Totally Tubular: A 1980s Throwback 30th Birthday

This year was a big birthday for me -- the big 3 - 0. I spent a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to celebrate. A big trip? A fancy dinner out? That all sounded lovely, but I kept coming back to the idea of doing a fun theme party! After talking with some friends, they convinced me it was a must do! 

As an '80s baby, I quickly settled on the idea of a throwback party! I am so excited to share all of the fun DIY details, decor, and party printables.


The ‘80s were full of bright colors, neons, and loud prints. This had to be the color pallet of the party. In addition to the colors, I wanted to find ways to incorporate some of the vintage technology of the times like cassette tapes, VHS tapes, and classic '80s arcade games. Between thrift stores and Oriental Trading, I had just about everything I needed to transform our house right back to 1987. Pairing it all with printables from the oh-so-talented Meghan of Elva M. Design made it party perfection!

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Food Table

To create the backdrop behind the table, I used a mix of neon paper fans. I love using paper fans for an easy backdrop. I also used them for my Thanksgiving Leftover Station. Using painter’s tape makes them easy to add to any wall without leaving any damage. To jazz up the fans, I added one of these '80s party cutouts and some fun phrases that Meghan designed.


Now, onto the food! Party food is always a must, but anytime I can tie it to the theme makes it even more fun! 

The key feature of the table was my DIY '80s movie VHS cupcake stand. To put this together, you'll need a variety of VHS tapes from your local thrift store and some hot glue. You can get 10 of them for only $1.99 at Goodwill. I was able to find a ton of actual '80s movies, but any VHS tapes will do.


Because I had some era-appropriate movies, I kept the covers on some. Using the hot glue gun and the help of my amazing mom, I slowly built the stand, layering the tapes one at a time. This was a party hit and the perfect place to display some Funfetti cupcakes.


You might remember Cabbage Patch Kids were all of the rage in the '80s. My mom found my original cabbage patch in our basement and it was the perfect centerpiece for a veggie tray! 


Pacman also made an appearance on the food table in Brie form, with a fun printable sign featuring Lionel Richie.


No '80s party would be complete without a reference to the King of Pop! Keeping with the music theme, my hubby also whipped up some "Chex Mix-ed Tape." It looked so fun with the inflatable boom box.


I went with neon pink and green for paper products, along with some decade appropriate dessert plates and some totally awesome napkins.

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Cocktail Bar

Anyone care for a "Cocktail?" It might be my favorite classic Tom Cruise movie. I loved that I found the soundtrack cassette at Goodwill. Meghan's straw flags on some neon straws and this cute sign were perfect for the bar.


I also used my lightbox and some of the VHS movie covers to dress up a neon fringe banner. 


Meghan's wine bottle labels dressed up our selection of whites and reds!


But, I'm not sure any of that can top Prince aka my hubby serving up his Purple Rain cocktail out of my DIY kool-aid pitcher. I found this pitcher for $3 at Goodwill and used my Cricut machine to cut a vinyl kool-aid man. We served the cocktails in these fun cups.


Candy Bar

The neon fun continued with a fun and bright candy bar! Party guests could fill up their bags and take home a variety of candy that gained popularity in the '80s.


To decorate the bar, I created a DIY cassette tape backdrop. I found the tapes for $.49 a piece at my local Goodwill and spray painted them three neon colors. Then, I added some washi tape accents to some of them to create variety. Finally, I used hot glue to attach them to a black foam board from Dollar Tree. I also added some 1987 balloons from Walmart. You'll also spot one of the fun movie posters I hung throughout the basement. 


To display the candy, I used a variety of clear and colored containers I either had around the house or picked up for a few dollars at Goodwill.  I also used some additional VHS tapes and this mini arcade game centerpiece to add some pizzazz. The candy was all from Dollar Tree, making it super affordable to have a variety of candy. The signs, of course, were part of Meghan's printable package!

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My husband and I love a good photobooth! One of the prized projects for our wedding was the DIY Photobooth station my husband rigged up. It made an appearance at the party with our DIY Pacman backdrop!


We used two plastic black tablecloths, painter's tape, and cardstock to create the characters and dots. The remaining party cutouts made for great props!


And if the backdrop wasn't enough, we used my old Nintendo 64 to power up actual Pacman! Guests had so much fun with it!


I couldn't have asked for a better birthday celebration! Cheers to 30! I am certain it will be totally rad!

A huge thank you to Oriental Trading Company for sponsoring this post. Although I was given free products to create this party, all of my opinions and feelings about their products are 100% my own. I only work with brands that I would recommend to others!