Put down your smartphone and take a trip back in time with the ultimate '80s party. The tail end of the Cold War era gave the world new wave, arcades, neon fashion and fads galore — all things that make for a totally awesome party. While this theme works well as a nostalgia-filled party for adults, it can be adjusted for a kids party by omitting the alcohol.
Make simple '80s-themed invitations by folding yellow card stock in half and tracing the top of a pint glass so that it overlaps the folded edge just slightly. Cut out the circles and snip a triangle piece out of the side opposite from the fold to make a Pac-Man shape. Write the party information on the inside — don't forget to tell your guests to dress in their best '80s style.
Decorate the party room with '80s posters, albums and pink and black streamers. Make centerpieces out of puzzle cubes by placing four cubes around a short black vase filled with '80s fake flowers: neon-colored geometric foam shapes glued to floral wire.
Set up a TV in the party room to show '80s music videos and movies, and for playing vintage video games. If you don't have an old Atari or Nintendo console, look for a plug-and-play game that features '80s arcade games such as Pac-Man, Asteroids, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong.
Play nothing but '80s music during the party. If you have an old stereo with a record and tape layer, play vintage recordings. Or download your favorite '80s tunes on iTunes or Amazon to make your own digital "mix tape." Some of the most popular '80s artists included Michael Jackson, Madonna, The Police and Duran Duran — but don't forget the one-hit wonders. If you use a digital music streaming service, look for an '80s channel to save time.
Serve wine coolers and white zinfandel wine, as well as beer and soft drinks. For mixed drinks, make "ecto-cooler" out of yellow citrus soda such as Mountain Dew or Mello Yello, green limeade and vodka.
Serve ranch-flavored tortilla chips, pizza and taco salad. Serve gourmet ice cream for dessert. Instead of a cake, make a giant chocolate chip cookie using a round pizza pan instead of a cookie sheet. Decorate the cookie with icing.
Give out party favors during the party, including mini puzzle cubes, headband sunglasses, lacy hair bows, stickers, rubber bracelets, single sparkly gloves, candy that pops or fizzes and CD copies of your '80s party mix.
Delaware-based Daisy Cuinn has been writing professionally since 1997, when she became the features editor for her local biweekly music newspaper. She has been a staff writer and contributor to online and offline magazines, including "What It Is!," Celebrations.com and Slashfood. Cuinn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.
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