You can't deny the '80s were totally tubular. The barely gone decade has provoked a hotbed of nostalgia, so '80s-themed fetes are the new big thing.
But throwing a totally retro bash doesn't have to require a decade of prep. Take a chill pill: Here's how to make your bash more bodacious than bogus.
Include a snap of yourself from the period. (Embrace the embarrassment; it's not like you were the only one with a fanny pack.) Use neon colors and as much radical slang as possible -- and maybe a shot of your favorite heartthrob from the era.
Click here for more great '80s ideas after the jump.
Encourage costumes, and give guests some ideas: Brat Pack movie tributes, hair bands, toy trends, a Madonna iteration, etc. It's as easy as faking a series of suicides ... (Bonus points to anyone who comes as Big Fun from "Heathers.") Keep some legwarmers on hand for anyone who shows up in civilian clothing.
To paraphrase an '80s classic: Don't you forget about tunes (don't don't don't don't)! Have guests email you requests pre-party or set your online radio to one of the major genres: hair bands, ska, new wave, punk, pop, rap, and Michael Jackson.
'80s food was either cutting edge a la Gordon Gekko or as processed as the "Designing Women"'s hair. If your crowd steers more yuppie (remember Molly Ringwald's lunch in "The Breakfast Club"?), pick-up pre-made goods like sushi, fancy sandwiches and finger foods from your grocery store. For a more casual affair, go with mall-friendly eats: California Raisins, Tab, Orange Julius (or at least Tang), Cool Ranch Doritos, Pop Rocks and fruit-flavored fluff like Gushers and Fruit Roll-Ups. Relabel all the soda and punch with "New Coke."
Play a a few classic DVDs -- John Hughes flicks, "Miami Vice" episodes or Duran Duran videos. Raid your local party store for napkins, cups, streamers and the like in both neon brights and black-and-white checks. Print and post up photos of '80s faves or proudly display any memorabilia, like that ALF doll you can't seem to part with.
Award the best costumes with "trophies" made from cassettes you got at a thrift store and painted gold. Stock up on '80s games like Twister, Rubik's Cubes or Battleship.
Then challenge guests to an '80s trivia challenge with a twist: 99 Red Balloons Pyramid. Nab an inexpensive bag of red balloons, cut out strips of paper and write down various '80s icons, trends, items, etc. to slip in before you inflate balloons. Have party goers pop balloons and act out or describe the item while others guess.
THEN: Andrew McCarthy Whether falling for Molly Ringwald in "Pretty in Pink" or for an inanimate Kim Catrall in "Mannequin," McCarthy was the romantic soul of the '80s. And, as it turns out, the sparks in "Pretty in Pink" were real: Ringwald later confessed to having a serious crush on Andrew during filming.
NOW: Andrew McCarthy After recent stints on "Law & Order Criminal Intent" and "Lipstick Jungle," McCarthy is returning to his roots--playing Lily's father in an episode of "Gossip Girl" set during the '80s. We hear the episode is actually a backdoor pilot for a potential series called "Valley Girls." A TV series set during the '80s and starring Andrew McCarthy? Where do we sign?
THEN: Cary Elwes As "Princess Bride"'s dashing Westley, Elwes melted hearts merely by uttering the word, "Inconceivable." We kid, that was Wallace Shawn. "As you wish" is what Westley said to melt Princess Buttercup's slightly prickly heart. (He was also able to say it while rolling down a hill.)
NOW: Cary Elwes Post-"Bride," Elwes made a career out of basically playing Westley over and over in movies like "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and "Georgia Rule." In 2005, Elwes filed a lawsuit against the makers of "Saw" for not allowing him to share in the colossal profits from that torture-fest. You can soon see him scanned as a 3-D character in "A Christmas Carol" and "The Adventures of Tintin." Even awkward motion-capture Elwes is still pretty darn smooth.
THEN: Chad Allen Allen first came to fame for his role as the young autistic boy Tommy Westphall on "St. Elsewhere." (Turned out the whole series took place in his mind. Which explains all the Howie Mandel antics.) But it was his role opposite crotchety old Wilford Brimley, and a young Shannon Doherty, in "Our House" that scored him a place in "Bop" and "Teen Beat."
NOW: Chad Allen Allen spent a good part of the '90s on the swoony "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," and met with controversy when tabloids outed him in 1996. Since then, he's been a steadfast activist for gay rights, produced and starred in socially relevant projects like 2007's "Save Me" (costarring Angela from 'Who's the Boss" as a crazy Christian!) He recently turned up on the "General Hospital" spin-off "Night Shift," and also auctioned off his underwear for charity. Ladies? Guys? Crazy "Our House" fans?
THEN: C. Thomas Howell Howell first demonstrated his tough guy persona as Ponyboy in "The Outsiders," and then proceeded to milk it for decades in action roles ranging from the sublime ("Red Dawn," "The Hitcher") to the highly forgettable (pretty much everything after "Red Dawn" and "Hitcher").
NOW: C. Thomas Howell C. Thomas continues to be the king of direct-to-DVD action fare, recently starring in his own version of "War of the Worlds" (and directing the sequel, costarring Christopher "Kid" Reid of Kid 'n Play). If you're up late watching a B action movie, chances are C. Thomas Howell is starring in it. He's also on the new show "Southland."
THEN: Fred Savage Just like his TV alter ego's undying love for Winnie Cooper, scores of young girls fell for Savage on his hit series "The Wonder Years." Whether starring in movies like the Nintendo classic "The Wizard," or appearing opposite the Church Lady on "SNL," Savage was one biggest young stars of his day. Though we're still bummed that Kevin and Winnie didn't end up together in the final episode.
THEN: Fred Savage Believe it or not, Savage is still working in kid TV-behind the scenes as a director for shows like "Ned's Declassified" and "Hannah Montana." Recently, he's branched out into comedy, helming episodes of "Ugly Betty" and the cult hit "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia." On the acting front, Savage made a memorable appearance as Number Three in "Austin Powers in Goldmember," and starred in the pilot "Single White Millionaire." TV could really use a good Fred Savage vehicle right about now.
Share your ideas for getting down "me decade"-style or email us pictures from your own bash. And remember -- party on, dudes and dudettes!
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