On the eve of Fall’s official beginning, I invited family to join me for a Halloween-themed dinner party. I wanted to give the event an ’80s twist. My brother and I were kids in the ’80s and remember many a Halloween season spent watching cartoons, buying neon props for our costumes, and reveling in the wonder of the decade’s best junk food.
But this party was not just for those who were kids in the ’80s. A general old school vibe was the mood-setting goal–a vibe that would allow guests of all ages to get back in touch with the Halloween magic of their childhood years. The party’s inspiration? These amazing vintage ’80s puffy stickers, which I ordered online from eBay store Handstamped Magic. The store has a huge selection of rare ’80s stickers. I was immediately drawn to the vivid hues of these finds and ordered three sheets (third sheet not pictured). Pure Halloween bliss! We’ll see more of these stickers later in the post…
Planning an ’80s-themed Halloween party is a very do-able endeavor. After all, the “look at me” decade is a perfect match for the “look at me” holiday. Decorations of excess abound. There are also plenty of options for those wanting to make a few nods to the ’80s without having the decade take over. Here are some tips for adding ’80s touches to a Halloween party or gathering:
1. Play up the bright colors
Since two of Halloween’s top colors are orange and green, a plethora of vivid merchandise options makes adding bright details very possible. Go neon, or at the very least, opt for hot orange rather than pumpkin orange. While the hanging paper fan decorations to the left are not particularly ’80s, we liked their nostalgic look (it helped set the mood for the “old school” theme), as well as their bright orange color.
2. Add some sparkle
Fall decorations often take on a rustic look, which can be ideal at times. But perhaps not the most ideal for an ’80s party, unless ’80s country is your thing. It’s amazing how adding just a bit of glittering detail can transform an arrangement from country to retro. As shown in the picture below and at the top of this post, placing a heap of tinsel on cake stands before topping them with pumpkins adds ’80s-style interest.
3. Incorporate a classic jack-o-lantern pail into your centerpiece
As shown in the picture to the right, nothing is more old-school than a traditional jack-o-lantern pail in electric orange. Not only does it pack a powerful punch, but it can add colorful dimension to a grouping, especially when combined with peach-toned pumpkins.
4. Opt for angular accents rather than frilly details
I often combine Art Deco serving pieces with vintage ’80s tableware. Why? Both feature motifs rich in angles and bold geometry. This ’80s tendency toward the angular inspired our choice of the spider web tablecloth (right, purchased at Party City).
5. Offer ’80s-style party favors
You may remember our ’80s Party Ideas post, which featured Rubik’s cube and coil bracelet favors. Now that the ’80s are back, major retail outlets such as Target and Party City offer affordable items from our favorite decade. Another great option: vintage stickers, which we’ll get to in a minute!
6. Provide ’80s-themed cuisine
For my Halloween dinner party, I kept the main meal simple and served a Fall stew of wine-braised lentils and veggies. Lots of bang for the buck! I also offered a mixed greens salad with dried cherries and ’80s yuppie touches (goat cheese, pumpkin seeds). By making the main dish manageable, I had energy to devote to the appetizer and dessert, which took center stage. First, I hollowed out bite-sized yellow sweet tomatoes, then filled with them goat cheese and chives. Shaving a small piece off the bottom of each tomato before stuffing allows it to stand up on the plate. Covering serving pieces with garnishes and ornamentation was an ’80s foodie habit, so I let the pepper make a statement against the white plate:
For the dessert, I bought brownies and lemon bars from the Central Market bakery, cut them into bite-sized squares, then topped each with a toothpick decoration. Here’s where the fabulous ’80s-stickers came in…
The stickers really popped against bright paper in shades of orange and green. Some sticker enthusiasts may cringe at the thought of peeling the stickers from their original backing, but I just couldn’t resist… Plus, I just slipped the decorations off the toothpicks when the night was over, and I can reuse them, so the stickers live on! You may also choose to offer them to guests as favors. A special thank-you to Rai from Handstamped Magic for making this blog post possible–I’m so glad I found your awesome eBay store!
As a side note, I offered guests blood punch, made from blood orange soda and pure pomegranate juice. Tasty and fun! For more ’80s edible suggestions, see our post on ’80s Party Ideas. And don’t forget the fun of having ’80s junk food at the ready. Sources like Candy Direct offer sweet treats from the decade of decadence. Big League Chew, anyone?
7. Add some ’80s audio-visual fun
Don’t hesitate to put the TV on “mute” and pop in some favorite DVDs. Gremlins, Critters, or other spooky flicks you may have enjoyed in your younger years will contribute a visual dimension to the evening. Then there’s the music… Choose well-loved ’80s Halloween standards like the organ-infused “Rock Lobster” by the B-52’s, or select music based on the mood it sets. Staring at the Sea: The Singles by The Cure creates a wonderfully other-worldly atmosphere!
Here’s to a howling good Halloween season!