Let’s embark on a nostalgia-filled adventure back in time! Decade days make for super fun themed parties where guests can immerse themselves in the culture and style of their favorite era.
Decade days are often celebrated at retirement homes, community centers, schools, or just with a group of friends. They provide an excellent opportunity to time travel back to the good ol’ days through music, activities, food, and of course the iconic fashion.
In this post, I’ll provide everything you need to know to throw a rockin’ decade day bash. I’ll suggest ideas for decor, food, music, activities and more to make your celebration totally era-appropriate. Pick a decade that resonates, then get ready to take a strut down memory lane!
Table of Contents
What is a Decade Day?
A decade day is a themed event where people come dressed up in clothing, hairstyles, accessories and vibes representing iconic fashion from different decades in history. Popular decades celebrated include:
- 1950s – Poodle skirts, varsity jackets, white t-shirts
- 1960s – Hippie culture, tie dye, miniskirts, go-go boots
- 1970s – Disco, bell bottoms, platform shoes
- 1980s – Big hair, neon, leg warmers, shoulder pads
- 1990s – Grunge, crop tops, chokers, jelly shoes
Decade days are all about appreciating how trends and culture shift over time. They let you time travel back to experience the magic of decades you didn’t actually get to live through!
How to Celebrate Decade Day
Once you choose a decade, here are elements to incorporate for an immersive decade day celebration:
Dress Up – Dress head to toe in iconic fashion from that decade. Get friends in on the fun too with coordinated group costumes.
Music – Make era-appropriate playlists featuring top hits and artists from that time.
Décor – Use props and decorations that reflect pop culture, trends and catchphrases of the decade.
Food – Serve popular snacks and treats invented or trendy during that time. Look up recipes for throwback appetizers, main dishes, cocktails and desserts.
Photobooth – Set up a photo station with decade-themed props and signage for capturing your time warp experience. Have polaroids as takeaway souvenirs.
Trivia – Test your knowledge by playing trivia games about major news events, inventions or pop culture icons from the decade. Give out themed prizes.
Activities – Plan interactive elements from the era like learning classic dances, playing period-appropriate games, or doing arts and crafts.
Diving fully into everything about culture and zeitgeist of different decades makes the theme day experience even more fun. Now let’s get into the outfit inspiration!
How to Choose What Decade to Theme Your Party Around
Nostalgia makes decade days so fun, so go with a special era close to your heart. Consider:
- A decade you actually lived through and have fond memories of
- A decade you wish you could have experienced
- The decade your parents or grandparents talk about most fondly
- An era known for music you love like jazz, rock, or pop
- A decade with fashion you’re drawn to like fabulous 50s fashion
- A memorable time period associated with your venue like an art deco ballroom from the 20s
Match the decade theme to the guest list’s interests for the best energy. Now let’s dive into how to decorate…
Decade Party Decor Ideas to Set the Mood
Transport guests back in time as soon as they walk in with era-appropriate party decor:
- Make DIY photo booths with decade props like rotary phones, boomboxes, or cigarettes and martini glasses for a moody vibe
- Incorporate fabric, colors, and graphic art popular in that decade – art deco, psychedelic, neon, grunge posters
- Display vinyl records as wall decor
- Drape gossamer fabrics, fringe, beads, or DISCO balls for texture and light effects
- Project backdrop videos like black and white films, erupting volcanos, or Windows 95 screen savers!
- Show movie or TV trailers on screens from top decade hits or newsreels
Get inspired by researching design and aesthetic trends that define various eras then recreate the vibe. Next up…eras don’t come to life without the perfect soundtrack.
Decade Day Ideas for Music Playlist
Set the mood immediately by playing hit tunes popular during the decade. Some themed playlists to consider…
50s – Doo-wop, early rock n’ roll, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Etta James, Johnny Cash, Billie Holiday
60s – The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, The Supremes, The Mamas & the Papas
70s – Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Donna Summer, Earth Wind & Fire, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Queen, Pink Floyd
80s – Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Whitney Houston, Guns N Roses, AC/DC, New Wave, New Edition
90s – Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Tupac, Biggie, Mariah Carey, Destiny’s Child, Dr. Dre, Boyz II Men, Alanis Morissette
Tailor music to the specific decade. Ask guests to make requests ahead of time too so you can populate playlists with their favorites.
Food Ideas to Fuel the Nostalgia
Make sure the menu fits the era to keep guests fed…and in another time!
50s – Pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs, meatloaf, chicken pot pie, tuna melts, milkshakes, banana splits
60s – Fondue, cheese balls, veggie trays, scalloped potatoes, sloppy joes, tater tot casserole, banana cream pie
70s – Pasta salad, bacon wrapped water chestnuts, chicken cordon bleu, shrimp cocktails, cheese dips, lemon bars
80s – Nachos, chicken wings, pigs in a blanket, finger sandwiches, jello molds, ice cream floats, duck-and-cover cake
90s – Bagel pizzas, caprese skewers, mac and cheese bites, funeral potatoes, dirt pudding, fudge stripe cookies
Focus on finger foods, bite-sized appetizers, and desserts that guests can easily nosh on between activities.
Decade Party Activity Ideas
Get guests off their feet and engaging with interactive decade events:
- Host a twist dance contest during 50s tunes
- Reenact the moon landing or Woodstock during 60s sets
- Do roller disco during 70s funk numbers
- Hold lip sync battles to cheesy 80s hits
- Play 90s board games like electronic Bop It!
- Run TV game show recreations like retro Family Feud
- Give folk trivia on major events and figures from the era
- Hand out iconic toys and games like Lite Brites, Rubik’s Cubes or Tamagotchis for nostalgic play
Make it a blast from the past by reliving iconic moments and trends from the decade. This ain’t no boring history lecture!
How to Decorate Your Decade Party Venue
Choose a venue that complements the decade and go to town decorating:
50s – Strings of twinkle lights, glittery tinsel, framed black-and-white photos, vintage ads, checkered patterns, retro malt shop replicas
60s – Paper flowers, beaded curtains, psychedelic concert posters, peace sign cut-outs, colored light gels, bean bag chairs, retro TVs
70s – Disco balls, neon lighting, lava lamps, Edison string lights, fake indoor trees and plants, macrame, bean bag chairs
80s – Glow sticks, neon everything, rubber bracelets, geometric shapes, graffiti art, balloons, streamers, boom box props
90s – Plaid tablecloths, cd towers, floppy discs, plastic palms, inflatable furniture, hanging wicker chairs, retro arcade games
Raid antique shops, bulk party supply stores, and your own collections to deck out your venue in era-specific flair.
1950s Outfit Ideas for Decade Day
For a blast back to the 1950s with Grease vibes, get decked out in these fun 1950s threads:
- Poodle skirt with cinched cardigan and bobby socks
- Pegged capris with boat neck top and scarf
- Pencil skirt with button-down and cat eye glasses
- Circle poodle skirt with cotton blouse and varsity jacket
- Flared midi skirt with tie top and kitten heels
- Saddle shoes, bobby socks and a felt poodle skirt with a blouse
- Black leather jacket with slicked hair and white t-shirt
- Letterman cardigan with slacks and sneakers
- Puffed short sleeve button-down with high-waisted trousers
- Striped short sleeve tee with cuffed jeans and chucks
Go for innocent flirty vibes with a hint of rebellion! Pop in a poodle skirt or grease up that quiff.
1960s Decade Day Outfits
For hippie and mod 60s flair, embrace flower power and free spirits with:
- Shift dress with knee high boots
- Hip hugger bellbottoms with crop top
- Tie dye maxi dress and flower crown
- Go-go dress with tall boots
- Drop waist mini dress with tights and headscarf
- Fringed suede jacket with ripped skinny jeans
- Graphic tee, ripped jeans, choker necklace and long hair
- Nehru collar shirt with bellbottom trousers
- Tie dye shirt with white low top Converse
- Military jacket with turtleneck and cigarette pants
Channel your inner flower child or Austin Powers nostalgia with bold prints, psychedelic colors, minimalist mod shapes and statement accessories.
1970s Decade Day Outfit Inspiration
The 1970s overflow with funky fashions. Get down with disco fever and bell bottoms with:
- Sequin jumpsuit with tall platform heels
- High waisted flares with crop halter top
- Wrap dress with clogs
- Jumpsuit with bell sleeves and espadrilles
- Patterned button-down with wide lapel blazer
- Graphic tee with bushy sideburns and bell bottoms
- Striped polo with slim cut trousers
- All white three-piece leisure suit with gold medallion
Don’t be afraid to pile on the patterns, prints, ruffles, bell bottoms, and let those spirits soar for a far out 70s event.
1980s Decade Day Costumes
The 1980s delivered iconic eclectic style. Get physical with:
- Neon leg warmers, leotard and headband
- Oversized blouse with leggings and pumps
- Acid wash high-rise jeans with crop sweatshirt
- Sequin minidress with mega perm hair
- Bomber jacket with track pants and high tops
- Skinny tie with pastel button-down and baggie suit
- Acid wash denim jacket with band tee and mullet hair
- Crop top sweatshirt and joggers
pile on the neons, spandex, fanny packs, high top sneakers and go big on hair and accessories for that authentic 80s energy.
1990s Decade Day Costume Ideas
The 1990s delivered grunge vibes and iconic trends. Get edgy with:
- Slip dress over t-shirt with choker
- Baggy overalls with crop top
- High slit maxi dress and chunky platforms
- Band t-shirt with plaid skirt & combat boots
- Flannel over band tee with ripped jeans
- Baggy hoodie and sweatpants with beanie
- Graphic tee with leather jacket
- Oversized blazer and turtleneck
Go moody, minimalist, and edgy with the 90s aesthetic by mixing grunge and hip hop influences. Oversize everything and don’t forget the choker necklaces.
More Tips for Pulling Off Your Decade Day Look
Beyond the outfit, really commit with hair, makeup, attitudes and music to complete your transformation:
Do Your Research – Dig into pop culture imagery from the decade for inspiration to capture iconic looks authentically.
Go All Out With Hair + Makeup – Use curled or feathered hairstyles, blue eyeshadow, bold lips, crimped hair – whatever beauty looks define the decade.
Adopt Era Attitudes + Dance Moves – Get into character! Research major world events and culture of the decade to portray the attitude and mannerisms.
Create A Character – Come up with a fun backstory of who you are in this era. Let your imagination run wild!
Make It A Group Thing – Get a crew together to do a themed group costume that lets everyone join in on the time travel experience.
Capture Content For Posterity – Document your decade day fun with photo shoots, videos and social shares.
Throwing yourself fully into the decade through performance makes the experience even more rich and memorable.
Tips For Putting Together Decade Outfits
While costume shops will have some decade specific outfit pieces, here are tips for sourcing era-appropriate attire:
- Check vintage and secondhand clothing stores for authentic retro fashion finds.
- Scope out online vintage shops like Etsy that let you search by decade.
- Look through your grandparents’ or parents’ old yearbooks and photos for vintage style inspiration.
- See if any family members have saved fashion items or accessories from the decade that you could borrow.
- Hit up local thrift stores which often have older clothing styles.
- Repurpose items you already own into decade fashions – cut, crop, layer, accessorize!
With some creative styling and DIY, you can pull together era-appropriate looks without spending a ton. It’s also fun to recreate iconic outfits from movies set in different decades. Now go unleash your inner time traveler!
Seeing everyone commit to costumes makes the environment more immersive and fun. With our Vintage Halloween Decorations, unleash your spooky side and make this a righteous decade soiree. And don’t forget to check out our Epic Bachelorette Party Ideas to add even more fun. Let’s get this nostalgia party started!
Frequently Asked Decade Party Questions
Here are some common questions to consider for your throwback party:
What’s the ideal number of guests for a decade party?
20-50 guests is a good size. Enough people to energize the event but still intimate enough for mingling and participating.
What if I can’t decide on just one decade to dress up as?
Go for an eclectic mash-up look pulling together your favorite elements from different eras!
Can I host decade days for multiple eras?
Absolutely! Host a “Decades Dance Party” moving from one era to the next over different portions of the evening.
What elements are most critical for an immersive decade experience?
The music, attire, decor, activities and food matching the era are key to transporting guests back in time.
Fire up the flux capacitor – it’s time to party! With the right theme, music, fashion and activities, your decade day bash promises a truly tubular time. Guests will leave feeling like they just stepped out of a time machine. Let’s hope no one gets stuck in the past (or future)!