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how i threw an 80s party and survived by Kathryn O'Halloran | 1 2 3
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edibles and potables
This is where things get difficult. Everyone has different ideas of what defines ‘80s food, depending on what they grew up eating. Stick to ubiquitous party food like dips and crackers and you can’t go wrong. For extra fun hunt out some of those favorite childhood candy bars and sweets – anything that you remember loving as a kid is fair game. As for potables, the 80s were a decade of decadence. We went for pink champagne in the drinks department.

decorating your digs
The easiest way to give your place a temporary 80s-style makeover is to embrace a cheesy 80s color scheme. Think hot pinks and teals, peach hues and greys. I bought bunches of cheap apricot-coloured carnations to set the ‘80s tone. Cover the tables in pink or apricot fabric, then coordinate with grey accessories – you’ll have an instant ‘80s corporate look.

Can’t stomach all that pastel? Another fun decorating idea is to get your hands on a pile of cheap white sheets or fabric, some paint and a few big paintbrushes. Go to town with slashes and tic-tac-toes. Then hang the fabric, use it for tablecloths or turn it into a Boy George inspired outfit.

As with the costume-hunting, thrift stores and your own basement/closet will prove your best sources for inspiration. Old record covers pinned to the walls are a fun way to invoke the 80s or, if you can get them, old movie posters. For a large party you could even do different rooms in different ‘80s themes – the ‘Pretty in Pink’ living room, the Goth bathroom, the Culture Club patio, ‘The Breakfast Club’ kitchen.

o o o

Of course everyone remembers the ‘80s differently, depending on where you lived, how old you were at the time, and your willingness back then to throw yourself into the tackiness of the times. And one of the best things about hosting an 80s bash is that it gives you an excuse to wax nostalgic about your youth – to dig out those old 45s that have been gathering dust in your parents’ basement, to rent some of those movies you loved so much back in the day, to rifle through old pictures and laugh at how you used to look. Seems there’s nothing for it but to party like it’s 1989.


Kathryn O'Halloran fights the urge to strip wallpaper in her rented home in Melbourne, Australia. Her online life is lived at Jazzy Hands.

more articles by Kathryn O'Halloran: 
decorating scents | a room of my own 
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come as you aren't | got costume? 

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