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New Years Celebrations in the 80s

By Christian Roemer

Things were a bit different in the 80s. Not too, too different, but different nonetheless. If you hopped in a time machine to check out a New Year’s Eve party back then, you’d probably find many familiar things. You’d probably see some folks making out in a corner, other people dancing alone on the dancefloor, and definitely lots of people celebrating.

It would be incredibly passe--and boring--to list out all of the similarities between now and the 80s.

What you’re here for is the juicy stuff. You’re here for the unabashedly 80s qualia that will send you down a rabbit hole of nostalgia. These are the 10 things you’d see and hear at an 80s New Year’s Eve party that you wouldn’t in 2020:


Big Hair

If the 80s is known for one thing, it’s big hair. Dudes had fluffed out, blow-dried dos, and so did the ladies--but even bigger. It’s kind of hilarious to see the hair styles through the 2020 lens. Some looks come back from time to time: long, hippie hair, mohawks, and even ponytails for guys, but nobody is ever going to bring back 80s hair.


Prince on the Stereo

In 1982, Prince came out with a song called “1999.” In that song, he says that they’re going to party like it’s 1999. Nobody knew what it meant, but ironically, everyone in the 80s was singing it. Due to this logical contradiction, I don’t know if anyone actually ever partied like it was the 80s, because they were too busy partying like it was 1999 instead.


Spandex Everywhere

With yoga pants, this particular difference might not be that drastic, but there are differences. Mostly it boils down to color, but the 80s put spandex in everything. Tops, bottoms, socks, headbands--and folks were happy to accessorize as much as possible.


White Jean Jackets

When I think of the 80s, I think of cool dudes with curly mullets wearing white jean jackets. I don’t know why white jean jackets were a thing, but they totally were.


Really Bright Colors

Spandex and neon colors went hand in hand. In the 2000s, people traded bright colors for neutral tones. The 80s were on the other end of the color wheel. Everything was bright, practically glowing, and unabashedly loud.


No Cheesy Sunglasses

When the 2000s hit, people started wearing the lame sunglasses with lenses that spell out the year. The reason it worked is because the middle 0s made the perfect little eye holes. Luckily, in the 80s, that kitsch didn’t exist.


Terrible TV graphics

TV graphics were hilarious in the 80s. They were basically digital clock numbers superimposed on live TV. I miss them a little bit.



Dudes had mustaches. Sure, hipsters nowadays have mustaches, but those mustaches don’t have the cultural clout of a true 80s stache. 2000s staches are ironic. 80s staches were real.



Women loved to wear really bright rouge. I’m not sure that I understand it, but when you look at pictures from this decade, it looks like all the girls are overheated or just finished running a marathon. Weird.


Cigarette Smoking

The 80s were a simpler time. People weren’t quite all aboard the “smoking is bad for you” train yet, so they puffed those little cylinders like they were going out of style. That’s a good thing, because they would eventually go out of style. Also, I’m pretty sure that Juuls will be the 2010s’ equivalent of cigs.


The 80s were a fun time of color, loud music, great rock and roll, pretty good pop music, and people looking cool. I mean, have you ever seen photos of 80s dads and moms. They were the coolest. Nowadays people just sip lattes or whatever in some sort of boring, neutral tone outfit. On New Year’s Eve, people buy stuff and sip wine on the couch at home while watching lame New Year’s Eve specials on the big letter networks. In the 80s, people actually lived!

What do you remember from parties in the 80s?

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