas, we’ll help you transform a night in front of the box into your very own fancy movie theater event. In only 7 simple steps.
Let’s get started.
Step 1 – movie theme party ideas for your attendee list
Decide on how many people. The more people you invite, the more seating and larger viewing room you will need.
How many people also affects other factors – food, snacks, how many movies to show.
And how you choose the movies. Will you already decide what to show in advance? Or will it be a group vote? More than 10 people can make group voting harder, so watch out.
Step 2 – movie theme party ideas for your theme
Movie theme relates to the genre of movie you’re showing. You can use these as a cue for how you decorate.
Take a glance at these examples:
Movie theme party based on cities, e.g. London (Sliding Doors), Paris (Amelie)
Old black & whites, e.g. Buster Keaton
An animated movies night – and from different countries, too
Movies about overcoming the odds, e.g. Patch Adams, Field of Dreams
A kung-fu night
All the Star Trek movies. A Star Trek versus Star Wars night?
Movies by a specific director or actor
Movies based on books, plays or comics
How many movies you watch will depend on how many hours your party will run for. So choose wisely.
If you’ve got favorites you’re dying for everyone to see, make these the first 2-3 movies you watch (in case you run out of time).
Step 3 – movie theme party ideas for invitations
Once you’ve decided your movies and guest list, start inviting your friends. A way to invite people is by creating your own movie ticket.
Admit One Invitations — Do a web search for an ‘Admit One’ image. Once found, print and glue to white card, writing your party details on the flipside.
Then ask your local color copier shop to create copies of this double-sized invite. Ask guests to bring their invites on the night, to be “let in”.
Step 4 – movie theme party ideas for decorations
Decorating your movie party has endless potential.
You can create a movie theater and ask guests treat it as a night out at a real one.
(Or you can theme it, based on your movie theme – e.g. a Harry Potter night).
Treat your guests to a movie theater vibe, complete with box office and candy counter.
Comfortable watching — With your TV the star of the night, make sure people can see it, by arranging your seats in a horseshoe.
Unless your TV screen is gigantic, you may need to project your movie on a larger screen. Hanging up a white tablecloth is the cheap way to do this; using a plain white wall is another option.
Box office — Make this a separate room (like in the kitchen), where guests “purchase" their movie tickets, by exchanging their original ‘Admit One’ invite.
Hang a banner that says ‘box office’, made from construction paper and marker pen.
Cardboard usher — Hire a lifesized cardboard cutout of an usher to greet guests as they arrive. Add one or two cutouts of movie stars behind curtains or outside your toilet, for fun.
Create a candy counter — Set up a table for drinks, candy jars and savory snacks. Use small brown paper bags for guests to carry their snacks. Include a napkin in each bag.
Keep your movie room dark — Turn off all the room lights – but leave a string of fairy lights around the room exit.
Hang up posters of your favorite movies or stars along your walls.
Step 5 – movie theme party ideas for games
During intervals between movies, give everyone the opportunity to stretch their legs (and refill their drinks and food) with a few games.
Who Am I — Write out the names of movie stars and tape one onto the back of each guest. Guests now wander around the room, working out who they are by asking only Yes/no questions, like “Am I alive? Am I a singer?”
Movie Trivia Quiz — Make a quiz related to the type of movie you’ve chosen. If your movie was ‘Back to the Future’, the trivia could be: time travel movies, Michael J Fox movies or films from the 1980s.
Step 6 – movie theme party ideas for food
Here are a few food suggestions for a movie theme party:
Hotdogs, hamburgers, chips
Chicken wings, meatballs, quiche
Celery and carrot sticks also good for dips
Potato and vegetable salads
Microwaved popcorn, both sweet and salted
For drinks, think soda and Slush Puppies. Serve these in clean plastic drinking bottles (with lids), to stop anything from spilling in the dark.
Step 7 – movie theme party ideas for favors
A gift voucher to purchase a DVD or discount to see a movie
Fresh popcorn (mix up salt with cheese with sweet, or in separate boxes)
A drawstring bag of candy and jelly beans
A CD compilation of movie theme songs – like the ‘Jaws’ opening music or “My Heart Will Go On” from the 1997 movie ‘Titanic’.