Hit rewind with these ’90s theme party ideas
If you ever feel nostalgic for the ’90s—the virtual pets, the Macarena, the must-see TV, and the overall lack of social media—we’re right there with you. But you don’t have to leave the best of that not-so-long-ago decade in the past.
A ’90s themed party is one of the best themes going, whether you’re looking for 30th birthday party ideas, 40th birthday party ideas, bachelorette ideas, and so forth. It’s also the perfect way to relive the good times, and best of all, it’s easy to pull off with just about any size event budget.
So break out your favorite “Now That’s What I Call Music” CD and pump up the jams. It’s time to turn back time with these ’90s party ideas for your milestone birthday or bachelorette party.
“Totally Tubular” by Paperless Post; Image via Seventeen Magazine.
What to wear to a ’90s party
If you still have a box of ’90s gear in your closet, now’s the time to dig it out. If not, don’t worry—it’s not hard to pull together a ’90s outfit that feels authentic. While you could always slap on some baggy Levi’s and call it a day, you’ll earn extra points with these suggestions:
— Denim on denim: Whether you choose mom jeans, cutoff shorts, or a baggy pair of JNCOs, you can’t go wrong. Don’t be afraid to layer with a denim shirt, jean jacket, or baseball cap for the full Canadian tuxedo effect.
— Grungewear: For this look, pull on ripped jeans, oversized flannel, and combat boots. If you wear makeup, apply some edgy eyeliner and dark lipstick. Don’t even think about washing your hair.
— Preppy: If you always wanted to be Cher from Clueless, now’s your chance to step into her perfect T-strap heels. Style your fit with a mini skirt and matching blazer and keep your hair tucked back with a headband. Finish the look with sparkly lip gloss and a fluffy pen.
— Bold and bright: Lace up your chunky sneakers and find the brightest, loudest windbreaker around. Bold patterns, contrasting colors, and matching sets make this style. Wear a cool pair of ’90s-inspired sunglasses to top it off.
If you need extra inspiration to feel like all that and a bag of chips, pop in the VHS copy of your favorite ’90s movie or MTV music video (or rather, log on to your preferred streaming service) and take notes. From Winona Ryder to Freddie Prinze Jr., you can always count on the decade’s biggest pop culture icons to serve looks.
Image via Mountasia; “Laser Land” by Paperless Post.
Customize your ’90s party with off-the-hook party decorations and themes
Perhaps the very mention of the word “nineties” takes you right back to a specific place and time, a Capri Sun in one hand and your portable CD player in the other. But if you need a little inspiration to make your ’90s party extra special, we have just the thing.
Try these party theme and decoration ideas to help you and your guests reminisce in style:
— Neon throwback: The ’90s were all about bright colors and funky fresh patterns—not to mention plenty of neon. Dim the lights and deck the room out in black lights and glow-in-the-dark party decoration. Hand out glow sticks and glow bracelets to guests and invite partygoers to wear their most vibrant neon ’90s fashion.
— Summer camp celebration – For an extra dose of nostalgia, give your ’90s party a summer camp twist. Hang colorful banners to welcome your fellow campers. Liven up the party with your favorite camp games, set up a tie-dye station, roast marshmallows, and make friendship bracelets.
— Now That’s What I Call Music: Pay tribute to the music hits of the decade with this party theme. Create a DJ station or host some ’90s karaoke to set the vibe. Invite guests to dress up as their favorite ’90s artists and see who can remember the most lyrics to their favorite throwback hits.
— Backyard barbecue bonanza: Cookouts will probably never go out of style, but that doesn’t mean you can’t liven yours up with some ’90s flair. Decorate the yard with bold balloons in bright colors and set out a boombox to play some tunes. For entertainment, bring out all your favorite ’90s yard party games.
Activities to help your ’90s party raise the roof
Your kickin’ decor and a ’90s dress code are already enough to make for a great time, but why not take things up a notch? Planning fun ’90s-specific activities and ’90s theme party ideas will keep you and your guests feelin’ fly.
Challenge your friends to a video game showdown
With Sega and Nintendo ramping up the world of at-home gaming, the ’90s turned video games from a hobby into a lifestyle. Hook up your N64, power up your Gameboy, and challenge your friends to a video game gauntlet guaranteed to keep the competition fierce. Play “Super Mario,” “Pokemon Blue,” or “Sonic the Hedgehog” for the throwdown of the decade. Don’t forget to blow into those cartridges.
To raise the stakes, offer some party prizes to the video game champs. Temporary tattoos and ’90s-inspired candy make for some enviable prizes, but you can also amp up the competition with gift cards or cash prizes.
Host a watch party
The ’90s was a big decade for churning out box office successes and must-see TV. Kick back and relax, or play a friendly drinking game to keep the refreshments coming (Ex.: Drink every time Ross says, “We were on a break!”). Take your pick from this list of ’90s classics that really captured the culture:
— “Jurassic Park”
– “Empire Records”
— “Saved by the Bell”
— “Sex and the City”
— “Pulp Fiction”
— “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
— “Thelma and Louise”
— “Sister Act”
– “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet”
Plan a ’90s trivia game
Reminiscing about a past decade can be fun on its own—but turning it into a trivia night can make it even more thrilling. Can your guests remember all the names of the Backstreet Boys, or what AOL stands for? See who knows their ’90s trivia and award the winners for their top-notch memory.
Some fun ’90s trivia themes include:
— Music videos
— TV shows
— Kids’ toys and games
— ’90s slang
— Fashion of the decade
Make memories with a photo booth
Make sure your memories last until the next decade with a photo booth to capture every crazy moment. Bonus points: Take all the photos on disposable cameras of Polaroids like the good old days. A box of ’90s theme party props can help your party guests relive the past and make the photos more dynamic. Try these:
— Silly sunglasses
— Bucket hats and baseball caps (worn backward, for extra cool points)
— Ring pops and bling necklaces
— Fanny packs
— Chunky cell phones (your local thrift store likely has a few)
– Inflatable neon electric guitars
— Signs and banners with your favorite ’90s sayings
“Flair Play” by Ashley Goldberg; Image by Studio DIY.
Serve ’90s style snacks
Ah, the ’90s. When 3D Doritos, Butterfinger BB’s, and Pepsi Blue ruled the scene. A few of those favorites might be gone forever—but you can still give your guests’ palate a throwback with some of the most righteous snack and finger food trends the decade had to offer:
— Bagel Bites
– Stuffed Crust Pizza
– Pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes
– Crab cakes
— Doritos casserole
– Baked brie
– Molten Lava Cake
– Jello cake
– Freeze pops
As you get into the party spirit, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Bring out the best the ’90s had to offer with drinks that will have your guests feeling refreshed in a retro way:
— Capri Sun
— Mello Yello
If you’re looking for a more adult beverage, channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw with a Sex and the City classic—the Cosmopolitan. Whether you’re in the city or on your living room couch, a Cosmo will spark conversation and gossip in the best way.
Image by Nobel Rags; “HiFi” by Paperless Post.
Create the perfect ’90s playlist
Whether you listened to a mixtape on a portable cassette player or carried a boombox on your shoulder, there’s one thing we can all agree on about ’90s music—it covered an incredible range. With a killer playlist, it’s easy to make every guest feel like dancing—regardless of their musical taste.
Grab your karaoke machine and get down to these classic ’90s artists:
— Spice Girls
— Mariah Carey
– Gin Blossoms
– Britney Spears
— Snoop Dogg
— Smashing Pumpkins
— Alanis Morrisette
— Red Hot Chili Peppers
— Beastie Boys
— Boyz II Men
Whether your guests are grunge groupies, R&B lovers, or Top 40 fans, the ’90s has some music that will speak to your soul.
How to pick the perfect ’90s party invite
You’ve got the theme, the food, the music, the outfit. It seems like this party’s all wrapped up. But wait a second—where is everyone?
Picking the perfect ’90s invitation is the only way to ensure your guests are ready to party. Send an online invitation to your crew to let them know what good times await them when they hit RSVP.
Here are a few Paperless Post invites that embody the vibe of a classic ’90s birthday bash:
— Just Add Swag – Get your group together for a chill night of kickin’ it ’90s-style with this card that oozes cool, retro flair.
— Neon Cheetah – Live your Lisa Frank fantasy with this bold invite that tells your friends you are THAT person.
— Get Your Kicks – Dust off those vintage Skechers and jelly shoes and watch your guests race to RSVP.
If formal, stationery-inspired invitations aren’t your jam, no worries—opt for a Flyer instead. You can even send out your invite via text message and track your RSVPs instantly. Once you’ve spent a few minutes customizing, send these flawless ’90s-inspired Flyers out to your friends:
“This Babe” Flyer by Paperless Post.
Party like it’s 1999 with Paperless Post
The ’90s were all about letting loose and letting the good times roll—and your party should be no different. But just because your party has a ’90s theme, it doesn’t mean your invitations have to be dated! Nostalgic as it may be, there’s no need to sit for hours waiting for dial-up (we have WiFi now). Paperless Post’s online invitations are one part of the future you’ll want to bring back with you.
Paperless Post can help your party reach its full potential with our fully customizable selection of ’90s theme party invitations—not to mention invitations for any party theme. Send out your fun, convenient invitations instantly and receive responses in seconds.
Leave the invitations to us, so you can get back to living that ’90s dream.