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80s Day at School: Get Your Gnarly On!

The 1980s were all about big hair, neon colors and “gag me with a spoon” music (the good kind). And the best part of it all is, the 80s are so retro, they’re back in style — not just among us oldsters, either … even the kiddos are getting involved! To celebrate this pivotal era in pop culture check out this list of ideas to make your 80s Day at school complete.

What to Wear on 80s Day

Fashion in the 1980s was all about the bright colors and outrageous prints, and the best way to get into an 80s mood is through period-specific duds! Throw on a dress in hot pink or purple, some neon green pants or an orange shirt with black stripes for good measure! Check out your wardrobe for anything that might be from around this time period … even if it’s just a leotard, it’ll be perfect!

Throw on a headband with pink or blue hair extensions, put on some bright neon leggings (you can make them yourself!) and finish it off with colorful leg warmers over tall boots!

What to Listen to on 80s Day

Music from the 1980s is some of the most iconic in all pop culture. You can’t have 80s day without playing Madonna’s “Holiday” or Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” No matter what type of music you like, there are probably one or two songs on the list of top 80s hits that will work for your class party.

Or, you could play on just how outlandish the 80s really were and turn up the volume on “Dare to Be Stupid” by Weird Al Yankovic. If you’re trying to indoctrinate the younger generation on the wonders of the 80s, then you could even try something more contemporary like Taylor Swift’s album, 1989.

80s Day Games & Activities

The best part about 80s games and activities? They’re easy as pie (or pizza) to plan because they’re so nostalgic! Create contests by having kids dress up to match song lyrics — whoever gets their costumes matched best is the winner. Or, have them take turns trying to find a matching word on “Simon Says.”

If you’re looking for something to play while the music plays and your guests hang out, try some of these classics like “Don’t Step on It,” a childhood favorite.

80s Day Food

The 80s were an era of excess and decadence … so why not make your party food fit that theme? Think pizza bagels, nachos with everything but the kitchen sink piled high atop it, or even those old favorite hot dogs wrapped in Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.

Movies & TV Shows for 80s Day

Watch “The Breakfast Club” for some insight into what life was like back then — or watch any number of other iconic movies from the decade! Reruns are always fun too because they’re reminiscent of a simpler time before cell phones and the internet.

Popular television shows from the 80s could also make good classroom fare, especially if you wheel in a cart with a TV and VCR. Some of the most memorable shows include “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World” and “Who’s the Boss?”

Other Tips and Ideas for 80s Day

Here are some other things you might try to make your 80s Day at school as righteous as it can be:

  • Mullet wig
  • Cupcakes — who didn’t love a good in-class birthday celebration?
  • 80s vocabulary game
  • Legwarmers
  • Walkman or iPod loaded with 80s tunes like “Fame” by Irene Cara, “Mickey” by Toni Basil and The Bangles’ hit “Manic Monday.” Mmm.
  • Short shorts for the girls (preferably paired with a legwarmer)
  • Pin the Parachute on the Pants
  • Ponytail holders
  • 80s-themed party games like “Don’t Break the Ice” or “Twister.” Truer 80s than thou.
  • Devo hats, which are still in style today — especially for those with bowl cuts!
  • Oversized sunglasses and a large watch to help you keep track of time
  • Blankets and pillows for a slumber party or “movie night” in the classroom.
  • A bucket of popcorn with some 80s-themed sodas like Coca Cola’s New Coke (yikes!) or Pepsi Free.

(Like 80s Day at School? Then you might like our article on 50s Day at School, click here. Or how about 60s Day at School, click here. Or even 90s Day at School, click here.)

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