How to Throw a Retro Party

How to Throw a Retro Party

Everything seems to always come back in style. And that doesn’t just apply to fashion. In case you haven’t noticed, Pac-Man, the original Star Wars, and New Kids on the Block are still as popular today in some crowds as they were decades ago. So, no matter what kind of party you are throwing — birthday, New Year’s Eve, bachelor — your guests will get a kick out of a retro-themed shindig. Here’s how to throw a retro party.

Narrow Down your Theme

Party Theme

Within the retro theme are many sub-themes you can go with. For example, do you want your theme to be from a certain decade? The ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, or ’90s are the most fun and easiest to find decor for. Or do you want to stick with a particular category like retro video games or movies? You might also choose to have something like a hippies theme. Once you’ve picked your theme, you can build your party from there.

Pick your Activities

Try to stick to your theme with everything at the party, including your activities and games. For example, you might look into arcade game rentals for an ’80s party, or a disco ball and dance floor for a ’70s bash. An old-fashioned skating party might also be a fun theme for a party celebrating one of these eras.

Plan your Menu

Plan your menu

Menu-planning can be fun for a retro party. All you have to do is search Pinterest for your favorite recipes in the era you’re celebrating to come up with a whole slew of ideas. For example, food from the ’70s might include fondue, quiche, and Hamburger Helper. An ’80s party might include foods like sloppy joes, pasta salad, or salisbury steak. It’s also the decade Reese’s Pieces were made popular thanks to E.T. And don’t forget to make retro cocktails if you’re serving drinks. Concoctions like Long Island iced tea, spritzers and sidecars were popular back in the day.

Decorate your Space

Decorations from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s generally aren’t too hard to find. But what if you want to take your decor up a notch or if your theme is more specific than the decor you can find? If that’s the case, you can customize most of your decorations. You can order cheap canvas prints online of your guest of honor with his Flock of Seagulls haircut and geometric print shirt. You can also make a lot of your own stuff by combining or modifying old party decor you already have or what you can buy on clearance. Thrift stores are another great place to track down vintage finds.

Pin Down the Entertainment

Pin down the entertainment

Live music is one of the best ways to recreate the feel of a certain era. Local bands are usually reasonably priced and willing to do covers of any bands you’d like. If your space isn’t conducive to a live band, however, do still try to stay in theme with your music. You might even try to track down an old record player to turn some Fleetwood Mac tunes during your ’70s party dinner.

Pick the Venue

Will you have your retro party at your house or another venue? The answer usually depends on the number of guests you plan to invite. But it can also depend on the particular vibe you’re going for. Does your friend, Joe, down the street have a TV room with shag carpet and orange sofas? That might be the place for your ’70s party. Or does your local pizza joint have a rad game room with plenty of space for mingling? That might be the perfect spot for your ’80s party. The point is to stay in character in keeping with the theme down to the smallest details. Make your guests feel like they’ve gone back in time, and they’ll never forget it.


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