The Most Essential 80s Party Props You Need for Your 80s-Themed Party

Last Updated on November 3, 2023 by Project Party

Planning an 80s-themed bash? Get ready to dive into a world of neon lights, cassette tapes, and more with our guide to essential ’80s party props! These vibrant decorations will whisk your guests back to the era of leg warmers, headbands, and unforgettable parties. So, let’s get started and party like it’s 1989!

The 80s is a decade cherished for its music, fashion, and iconic social gatherings. If you’re preparing to host a party inspired by this remarkable era, you’ll need to curate an array of ’80s party props to authentically recreate the ambience. Let’s explore how you can transform your venue into a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

5 Key Concepts to Achieve an Authentic 80s Vibe with ’80s Party Props

If you’re planning a party with an 80s theme, it’s important to hit certain key concepts in your styling to truly capture the spirit of this vibrant decade. Here are five essential elements to consider when choosing your ’80s party props:

  • Embrace Vibrant Colors and Bold Patterns: The 80s were characterized by the use of bright neon colours and daring patterns. Incorporating these elements in your party props, from tablecloths to balloons, can instantly transport your guests back to this dynamic era.
  • Highlight Iconic Pop Culture References: The 80s was a golden age for pop culture, with memorable music, movies, TV shows, and video games. ’80s party props that reference these icons, like Pac-Man-themed decorations or Rubik’s Cube centrepieces, can inject a sense of nostalgia into your event.
  • Incorporate Retro Fashion Elements: Fashion in the 80s had a distinct style, marked by items like leg warmers, headbands, and oversized sunglasses. Encouraging guests to dress in 80s attire or using these items as props can add authenticity to your theme.
  • Play Classic 80s Music: Nothing sets the mood for an 80s party better than the era’s iconic tunes. Create a playlist featuring top hits from the decade, or better yet, display vinyl records or cassette tapes as part of your ’80s party props.
  • Feature Vintage Technology: The 80s witnessed several technological breakthroughs. Showcasing vintage tech items like boomboxes, VHS tapes, or classic video game consoles among your ’80s party props can further highlight the unique charm of this decade.
  • Incorporate Fitness and Dance Trends: The 80s was the era of aerobics, jazzercise, and breakdancing. You can incorporate this into your party by setting up an ’80s-inspired dance floor with props like exercise balls, vintage workout posters, and neon-coloured sweatbands. You could even host a fun ’80s dance-off or aerobics session to get your guests moving and grooving in true ’80s style!

Remember, the goal is to recreate the fun and excitement of the 80s. With the right ’80s party props and attention to detail, your guests are sure to enjoy a trip down memory lane! Here are some of the most essential 80s party props you’ll need to make your party a success:

1. Cassette Tapes

Cassette tapes are a nostalgic nod to the 80s, an era when people used them to store music and create personalized mix tapes. For your party, these iconic items can serve as unique decorations or party favours. String them up as streamers or place them around tables to set the mood. Even better, create a playlist of 80s hits on cassette tapes and gift them to your guests. This retro touch will transport everyone back to the times of Walkmans and boom boxes, making your event an authentic trip down memory lane.

A cassette tape unravelled
In the 80s, cassette tapes were a pivotal part of music culture, allowing individuals to record, share and enjoy music with unprecedented portability and convenience.

2. Neon Lights

Neon lights were a significant part of the 80s aesthetic, illuminating homes, businesses, and cars with their bright, bold colours. Incorporate this trend into your party by using neon lights to spell out popular 80s phrases like “Party On!” or “Totally Rad!”. You can also string them around your party space or use them as table decorations. The vibrant glow from these lights will electrify your venue, creating an atmosphere that’s reminiscent of the lively 80s nightlife. Plus, the neon lights will serve as a fantastic backdrop for photos, ensuring your guests have memorable keepsakes from your event.

3. Disco Balls

Disco balls are synonymous with the dance floors and nightclubs of the 70s and 80s. Their reflective surfaces create a festive atmosphere that’s perfect for any party. Hang disco balls from the ceiling or position them on tables to add some sparkle to your venue. You could even use miniature ones as party favours! As they spin and reflect light around the room, they’ll create a dynamic visual effect that will energize your guests and keep the party lively. Pair these disco balls with some classic 80s dance hits, and you’ll have everyone grooving the night away, just like they would have in the heyday of disco.

4. Fluro Clothes

Fluro clothing is a definitive element of 80s fashion, known for its vibrant colours and bold styles. Encourage your guests to embrace this trend by dressing up in fluro for the party. You could also provide an 80s dress-up box filled with neon accessories for guests to explore. Set up a photo booth complete with 80s-themed props, ensuring everyone has a chance to capture their retro outfits. These photos will serve as delightful mementos from your themed party. The sight of your guests dressed in bright, flashy clothes will not only enhance the authenticity of your theme but also make your party a visually exciting experience.

A lady wearing fluro yellow clothes
Bright and fluro colours were popular in the 80s as they embodied the youthful, cheerful, and bold attitude of the decade, fitting perfectly with the new and different fashion trends of the time.

5. Pop Culture Posters

The 80s were a vibrant era for movies, music, and celebrities, and pop culture posters can bring this excitement to your party. Display posters of iconic 80s films or bands around your venue to evoke nostalgia among your guests. You could even create a collage of 80s images as a centrepiece. These visual elements will not only enhance the authenticity of your theme but also serve as great conversation starters. Guests can bond over shared memories of the past, rekindling their love for the decade. Posters featuring beloved 80s icons will remind everyone of the cultural milestones that made the era so memorable.

6. Vinyl Records

Vinyl records were an essential part of the 80s music scene. They can add a touch of vintage charm to your party decor. Hang records on the walls or use them as unique table centrepieces to evoke the feel of a classic record store. You could also create a DIY photo booth backdrop using vinyl records, providing a striking spot for guests to take pictures. If you still have a working turntable, spin some 80s classics to transport your guests back in time. The sight and sound of vinyl records spinning will remind everyone of the unique pleasure of listening to music the old-fashioned way, making your party an unforgettable experience.

7. 80s Movie Marathon

The 80s produced many iconic films, from exciting action flicks to heartwarming rom-coms. Hosting an 80s movie marathon during your party can provide entertainment and spark nostalgic conversations among your guests. Set up a viewing area with comfortable seating and project some of the decade’s biggest hits onto a screen. Provide popcorn and other classic movie snacks for an authentic cinema experience. The sight of beloved 80s characters and the sound of iconic movie lines will transport your guests back in time, making your party a truly immersive experience. Plus, the shared experience of watching these classics will bring your guests closer together, creating a sense of community and camaraderie.

8. Boom Boxes

Boom boxes were a quintessential accessory in the 80s, used for playing music on the go. They can add a touch of retro cool to your party decor. Display them prominently around your venue or use them as a prop in your photo booth. You could even use a real boom box to play a mixtape of 80s hits, immersing your guests in the sounds of the decade. The sight of these iconic devices will instantly transport everyone back to the times of breakdancing and street parties. Plus, they’ll make a great conversation piece, sparking stories about the days when boom boxes were the ultimate symbol of cool.

9. Rubix Cubes

Rubix cubes are synonymous with the 80s, a time when people spent hours trying to solve these colourful puzzles. Incorporate them into your party by using them as table decorations or party favours. You could even host a Rubix cube competition and reward the fastest solver with a prize. This interactive activity will not only entertain your guests but also stimulate their minds, providing a fun challenge. The bright colours of the Rubix cubes will add a pop of 80s flair to your decor, enhancing the visual appeal of your venue. Plus, they’ll serve as a nostalgic reminder of the simple pleasures of the past, making your party a memorable experience for all.

10. Skateboards and Roller Skates

Skateboards and roller skates were popular modes of transportation and leisure in the 80s. Incorporate this trend into your party by hosting a skating competition. Provide safety gear and award prizes for the best tricks to make it a fun and safe activity for everyone. You could also display vintage skateboards or roller skates around your venue as decorations. They’ll add an authentic touch to your decor, reminding everyone of the carefree days of cruising down the streets. The sight of these retro items will evoke fond memories among your guests, creating a nostalgic atmosphere. Plus, the interactive element of a skating competition will keep your guests entertained, making your party a hit.

11. Balloons

Balloons are a classic party decoration, and in the 80s, they were often in bright, over-the-top colours. Decorate your venue with balloons in neon hues to recreate the vibrant aesthetic of the decade. Hang them from the ceiling or create balloon arches for a visually striking effect. You could also plan a balloon drop at the end of the night for a grand finale. The sight of colourful balloons filling the room will add a festive touch to your party, making it a joyous celebration. Plus, they’ll serve as a delightful backdrop for photos, ensuring your guests have beautiful keepsakes from your event.

12. Leg Warmers and Headbands

Leg warmers and headbands were fashion staples in the 80s, often seen in aerobics classes and dance studios. Encourage your guests to embrace this trend by wearing them to the party. You could also provide them as party favors or include them in your dress-up box. They’ll add a fun and playful element to your party attire, making everyone feel like they’ve stepped into a time machine. Plus, they’ll make for great photo props, adding a touch of 80s glamour to your pictures. The sight of your guests dressed in these retro accessories will not only enhance the authenticity of your theme but also create a lively and upbeat atmosphere, just like an 80s dance party.

13. Pac-Man Decorations

Pac-Man was one of the most popular arcade games in the 80s, and incorporating it into your party decor can add a fun and nostalgic touch. Use Pac-Man-themed decorations like wall decals or table centrepieces to create an 80s arcade atmosphere. You could even serve food inspired by the game, such as cookies or cupcakes shaped like Pac-Man and the ghosts. For an interactive element, set up a Pac-Man gaming station where guests can relive their childhood memories. The sight of these iconic characters will evoke fond memories among your guests, making them feel like they’ve stepped into an 80s arcade. Plus, the bright colours of Pac-Man will add a vibrant touch to your decor, enhancing the visual appeal of your venue.

14. Mixtape Invitations

In the 80s, mixtapes were a popular way to share music with friends. Pay homage to this trend by sending out mixtape invitations for your party. Design your invitations to look like cassette tapes and include a playlist of 80s hits on the back for a unique touch. You could even create a digital mixtape and send it along with the invitation for your guests to enjoy. This creative idea will not only set the tone for your party but also serve as a memorable keepsake for your guests. Plus, it’ll give them a taste of the retro fun they can expect at your party, building anticipation and excitement.

15. Video Games

The 80s marked the golden age of arcade games, providing endless entertainment for kids and adults alike. Recreate this classic pastime at your party by setting up a retro gaming station. Equip it with popular 80s games like Pac-Man or Space Invaders to give your guests a dose of nostalgia. You could even project a giant game onto a wall for everyone to play. This interactive element will not only entertain your guests but also serve as an icebreaker, encouraging them to bond over shared memories. Plus, the pixelated graphics of 80s video games will add a unique visual element to your decor, further enhancing the authenticity of your theme.

A pixel-based Game Over sign
80s video games and paraphernalia, with their iconic pixelated graphics and vibrant colours, can serve as fantastic and easy decorations like posters, adding a nostalgic and fun touch to any space.

16. Retro Candy Buffet

Many of us have fond memories of enjoying our favourite candies as kids in the 80s. Recreate this sweet nostalgia by setting up a retro candy buffet at your party. Stock it with popular 80s candies like Nerds, Pop Rocks, and Bubble Tape for your guests to indulge in. You could even provide small bags or boxes for them to take some candy home as party favours. The sight and taste of these retro sweets will evoke fond memories among your guests, adding a sweet touch to your party. Plus, the bright colours and playful shapes of these candies will add a fun and whimsical touch to your decor, enhancing the visual appeal of your venue.

Creating the Ultimate 80s Vibe: A Guide to Selecting ’80s Party Props

In conclusion, balloons can add a whimsical and fun element to your ’80s-themed party. Consider suspending them around your disco ball for a festive feel or planning a dramatic balloon drop to cap off the evening.

Here’s a recap of our top tips for incorporating ’80s party props into your event:

  • Blend various ’80s party props to establish a comprehensive and authentic ’80s ambience.
  • Aim to source ’80s party props that align with the vibrant and iconic colour palette of the decade.
  • Remember to enjoy the process and not take yourself too seriously. After all, it’s a party designed to bring joy and create memories!

We would love to hear from you! If you have any additional tips or ideas for styling an ’80s party using ’80s party props, please share them in the comments section below!