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Planning an '80s Halloween? Fer sure!



Greatestamericanherocostume This is a question we get asked a lot here at Stuck in the '80s: "I'm planning a costume party with an '80s theme. Can you help with costume and party ideas?"

First reaction: "What?!? You don't still dress in parachute pants and overuse Aqua-Net today?" (I run sobbing away in my Jordache jeans and put my REO Speedwagon Hi Infidelity record on the turntable and wail away to the sounds of Kevin Cronin and Take It On the Run. That's right, Kevin. Ease my pain.)

Second reaction: Sure, here are some good costume ideas with some links. (And though Jordache doesn't make my size in jeans, I will indeed listen to some REO during the list-writing. I'm still one of the Tough Guys after all.)

Today we'll tackle costume ideas. I'll get to other party ideas tomorrow.

TV STARS: This is perhaps the easiest route, and shows real devotion to the decade. Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice is easy. A linen jacket, a pastel T-shirt, a two-day beard, loafers. Or just go as Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties with the preppy look, complete with knitted tie. Wanna look a little less lazy? There's always The Greatest American Hero outfit, which can be bought online at sites like Stuck in the '80s co-host Sean Daly is big on wearing a Hawaiian shirt, Detroit Tigers baseball cap and fake 'stache for the Magnum P.I. look. I'm still waiting for someone to bust out an ALF outfit. Oh wait ... here it is!

SPORTS HEROES: I'm a big fan of the '80s tennis star look, which is easily accomplished with a headband, tight white shirt and shorts, white Adidas or Rod Laver shoes and a wooden racket. Same thing with an '80s basketball player -- just find the tight, short shorts and pull those tube socks WAY up. Bonus points for finding retro-jerseys.

Mumfordshirt MOVIE STARS:
This is the easiest one. Axel Foley from Beverly Hills Cop is a no-brainer, once you find the Mumford Phys. Ed Department shirt (easily procured at, which has a slew of shirts worn by stars in our favorite '80s flicks, including Real Genius, Loverboy, Spinal Tap and Meatballs). With Ghostbusters set for a sequel, it's a good time to bust out the overalls and ghoul-fighting proton-pack look. (Again, has it.) And one of these days, when I regain the proper physique, I'm totally going like a Cobra Kai from Karate Kid. "Sweep the leg! Yeah, send him home in a body bag, Johnny!" Oh god, don't let me drink at that party.

Devohat GUITAR HEROES: If you can't come up with an idea here, you're just not trying. Warning: Doing the Madonna thing here is getting a little tiresome, but the Michael Jackson look never gets old. I'm thinking Devo might be a better pick, especially if you can find friends to go as fellow bandmembers. Get really clever and combine movies and music: Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu (rollerskates, legwarmers), Prince in Purple Rain, the guys from Spinal Tap, and -- I can't believe I'm gonna say this but -- the Village People from Can't Stop the Music, which for some reason is playing nonstop lately on pay cable channels.

Leia GO AS A PAIR OR GROUP: Hunter S. Thompson and his lawyer Carl Lazlo from Where the Buffalo Roam was my thing back in 1991 for Tampa's rowdy Guavaween festivities. (We were maced by skinheads shortly after 2 a.m., and they stole my Kennebunkport presidential shot glass -- true story.) There's Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen from Sid & Nancy. Danger Mouse and his loyal sidekick Penfold for you obscure cartoon fans. And if you have a really hot girlfriend you met in Las Vegas, you can always go as Jabba the Hutt and Princess Leia in the metal bikini. Money well, WELL spent.

Feel free to add your costume ideas. And if you have any pics from previous Halloweens, e-mail them to and I'll post them online.

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:39pm]


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