80s Party Ideas for a Sweet 16

wax bottle candy image by Hilma Anderson from Fotolia.com

Hosting a Sweet 16 birthday party, 80s style, can be easy, fun and entertaining. The 1980s are remembered for their music, funky candy, neon clothes and crazy hair. Having a 80s party is not too difficult for the host or the guests. Use these party ideas and activities to create your very own 80s Sweet 16 party.


Make sure to tell your guests it is a 80s party and have them dress in 80s attire. Guests should wear bright-colored clothes with chunky geometric shapes, side ponytails bound up with big, bright scrunchies and glitter make-up. Other accessories to use include fingerless gloves, leg warmers, bright sunglasses and neon headbands. Hair should be curled, teased and sprayed in place 80s style. Makeup should be bold and colorful. Have a contest for the best 80s outfit and award them with a temporary tattoo.


Play 80s music by pop artists like Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Culture Club and Michael Jackson to get the party started. Have the music playing as guests arrive to set the 80s mood. Create a playlist of funny 80s songs, like classics by "Weird Al" Yankovic, that guests will sing along to and laugh with. Later in the evening play 80s dance music that guests will fast dance (most songs by Wham! and Culture Club) and slow dance (find artists like Lionel Richie and Hall and Oates) to.


Decorate with neon balloons, metallic Mylar balloons and bright steamers. Find paper goods that say "80s Party" or are imprinted with iconic 80s characters like Strawberry Shortcake or Care Bears. Glow- in-the-dark cups will add to the 80s feel. For small table decorations and party favors use travel-size Aquanet hair spray, Rubik’s cubes, candy necklaces and cassette tapes (these can be purchased from most thrift stores).


Play 80s teen movies on television sets with the volume muted for added 80s visual ambiance. Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Dirty Dancing and Flashdance are all good choices. Sixteen Candles is a natural choice for your Sweet 16 party. Pretty in Pink is another must.


Place bowls of popular 80s candy on tables and around decorations. Use candy such as Pop Rocks, Chiclets, Charleston Chew, Nerds and Wax Bottles. Give these candies away as party favors, also.

Dance Contest

Hold a dance contest using 80s music. Allocate 15 minutes of party time for people to work on their performances. Each contestant will pick their favorite 80s song to perform to. One at a time, each guest will perform. Adult judges will rate the performance and attire from 1 to 10. Add up all scores and see which contestant received the highest score. Award that person a gift bag full of 80s gifts such as wide belts, bright-colored headbands, 80s-style candy and jelly bracelets.