by Mark Nobes, chief editor

So you want to throw an 80s party but you're not too sure about what food to offer your guests?

Well, fear not, because I'm going to give you lots of ideas which will make your party the best in town, and your guests won't be leaving with empty stomachs! By the way, let me assure you that I actually lived through the 1980s (I'm well into my 50's), so rest assured the advice you receive will be authentic.

Although I usually try and cater for both American and British visitors in my posts (around 50% of you are from the U.S.) for this one I am writing about UK food as I have no experience of U.S. food in the 80s. Apologies to my U.S. readers, but I hope you'll understand. Okay, so let's begin...

No party table was complete without a cheese and pineapple hedgehog. You'll need a tin of pineapple chunks, some cheddar cheese, wooden cocktail sticks and half a grapefruit or large half potato and some tin foil. Wrap the grapefruit or potato in foil making sure the shiny side is on display. Cut your cheese into cubes and place onto the end of each cocktail stick, followed by a pineapple chunk, or whichever way around suits you best! You may also want to add a grape to be extra posh! Alternatively, use pickled onions instead of pineapple, although there were some parties I went to where both were included. Actually, pickled onions with pineapple is pretty disgusting and you would be wise to avoid that option, no matter how authentic it may be! Stick all of your cheese and pineapple sticks into your foil-wrapped grapefruit to create a hedgehog. You can also use any hard veg that has a round or oval shape.

Cheese and Pineapple Hedgehog

Cheese and Pineapple Hedgehog

Cocktail-sized sausages on sticks (you can create another hedgehog if you wish) can be bought at most supermarkets, vol-au-vents (the pastry cases can be bought ready-made these days), crisps and/or KP salted peanuts in a bowl are also an authentic choice. A gala pie (pork pie with egg in the middle) and quiche lorraine were also popular. 

Sandwiches should not be too complex as they were pretty simple affairs back in the 80s. Stick with sliced white bread with cheese and ham fillings and cut into triangles. It was common practice to cut the crusts off, too. Tinned salmon and cucumber sandwiches were seen as ultra posh! Fish paste and sliced, fresh tomato or cream cheese (dairylea) and cucumber are also authentic choices.

TwigletsMini Cheddars and Cheese Balls were also very popular. You could add other retro snacks which are still available including Smith's Scampi Fries (I could never get enough of these!), Bacon FriesPork ScratchingsGolden Wonder RingosWotsitsMonster Munch (preferably pickled onion), Space Raiders (again, pickled onion were popular) and Cheese Quavers.

SMith's Bacon Fries

Smith's Bacon Fries

Birds Eye Arctic Roll

Birds Eye Arctic Roll

Jelly, Artic Roll and Wall's Viennetta were also a popular dessert choice. Ice cream and jelly together was very popular at kids' birthday parties. I remember gaining much enjoyment from shouting out "Ice cream and jelly, a punch in the belly" before punching the nearest unsuspecting person in the stomach. This additional violence is entirely optional, of course!

Sherry trifle with orange and lemon jelly slices

Sherry Trifle topped with lemon and orange jelly slices

Sherry trifle in a fancy glass bowl with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on the top was another party favourite. Another favourite topping was alternate lemon and orange jellies which I'm pleased to say you can still buy. Alternatively, you can used tinned orange segments. The easiest way to make a trifle is with a Bird's Trifle kit which comes in strawberry or raspberry flavours. Sadly, the sherry trifle kit appears to be no longer available, so you'll need to buy a small bottle of sherry although it's not essential to add any at all.

Black Forest Gateau was another favourite and there are recipes galore on the internet.

Babycham and cocktails (particularly Pina Colada) were a popular choice of drink. You can buy ready-mixed cocktails from the supermarkets these days, although there's more fun to be had in creating your own. Just add these Del Boy style umbrellas to finish them off with...

80s Cocktail Umbrellas

Cocktail Umbrellas

Jelly Alcoshots mould with 12 recipes

Jelly Alcoshots Mould with 12 alcohol based recipes

This is a fun idea! Alcoholic Jelly is a sure-fire winner and this mould kit comes complete with a recipe book.

Now, as well as the authentic retro food, you could also add some fun extras such as 80s-themed biscuits.

Pac-Man Cookie Cutters

Pac-Man Cookie Cutters

If you're into baking, then you could use this official set of Pac-Man cookie cutters to make some fun 80s biscuits.

Pac-Man Ice Cube Tray

Pac-Man Ice Cube Tray

You could add some 80s-themed ice cubes to the drinks and I found this fantastic Pac-Man themed tray at Amazon.

1980s Themed Paper Cake Toppers

80s Cake Toppers

There are many different 80s themed cake toppers available at Amazon which will add the finishing touch to your cakes.

Ghostbusters Popping Candy

Fizz Wiz Popping Candy

Fizz Wizz Popping Candy (Pack of 10)

We all remember popping candy, don't we? These would add some extra nostalgic fun, and they also come in a cola flavour. You could buy a mix of retro sweets and put them in a big bowl for your guests to delve into. Take a look at the 80s Sweets page on this website for lots of great ideas. You could even create your own goodie bags filled with sweets.

Party Bags

Party Bags

Loveheart Lipsticks
These Loveheart Lipsticks were very popular in the school playground and would certainly create some fond memories for your guests.
70s and 80s edible cupcake toppers
Cupcakes are always a welcome addition to any party, and these edible toppers featuring old favourites such as Pacers, Texan and Spangles will certainly revoke some childhood memories of the 70s and 80s.

Well, I hope I've given you some inspiration and may I wish you every success with your 80s party or event. You can read more about 80s Food at my website

You may also be interested in;

80s Party Decorations (UK)

Epic 80s Sweets