Retro Party Ideas

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This page is all about a Retro party theme. There are other fantastic party theme ideas.

There is a free printable invite, easy to do invite ideas, decoration ideas, food and drink ideas, games, party ideas and favors. 

Retro Party Ideas - Invitations

The style of invitations can be any of the great retro images:

  • VW Bugs, Peace Mobiles, Minis with flower designs.

  • Rockers with leather jackets, white t-shirts, jeans, and greased hair.

  • Hippies, with long hair, beads, suede vests, flowers, tie dye, halter tops, bell bottoms, peace signs

  • Hippie style sunglasses make a great shape

  • Mods, with scooters, parkas and suits

  • Platform shoes, go go boots

  • Sergeant Pepper clothing

  • Disco, big hair, make up, disco lights, strobe lights, latex, disco balls, and great dancing.

  • Smiley faces

  • Flower Power

Homemade Invitations

Retro parties can be amazing. The invitations can set the scene.You can design the invitations with a great tie die background for example. 


Come to the Peace camp (venue) for a graduation party at (time/date).
Wear peace loving clothing!
RSVP (details)

Come to the Rockin graduation party.
Mods and Rockers only!
Venue (details)
RSVP (details)

Tie die night
Come and celebrate at the cool graduation party.
Wear long hair, tie die and beads
Venue (details)
RSVP (details)

(Disco style tickets)
Admit One to the High School 1980's disco graduation party (venue).
Disco Kings and queens
Doors Open at (time/date)
RSVP (details)

Celebrate Graduation in 1960's style.
Cool 1960's cats only!
Venue (details)
RSVP (details)

College (name) Hippie Graduation party is at (venue) on (time/date)
Put on your flower power clothes and come and make peace with the college.
Peace lovers only!
RSVP (details)

The Rolling Stones (graduates) are playing at the Graduation Party at (venue) on (time/date)
Hear the world's greatest rock n roll band live!
Retro gear only!
RSVP (details)

The invitations can be shaped as sunglasses, flowers, or even attached to smiley face balloons.

Clip art For Retro Party Ideas

The simplest way to complete retro party ideas invitations is to use clip art. 

retro party ideas
retro party ideas
  • Copy and Paste the Retro graduation clip art image that you would like to use into your word document. Before you paste make sure your cursor is in the location where you want the clip art placed

  • Click on the Retro image and arrows will appear on the corners. Use these arrows to stretch the image to the desired size.

  • Then I simply added wordart at the top of the page for a Retro title and added the Retro party details in plain text underneath the graduation clip art.

Free printable

Here is a Retro example. Feel free to right-click your mouse over it and save it to a folder somewhere. You can then print as many as you need.

retro party invite

Lots more detailed instructions on my graduation clip art page.

Photo Retro Party Ideas Invitations

Of course you could also add a Retro photo to your Retro invitation. Simply arrange a good quality Retro photograph and scan it onto your computer. A photo of the graduate dressed as a Rocker, Mod, Hippie or Disco dancer.
You could use photo editing software to change the picture dimensions to the size you need. Simply print it onto paper with the invitation wording on the other side.

Retro Party Ideas - Invitations

retro party ideas
retro party ideas

There are just so many retro costumes like the Halter Ruffle Top  and the Hippie Kit , which you can make your self or easily buy. The party may just be retro or you may decide to make it 1960's, 1970's or 1980's. I prefer the idea of making it just one decade.

Some costume ideas are:

  • Hippies with flowers, long hair, beads, suede vests, bell bottoms, and sandals.

  • Beatles style Mods with mod hair, mod girls, go go boots, also Sergeant Pepper outfits.

  • Costumes like Elvis jumpsuits, Saturday Night fever white suits

  • Costumes from a TV show like 'I Dream Of Jeannie'.

  • Pop icon black, blond and red wigs

  • Soda girl

  • Punk rockers with leather jackets, torn clothing, safety pins and spiky hair.

  • Rockers with leather jackets, t-shirts and jeans.

  • Disco divas with bracelets, disco fever costumes, , men with side burns, or even a 70's detective.

  • 80's Rock Stars

  • 80s black lace gloves, mullet wigs, Madonna Material Girls, and lots of 80's glam.

  • John Lennon hippie look

  • Madonna 80's look with layered mesh and lace clothing

  • Miami Vice style with pastel colored clothing, turned up sleeves and loafers

  • Leg warmers, Converse sneakers

  • Big wigs, platform shoes, big mustaches

  • Halter tops, tube tops, bell bottoms, fringed suede vests, tie dye, crochet clothing and spandex.

  • Vinyl records.

  • Psychedelic fedora hat

This massive retailer, Buycostumes, has lots of costumes. 

Retro Party Ideas - Decorations

retro party ideas

You can create an awesome retro venue for any decade you choose. Each of the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's has distinctive styles. All of them can make a great party theme. Set up the party with a These Are the Times Kit. 


The entrance to your party can set the scene in a thrilling way for guests. Build up a retro world at your home.

  • A retro style banner announcing the era and the graduation party.

  • Park a retro car in your driveway like a VW Beetle or Cadillac for example.

  • Decorate with large Peace signs

  • Large flowers like sunflowers.

  • A retro style photo stand-in to photo everyone as they arrive.

  • Peace Love Party Standee

Scene Setters

  • Pictures of movie stars and singers. Elvis, Jane Fonda, Raquel Welch, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Sean Connery, Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Steve McQueen, Madonna, Duran Duran, Wham and Cyndi Lauper

  • Photo collages of Marylin Munro, President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and The Beatles.

  • Dance floor set up as a retro floor with a disco mirror ball. Sprinkle sparkle powder on it.

  • Banners with the decade on them and perhaps disco balls

  • Murals with the graduate in retro pose plus hippies and peace signs.

  • Large peace sign with lighting if required.

  • Love nor War posters.

  • Have lots of newspapers and magazines of the period. The newspapers can illustrate important news stories of the time. The magazines can illustrate fashions, cars, homes and interior design.

  • If you can display televisions, cars, furniture, clothing, appliances, music players, album covers and family photos from the time.

  • Giant flowers which could be real and fake.

  • Also you could display pictures of TV shows and movies.

  • Black and white geometric patterns for a 60's party.

More Decorating Ideas

  • Balloons, hung in bunches. You could even tied them with ribbon and hang them from the ceiling. Use some smiley face , disco balloons, flowers and polka dot balloons.

  • Streamers

  • Disco balls, strobe lights, rotating Futura lights, or even just colored light bulbs

  • Gossamers in orange, yellow or lavender draped across the walls.

  • Peace or flower pinatta. 

  • Toy VW bugs and peace mobiles. Also toys and pictures

  • Lots of vinyl records. The covers will give great party decorations.

  • Cocktail parasols and snow glasses

  • Flower pinata

  • Lava lamps

  • You can make huge cardboard flowers, peace signs and butterflies.

  • Tie dye a duvet cover and hang it on the wall for effect.

Decorate Guests

Decorating your guests is great fun!

  • Bandannas, smiley face stickers, sunglasses, flowers, flower stickers, big wigs, mustaches, peace beads, and tie dye t-shirts, and hats.

  • Retro Funtoos

  • Lots of glow sticks and bracelets

Keep a box of guest decorations at the party entrance and hand them out liberally! Also have a make up artist transform guests into 80's icons. 

Table Decorations

Table Decorations include great centerpieces such as a tabletop mirror or flowers. Also retro confetti, disco balls and peace signs. Also:

  • For a 60's party try use a table cloth with a Neon Geometric pattern or Psychedelic look.

  • Use Tie Die Bandannas for napkins and twist Hippie Beads around them for napkin rings.

  • Use a luminous color paint pen to draw patterns on the handles of clear plastic cutlery.

  • Use a polka dot gossamer as a table cover.

Retro Party Ideas - Food and Drink

The simplest way to cater for retro party ideas is to emulate diner and drive in food.

  • Burgers and Veggie Burgers

  • Submarine sandwiches

  • Hot Dogs

  • Onion Rings

  • Fries

  • Pizza

  • Tortilla Wraps

  • Fondues with cheese or chocolate

  • Onion Rings

  • Granola Bars

  • Jello

  • Guacamole

  • Cheese dips

  • Popcorn and movie candy

  • Put out lots of dry snacks, and fruit

  • Ice cream, all kinds of it!

  • Rice Krispies

  • Nerds and Candy Necklaces

For the retro party drinks, lots of sodas, malts, milk shakes and of course Dr Peppers, Kool Aid, Tang and Coca Cola and lots of water to keep the party goers going.

Retro Party Ideas - Cake

The Graduation Cake page gives full details on the recipe, cooking tools, ingredients and cooking times for a great cake. Lots of tips and techniques on making cakes, cake decorating, cupcakes, cap cakes and lots, lots more.

Graduation Cake Decorating Idea

1) Cover the sides of the cake with white frosting.
2) Add some purple, yellow, black, white, and other color food coloring to the frosting and spread it smoothly onto the top of the cake. The color depends on your design. 
3) Now you can make a flower, peace sign, peace beads, VW Bug, Peace Mobile, disco lights, go go boots, and perhaps a tie die t-shirt. Pipe a message on the top of the label – something like “Congrads (name of graduate)".

Retro Party Ideas - Games

Original Electronic Games

Hire a video game system to play old games like Pac-Man, Frogger and Asteroids. They were brilliant at the time and still are fun. 

Pet Rock

The Pet Rock was one of the biggest pop culture fads of the '70s. Have guests create their own pet rocks. This fun activity requires a few colors of tempera paint, some paintbrushes and clean, smooth river rocks. Your guests can also decorate their rocks with familiar 70's icons like smiley faces, colorful flowers and ladybugs. 


Twister is simple, cheap and still great fun. 

Do The Hustle

DO THE HUSTLE – Divide the guests into two equal teams. Create two starting lines with masking tape, and secure two inflatable smileys in place about 10-15 yards away. Line teams up with a disco wardrobe at the starting line. At the signal to begin, the first player on each team quickly dresses up, runs the course, and then returns the wardrobe to the next player. First team to complete the course wins. An Afro wig, love beads, fringe vest, and hippie glasses will lead to some "hustling" to the finish line. 

Spin The Bottle

Play Spin The Bottle. The old favorite had everyone sitting in a circle and when the bottles spins, whoever it is pointing to when it stops has to complete a forfeit. 

Love Beads

Give everyone string and lots of beads ready to be threaded in, also in lots of very bright colors. Great to take home too!

Pin The Smiley Face

Pin the Smile on the Smiley Face. Use yellow paper to create a giant smiley face with eyes but no mouth. Cut smiles out of black construction paper. Blindfold each participant as his/her turn arrives, spin, point in the right direction, and watch your smiley get really happy! For older kids, try a game of Pin the Peace Sign on the Hippie. 

Trivia Games

Trivia games. This could be in the format of a simple quiz with lots of prizes. They can be all about the news at the time, TV, movies, general knowledge from a retro era or they could also be in the format of name that tune by playing a few bars of famous retro songs. You could also use TV show theme tunes and film soundtracks. 

Also you could have a trivial pursuit contest based on your party era. One of the retro party games could successfully be a trivia contest. 

Quick Change

For Quick Change, divide the guests into two equal teams. Create two starting lines with masking tape, and secure two giant smileys or peace signs in place about 10-15 yards away (Try our giant flower standee). Line the teams up with a disco wardrobe at the starting line. At the signal to begin, the first player on each team quickly dresses up in the retro attire, runs the course, and then returns the wardrobe to the next player. The first team to complete the course wins. Love beads, fringe vest, and hippie glasses will lead to some “hustling” to the finish line. 

Simple Games

  • Make daisy chains. Just supply lots of daisies and give the winner a prize.

  • Buy badge making kits and let everyone make their own peace and flower badges

  • Buy a flower pinata.


Have guests sing Karaoke retro themed songs asking them to put their heart and soul into it. Have an X-Factor judging panel to rate their performance. 


Every era has its own dancing styles. You can set up a dancing contest and even theme the party on say Saturday Night Fever, for example. Dancers may dance with a partner. Like Dancing With The Stars you can have a judging panel to rate the performances. 


  • Observation test - discretely display 6 to 10 pictures of stars of the last century around the venue. Near the end ask guests to complete a sheet on what they observed. Ask for the people in the pictures and location of the pictures. Have prizes for those getting all answers correct.

  • Guess the Star, cover large photos of well known stars of the last century almost completely except for say a distinguishing nose, their eyes or even a tattoo. Guests must guess who they are, and again prizes for getting them all right.

  • Disguise a guest in retro costume. Video them playing an old style video game, for example, for 2 minutes. Show the video as part of the retro party games. Guests must guess who they are. First to guess wins the prize.

Retro Party Ideas - Favors

  • Toy VW bugs and peace mobiles.

  • Lots of glow sticks and glow bracelets

  • Retro t-shirts, which could be tie die.

  • DVDs or retro films or TV shows

  • Mood rings or pet rocks

  • Peace symbol jewelry and beads

  • Disco ball key tags and disco ball earrings

  • Retro flowers

  • Smiley face mugs, t-shirts and stickers

  • Big wigs, retro sunglasses, mustaches

  • Squirt rings and flowers

  • Daisy purses

  • Newsboy hat

Use tote bags or even bandannas to package the favors.

Retro Party Ideas - Music

The most amazing music for each retro decade can be played at the party. Retro party music can be top selling songs, your favorites, soundtracks for TV or film or one of those compilation albums.

  • 70's Seventies Films and Themes

  • Abba

  • Bee Gees

  • Bless This House

  • Boogie Nights

  • Bootsy Collins

  • Charlies Angels

  • Daddy Cool

  • Disco

  • Donny Osmond

  • Duran Duran

  • Easy Rider

  • Eurythmics

  • Jigsaw

  • Kool & The Gang

  • Led Zeppelin

  • Lionel Ritchie

  • Muriel’s Wedding

  • Robin’s Nest

  • Rocky

  • Rocky Horror Picture Show

  • Saturday Night Fever

  • Staying Alive

  • Stray Cats

  • Studio 54

  • Suzanne Vega

  • That 70’s Show

  • The Big Chill

  • The Ice Storm

  • Welcome Back Kotter

  • Xanadu

  • 70's Party Sources

  • Beatles Love Me Do

  • Herman's Hermits' I'm Into Something Good

Also songs like Rock Me Amadeus By Falco, Rio by Duran Duran, Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi and Call Me by Blondie.

And of course lots of music by The Rolling Stones and The Who.

1990s Retro Party Ideas

The 1990's offer great retro party ideas. You might want to consider this based on the year the graduate was born or just a great theme to thrill your guests. In terms of the general set up you can look at the main events of the 1990's. 

  • Movies: Forrest Gump, Men In Black and Austin Powers, The Lion King, Titanic, Jurassic Park and Wayne‘s World.

  • TV: Friends, Seinfeld, Beverley Hills 90210, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Dinosaurs, Garfield, Star Trek: The Next Generation

  • Movie Stars: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Kate Winslet, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kevin Spacey, Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep

  • Fashion: Cool Grunge to Goth all worked in the 90's. Baggy jeans, rock band t-shirts and a plaid, flannel shirt were cool. Add chunky shoes and you have it.

  • Hair Styles: The Rachel cut, short cool hair like Posh Spice and Meg Ryan and also the George Clooney look.

  • Music: Music by Britney Spears, Nirvana, Madonna, Alanis Morisette, Jay-Z, Sinead O‘Connor, REM, Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men, Coolio, Mariah Carey

Your guests will be able to choose just how they want to represent the 1990's. Their costume will be big part of the overall presentation at your graduation parties.

For your decorations, in conjunction with the graduation decorations you can display lots of 1990's photos, a calendar, movie posters, posters of the stars, Grunge clothing, and show 1990's TV shows on DVD. Games can be trivia based. The 1990's can give you excellent retro party ideas.

Retro Party Ideas

Some more great retro party ideas are:

  • Find a venue that is genuinely retro. Like Howard Johnsons in New York. There are lots of venues which have not been changed at all.

  • Have a videographer produce a party video in retro style fitting with the era. For example, there are very distinctive TV shows like Dallas which have a style of opening credits.

  • Play retro films like Austin Powers, Flashdance, St Elmo's Fire, Footloose, When Harry Met Sally.

  • Have a retro talent spot. Guests are invited to play a part from a famous TV show or movie, or perform a retro song on Karaoke.

  • Have a costume parade.

  • Take photos in the style of the retro era, which may be black and white, or even that 1980's hazy style.

  • Sandalwood Incense

  • Play Pacman and Twister

  • Teach everyone to dance The Bump and Bus Stop.

  • Show videos of the Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, Gilligan's Island, and I Dream of Jeannie. Some older guests might like to compete to see who can remember the ending of the show.

  • Use photo confetti on the table and in your invitation envelopes.

Share Your Retro Party Ideas

If you would like to share your complete retro party with us send us your party story and photos and we will create your own retro party page and photo gallery hosted on our site. (Family and friends will be able to find inspiration from your party and comment on your retro party ideas.) If you share your complete retro party details you will be automatically entered into our next contest. This year we are having a bumper $100 prize fund. There will be an overall winner and runners up prizes. The winner will be the best overall graduation parties stories and photos.

Have fun with your Retro party ideas!

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