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How to throw an 80s holiday party



It's not too late to plan a holiday or New Year's party that your friends will worship you for forever. (Well, as long as they're 80s fans. Otherwise, you may be mocked for all eternity.) Here's a quick guide:


TIMING: Personally, I think an 80s party works best for New Year's. But you're the boss. In any case, choose a date now and send out invites, because it takes people a while to acquire props for this sort of occasion.

Greatestamericanherocostume DRESS CODE: Oh sure, you can ask people to dress in an 80s motif, but chances are they'll need some help with suggestions.

Want something super-easy: Go as a punk-rocker. Tear up an old t-shirt, buy a short-length of chain to make into a necklace, use some gel or hairspray to get your hair standing up. Don't do what my friend Whitney back in high school did: He stuck a safety pin through his cheek for added authenticity and spent the next day in the emergency room.

Other ideas: A vintage concert shirt is easy ; so is dressing as an 80s TV character (Magnum P.I., Capt. Stubing, Greatest American Hero); your favorite musician (Madonna, Pat Benatar); a film icon ("Lloyd Dobler" from Say Anything or "Alex" from Flashdance.) Try for more ideas.

Are you kidding me? Please tell me you don't need help on this. Any 80sfalco music retailer offers dozens of compilation CDs from the Golden Decade. But if you're looking for some can't-lose singles that might be harder to find, here you go: Rock Lobster (B-52s); Strip (Adam Ant); Our House (Madness); She's Tight (Cheap Trick); Valley Girl (Frank Zappa); Rock Me Amadeus (Falco); Kiss Me Deadly (Lita Ford); King of Wishful Thinking (Go West); Don't Cry (Asia). And of course, use "1985" by Bowling for Soup. (But under no circumstances can you use "1999" by Prince.) Take the best tunes of the night, burn them onto CDs and hand them out as party favors when people leave.

Pudding_pops THE FOOD: Food is hard. Sushi was big, but that's a challenging party food. Other possibilities: Microwave popcorn, pudding pops, nachos, fried cheese sticks, Skittles, Reece's Pieces, Pop Rocks and pizza rolls. At least the 80s were cheap.

THE DRINKS: Ah, now you're talking, Amigo. Wine coolers are a natural. But so areMilwaukeebest rum-and-Cokes, Kamikazees, Grasshoppers, Fuzzy Navels, Long Island Ice Tea, Milwaukee's Best or Keystone beer and more. For the non-drinkers, try Capri-Sun, Fresca, Tab and Jolt Cola. Want to get a little crazier? Spike a watermelon, if you can find one, with some grain alcohol, if you really want to kick it old school.

Boardgame THE ENTERTAINMENT: Aside from the music, put your favorite 80s movies on TVs around the house. Just turn the sound down. There are two great board games in stores to help: Trivial Pursuit's Totally 80s edition and VH1's I Love the 80s board game. Too tame? Try a lip-sync competition or find a friend with a karaoke machine. Too lame? Well, then maybe an 80s party isn't for you!

Now that you're all set, remember the final step: Invite the gang from Stuck in the 80s over for the party! We need to get out more!

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:20pm]


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