Oh, to live during times of pink poodle skirts, Cadillacs, leather jackets, and rock and roll. With these 1950s party ideas, you no longer have to long for a sock hop and a drive-in movie theater experience in 2021. Lucky for you, these fun 50s features don’t have to stay in the past. We offer you suggestions and a list of supplies you’ll need to help you throw the best 1950s theme party. Read, get ready, and throw on some outfits, because your party’s about to get a blast from the past. Ya dig?
1950s Party Ideas – Decorations
1. Black and White
Get that diner vibe with black and white accents on cups, your table, napkins, or streamers. The contrast, paired with a poodle pink, transports guests back in time to a 50s diner.
2. Milkshake Centerpieces
Complete the look of your 1950s-inspired party by adding centerpieces that look like milkshakes! This can be done by easily filling a milkshake glass* with glass beads, pink stuffing, or plastic flowers. A straw and a (plastic) cherry on top will complete the look.
3. Record Whirls
A fun, 50s alternative to streamers. Most party stores sell whirl streamers with records* on the end for 50s-themed parties (like this one!).
4. Hot Rods
The incorporation of old-style cars into your decorations is a surefire way to give your party the 50s vibe you want. This can be in the form of a tapestry, cutout, or even little model cars* as table decorations.
The jukebox marked the 1950’s era which is why we included it in our 1950s party guide. If you have the means, rent, or buy a jukebox! Rental services exist just for this purpose. If you don’t feel like spending the extra money, a jukebox tapestry and your Spotify playlist will do just fine.
1950s Party Ideas – Favors
6. Hanging Fluffy Dice
For the car, the home, or the bag (as a snazzy keychain!). An inexpensive way to put a smile on your guests’ faces as they remember the rockin’ time they had at your party with a soft, hanging fluffy dice*.
7. Old-style Candy
Great table decorations as well as party favors. Go for gumballs*, licorice, Milk Duds, and candy cigarettes. Personalize the packaging to really “wow” your guests.
8. Cat-eye Glasses
You know, the white or black ones that girls in poodle skirts wear? Your guests will get a kick out of looking like they jumped out of a time machine. Check out those cat-eye glasses here!
9. Cracker Jack
Fun packaging, fond memories, and even a prize inside! Delicious caramel popcorn* and peanuts will remind your guests of good times.
10. Popcorn Bags
What better way to give your guests a parting gift than by giving them goodies in a pretty popcorn bag*? Since this is such a simple yet amazing gift you can give your guest we had to include it in our 1950s party guide. The packaging pairs well with the 1950s party theme, while also reminding guests of the days of drive-in movies. Some of the “bags” are actually plastic cups, allowing you to stuff the bags with candy without worrying about all that candy getting squished.
1950s Party Ideas – Food
Perhaps the most iconic diner food which is why we added it to our 1950s party guide as an essential item. Grill burgers for your guests and serve them up with lettuce, tomato, onion, and their choice of condiments. We highly recommend ketchup, mustard, mayo, or Thousand Island dressing*. Don’t forget to offer cheese, too – for some people; it’s the only proper way to eat a hamburger. Pro Tip: Don’t forget the fries!
12. Club Sandwiches
If you don’t feel like grilling burgers or prefer to offer your guests something more healthy, opt for club sandwiches! Guests can make their club sandwiches by layering chicken breast, bacon, lettuce, and tomato between two pieces of toasted bread*. Slice the sandwiches into small pieces to make them more fingers-friendly.
13. Grilled Cheese
For your vegetarian guests, serve grilled cheese as an alternative to hamburgers and meat sandwiches. Still classic, still yummy.
14. Mac and Cheese
Classic comfort food that’s still frequently served in diners – mac and cheese*. Also great for kids! Make sure to serve a large bowl of this for your guests to share and enjoy. This classic dish will surely remind them of the 50s, and it will give them the opportunity to indulge.
For an appetizer or snack food, fill large bowls* with chips and place them around your party area for your guests to snack on.
1950s Party Ideas – Activities & Games
16. Sundae Station
A classic dessert solution that’s also a fun activity for all! Put out different flavors of ice cream and toppings, such as whipped cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and cherries. Because this isn’t actually the 1950s, be sure to include some non-dairy options for your vegan or lactose-intolerant friends. It’s always fun to offer fun bowls and spoons to add to the “diner” feel of the evening.
17. Costume Contest
We added a costume contest to our 1950s Party Guide because it lets guests go all out and show off their style! Ask your guests to show up in 50s attire*! Offer prizes to the most creative, authentic, and hilarious costumes. Extra points if someone dresses like Elvis.
18. Sock Hop!
Grab your date and dance the night away! Throw on some 50’s sock hop attire, press play on the jukebox (or your 50s Spotify playlist), and get the dancing started. Provide fun neon signs, an air-conditioned space, and lots of space to move.
19. Fifties Music Trivia
Baby, let’s rock! Divide your guests into teams and play short segments of fifties music, like songs by Elvis and Chuck Berry. The teams then must try their best to guess the song and singer. Award the winners with prizes, because that’s a lot of knowledge to have! Buying a fifties music trivia game* would also be another good option.
20. Get Active!
Those kids in the 50s sure knew how to move. Host a hula hooping competition, a limbo* tournament, or a hopscotch game to bring out your guests’ competitive spirits.
1950s Party Ideas- Supplies
21. Vinyl Record Plates
These paper plates* will have you feeling like 1950s rock royalty! Guests can put food on these records without having to worry about scratching them.
22. Soda Shop Table Cover
Get this table cover* for your party and you’ll really feel like you’re hanging after school with Sandy and Danny! From the bright pink and blue to the stools on the side, everything about this cover screams the 50s.
23. Old Fashioned Plastic Sundae Cups
What better cups* to go along with your table cover? These cups are designed to look like ones from a 50s ice cream shop. The only difference between these and the real thing is that they won’t break when the party gets too rockin’.
24. 1950s-Themed Napkins
In order to complete your 1950s table set, you just need to buy these 1950s-themed napkins*! Because there are so many aspects of the 50s to choose from, you have the liberty to choose the type of napkin that you feel most represents the party that you plan to hold. Or, simply purchase ones that roughly match the color of the rest of the table.
25. Black Utensils
It’s important that the utensils that you provide also match with the plates. Thus, if your plates are vinyl record-themed, the utensils that you choose must be coordinated in color. So in this case, plain black plastic utensils would work best. After all, utensils are small, so it would be difficult finding some with 1950s designs.
1950s Party Ideas – Invitations
26. Dinner Menu Invitations
Send that invite as a dinner menu! Your guests will surely appreciate the creativity, and they might be more inclined to dress up and go along with your theme as a result of your dinner party.
27. Postcard Invitations
We wish you were here; oh wait, you’re invited! Send your invitations as postcards, with all of your invite information on the back of the card. The front can be a picture of a diner, car, or something 50s-themed.
28. Movie Ticket Invitations
Throw it back to the diners’ days and drive-in movie theaters with an invite as a movie ticket*. Make sure it matches your color scheme: think black, white, and pink or red.
29. Guitar Invitations
Nothing reminds you of the 50s more than a good old-fashioned rock-and-roll guitar. Inviting people to your party using a rock-and-roll guitar invitation* is thus an amazing way to impress them and get them excited for the 50s-themed party that is about to come.
30. Jukebox Invitations
Are you looking for a more music-centered invitation that still encapsulates the 50s? Try these jukebox invitations*! It is a creative design that will surely impress your guests and put them in a groovy mood for the upcoming party!
Now that you’ve got your ideas flowing with our 1950s party ideas, go throw that 50s party of your dreams! With our list of 1950s costume ideas, invitations, decorations, and favors, we hope that your guest will also love the fifties party that you will throw! For more blogs like this or for tools to plan your next party, check out Easy Event Planning. We’ve got other adult birthday party ideas, general birthday party ideas, other party themes, and so much more!
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Written by Jessica Bundy and Jillian Smith; Contributors: June Park, Stephanie Tse, Daniel Ong, and Stacie Lowe