The Ten Best Last-Minute '80s Costume Party Ideas | Backbeat | Denver | Denver Westword | The Leading Independent News Source in Denver, Colorado


The Ten Best Last-Minute '80s Costume Party Ideas

A couple of years back, the Blend — a local semi-regular house-music showcase — held a 1980s-themed costume party. To no one's surprise, it was a hit, and on Saturday, October 3, the Blend is going to host a remix at Pearl's, 608 East 13th Avenue. What does one wear...
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A couple of years back, the Blend — a local semi-regular house-music showcase — held a 1980s-themed costume party. To no one's surprise, it was a hit, and on Saturday, October 3, the Blend is going to host a remix at Pearl's, 608 East 13th Avenue. What does one wear to a 1980s-themed costume party? Here are some fast, easy ideas for you.

10. Cabbage Patch Kid

I can't possibly be the only kid who both coveted a Cabbage Patch Kid doll while simultaneously feeling slightly repulsed by them. That weird skin texture and lipless smiles were just a little bit freaky. But it's an iconic doll, so you'll be easily recognized.

What you'll need: Overalls. Pigtails. Big, staring eyes. Painted-on freckles or dimples for effect. An Official Adoption certificate with your name on it.

Bonus points for: Holding your face in that weird alien smile all night. Signing and dating your own butt cheek with Xavier Roberts' name and your date of birth.

9. Marty McFly from Back to the Future

Just think for a second about how brilliant the costume designers for this movie were. Michael J. Fox doesn't look terribly out-of-place in the 1950s or the 1980s, and if you can find the vest, the rest should be easy to pull together.

What you'll need: Blue jeans. Button-down blue-and-white plaid shirt. Puffy red vest.

Bonus points for: A buddy dressed up as Doc. Carrying around a red electric guitar and breaking into "Johnny B. Goode" at every opportunity.
8. Prince

If you're going to be a musician, it's best to pick someone iconic. Everyone wants to be Michael Jackson, but Prince is just a tad more unexpected and therefore fun.

What you'll need: A pencil-thin mustache. A frilly white shirt. Gel in your hair.

Bonus points for: An extra-sultry gaze. A purple velvet coat.

7. Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything

Ah, yes, the iconic scene when a fresh-faced John Cusack woos his love interest with a boombox blasting Peter Gabriel. It might not be easy to approximate the color of the coat, and the cut of those '80s-era garments will be tough to replicate, so the boombox will be crucial to pulling this one off.

What you'll need: Baggy brown coat. White T-shirt. Boombox (make one out of cardboard if you must).

Bonus points for: Playing "In Your Eyes." A device with an actual cassette deck.

6. Lydia from Beetlejuice

Remember how popular Winona Ryder used to be? Reality Bites-era Winona is just a tad too late for an '80s-centric bash, and she's very recognizable as the angsty teenaged Lydia.

What you'll need: Black boots. Flowing, layered, misshapen black clothing. Lots of mascara.

Bonus points for: Short, spiky black hair. A Beetlejuice doll or toy.
5. Joel Goodsen from Risky Business

What's a good costume party without at least one pants-free person? If you think that's a legitimate rhetorical question, then maybe the super easy (but at least somewhat risque) Joel Goodsen outfit is for you.

What you'll need: White button-down shirt. Sunglasses. White socks. No pants.

Bonus points for: A candlestick. Excellent floor slides.

4. Alex from Flashdance

There aren't many movies (or songs from movies, for that matter) that evoke such a fashion statement as Flashdance. It's iconic and therefore instantly recognizable — and pretty easy to throw together.

And like the previous costume, if you prefer a no-pants dance kinda night, well, grab a longer sweatshirt and go for it.

What you'll need: A comb to tease your hair. A long sweatshirt with the collar cut out that falls off your shoulders. Leggings.

Bonus points for: Legwarmers. Dancing.

3. Joan Jett

While everyone else (probably) immediately thinks of Madonna when considering high-profile female musicians from the '80s, Jett requires a lot fewer accoutrements. She's a less obvious but much fiercer choice.

What you'll need: Spiky, straight hair — black if possible. Heavy eyeliner. A leather jacket. A leopard-print scarf to knot around your neck.

Bonus points for: Leather pants. A pink blazer.

2. Freddie Mercury

As fab and all as Joan Jett and Prince are, Freddie Mercury was one of the most iconic rock stars of his time. If you have access to a white jumpsuit and piano, then by all means, but you can get a younger Mercury captured with very little effort.

What you'll need: A thick black mustache (this is essential for young Mercury). Slicked-back hair. A white tank top. A jean jacket.

Bonus points for: A bicycle. An elaborate queen's crown.
1. 1980s-era Donald Trump

The best costumes are both topical and amusing — those are always the ones we remember, right? So why not show up disguised as everyone's favorite Presidential candidate, only with a decade-appropriate twist?

What you'll need: A suit with a skinny tie. A squinty-eyed face and pursed lips. Bouffy hair, but it should be not quite as ridiculous as his current 'do — he had more legitimate hair back then — so don't get too carried away.

Bonus points for: A blonde woman on your arm to stand in for Ivana. A "Trump for President 1988" button.

Head to Pearl's on Saturday starting at 9 p.m. Admission is $5 before 11 p.m. and $10 after.
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