How to throw a 1990s themed party

How to throw a 1990s themed party

What defined the 1990s?

Exciting new technologies, progressive fashion and new wave music genres were some of the key themes that defined the 1990s. The 1990s could be described as one of the most exciting decades in our history. Introducing the "Internet Age", a time where revolutionary new technology started to change the world we lived in. It was an era where some great new music exploded into our consciousness. The Seattle grunge scene erupted internationally with bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, all the while, the Hip Hop and Boy Band craze reached brand new heights. It was also a time when some unforgettable movies and television shows appeared on our screens, resulting in new favourite wall posters being plastered up in every teenagers room to showcase their latest heart throb. Undeniably though, it was the truly unique 1990s fashion trends that were the most memorable of this decade. Here we take a deep dive into this exciting time and provide a guide on how to throw a successful 1990s themed party, no matter what angle you take.

What were the trends and fads in the 1990s?

If there is one thing that you need to remember about this period of time, it was that to be cool you had to keep up with the latest trends and fads in the 1990s.

Girls couldn't leave the house without a scrunchie in their hair and the boys would need to be rocking either a Starter cap or jacket, paired with some baggy jeans. If this wasn't your style, you could always don a pair of Doc Martins, a flanno shirt and some cargo pants. Fanny packs were basically wallets and purses and the cell phone or pager was a 'must have' accessory.

With communication now on the move, having a laptop made you look very important and having anything cordless such as a Game Boy or a Sony discman, you were deemed extremely cool.

For fun, you would see kids playing with their Pogs, attending to their Furbies and making imaginary play with their Troll dolls or Pokemon characters.

Anywhere you walked, you would always hear some kind of music playing out of a boom box, whether that be the voice of Kurt Cobain, the Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys or the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  

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What are the best 1990s themed party ideas?

When choosing the best 1900s themed party ideas for your celebration, you can either go for a full coverage of the 1990s, giving your party guests a HUGE range of fashion, music, trends and fads to work with, or make your party a specific 1990s moment in time. What ever way you decide, each theme has it's own highlights and provides heaps of cultural material for your guests to draw upon. Outlined below are some of the best 1990s themed party ideas that really showcase what this era was all about.

GRUNGE PARTY

A grunge party theme is all about rebelling youth against their parents, mosh pits and the underground grunge music that defined the genre. It's when people started to really express themselves on a deeper level through grunge music, which featured heavy electric guitar and growling vocals. Therefore the music that is played at a grunge themed party is the most essential ingredient. This theme would be perfect for the flannel shirt enthusiasts and the Nirvana and Pearl Jam lovers.

HIP HOP / BOY BAND PARTY

A hip hop / boy band party theme is a sure way for your party goers to find their inner '''homie'' or their favourite Backstreet Boy persona. It's a theme that celebrates the likes of hip hop royalty such as 2Pac and Snoop Dogg, as well as the pop star break out boy bands such as Boys II Men, Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC. This is a fun party theme that screams the need for a karaoke machine. Give your party guests the opportunity to sing Peter Andre at the top of their lungs!

1990s MOVIES PARTY

What better way to turn back the clock a few decades than with a 1990s movie party. Through Terminator 2; Judgement Day, James Cameron brought CGI to the movie world and '''Hasta la vista, baby" the old way of movie making was left behind in CGI's dust! There were a huge number of blockbuster movies in the 1990s, so your party guests will have plenty of options to dress up as their favourite characters. Don't forget to include a ''Best dressed'' prize for this theme and mention this on your invite.  

1990s FADS PARTY

Being labelled as "cool" depended on how much time you were putting into keeping up with the 1990s fads. This is a dynamic party theme with a wide range of fad ideas to take on. It's time to search your attic for scrunchies, fanny packs, Pogs and gaming consoles. Time to dust off your disc man and charge up your Game Boy. If you really want to commit, why not frost those hair tips or give yourself a "Rachel" haircut. The fads of the 1990s were some of the most memorable (and cringe worthy), so this party theme guarantees some laughs!  

What do I wear to a 1990s Grunge themed party?

Dressing for a 1990s grunge themed party means dragging out all of your old band t-shirts, like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden, from the back of your cupboard, finding your darkest colored plaid flannel shirt and your most ripped jeans. Throw on a pair of Doc Martens or combat boots and you're ready to hit the mosh pit! Regarding your hairstyle, if you've got long hair, let those locks flow and for extra effect, be brave and dye your hair with bold colors like purple or red. 

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What decorations should I use for a 1990s Grunge themed party?

When decorating for your 1990s grunge themed party, think dark colors, well used couches, old 1990s grunge magazines and CD's scattered around and grunge band posters plastered on the walls. You can even have a makeshift thrift shop in the corner with dusty old Doc Martins and combat boots, flannel shirts, dark colored cargo pants, 1990s band t-shirts and stone washed jeans. Having instruments such as electric guitars, acoustic guitars, drums and microphones (with the old school tall microphone stand) can be great visual aids too. Plus these props will come in handy for all of your museó friends, 

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What music do I play at a 1990s Grunge themed party?

The music played at a 1990s grunge themed party should represent the ''Seattle Sound'' with songs from the following bands to be played at the highest decidable. This could either be done by a playlist on your phone and pumped through massive speakers, or for an even better effect, why not hire a band? This is one sure way to get your party goers moshing!

*Nirvana
*Pearl Jam
*Soundgarden
*Alice in Chains
*Stone Temple Pilots
*Hole

What do I wear to a 1990s Hip Hop / Boy Band themed party?

Dressing up in 1990s Hip Hop or Boy Band theme is everyone's opportunity to put on their baggiest, most over sized pair of jeans or t-shirt, flip their caps backwards and find their biggest gold chains. Transform yourself into a rapper with a big black puffer jacket or hoodie, a bandanna tied on your head like 2Pac and an over sized pair of high top sneakers. Team up with a few friends and recreate your favourite boy bands, like the Backstreet Boys and Boys II Men in matching or similar outfits. Black suits and leather jackets, matching sports jerseys, white denim jackets and matching track suit pieces were all acceptable and fashionable in the boy band era. Make sure one or two people out of the group wear some sort of hat, whether that be a baseball cap or fedora. Regarding footwear, white sneakers with jeans was a popular combination back in the 90s, so keep comfortable and go with this option I say.  

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What decorations should I use for a 1990s Hip Hop / Boy Band themed party?

Think of bright colors, when decorating your 1990s Hip Hop / Boy Band themed party. Colorful graffiti art work showcasing boom boxes with big speakers was a popular scene in the 1990s Hip Hop world. Search your house or your local thrift shops for old stereo systems to place around the party area. Cover your walls in rapper / Boy Band posters and any other paraphernalia that you can find. Whether these are old CD's, teen magazines with a boy bands on the front cover, pillow cases, dooner covers (don't pretend that you didn't have one!) Having a DJ or karaoke machine at your party playing a mixture of the 1990s Hip Hop tunes and Boy Band hits will be essential. Ensure that you have a clearly marked out dance floor for all of your party goers gangsta dance moves!

What music do I play at a 1990s Hip Hop / Boy Band themed party?

The great thing about having a 1990s Hip Hop / Boy Band themed party is the endless choice of tunes that you will have to lift the roof off. Everyone at your party would have liked, if not loved a number of songs from the Hip Hop and Boy Band scenes, so pairing these two themes will always be a winner on the dance floor. Check out these videos below that will get you on the right track to building the perfect party playlist.

What do I wear to a 1990s Movies themed party?

The first question you need to ask before what you wear to a 1990s movies themed party, is what was my favourite 1990s movie?...because there were SO MANY!!! Once you have identified this, it's time to pick the character that you will become. Below is a snapshot list of some of the standout 1990s movies that were released, with characters and outfit ideas to help you.

*Pulp Fiction
Characters - Hitmen Jules and Vincent
Outfit - Black suits with white shirt and skinny black tie (Jules has an afro, Jules has greasy, long, slicked back hair)

*Jurassic Park
Character - BE A DINOSAUR!!!
Outfit - Inflatable dinosaur suit 

*The Matrix 
Character - Neo
Outfit - Long black trench coat, dark sunglasses, big black boots, guns strapped to his legs and in his trench coat

*Titanic
Character - Rose
Outfit - Red velvet long dress with heart shaped jewel necklace

*Forrest Gump
Character - Forrest
Outfit - Cream suit, checkered blue shirt, crew cut and white running sneakers
 
*Terminator 2; Judgement Day
Character - Terminator
Outfit - Bikie gear; black leather jacket, boots, black jeans and shirt. Some bullet holes in your shirt or metal parts poking out would not go astray!

*Clueless
Character - Cher Horowitz
Outfit - Matching yellow plaid skirt and jacket

What decorations should I use at a 1990s Movies themed party?

To keep in line with the "movies" theme, why not decorate your 1990s movies themed party by transforming your party space into an old school movie theatre? This means setting up a projector on a large blank wall and having a number of 1990s movies on the ready to have playing in the background. Plaster the walls with movie posters from the 1990s and make a bundle of fake movie tickets to hand out to your party guests. These could have movie trivia questions on the back of them to keep your guests entertained and committed to the theme. Why not hire a popcorn machine so everyone can indulge or have a number of large clear bowls full of popcorn scattered around the place. If you can, get your hands on some bean bags and comfy lounges for everyone to sit on. 

What music should I play at a 1990s Movies themed party?

All you need to do regarding music for your 1990s movies themed party, is source as many movie sound tracks as you can that are from 1900s movies. These sound tracks would ideally be from the movies that you are playing on the projector, or reflect a number of movies on your posters. A fun thing to do would be to have your party goers guess what movie the songs were from, with possibly some small prizes handed out for the biggest 1990s movie buff!

What do I wear to a 1990s Fads themed party?

To know what to wear to a 1900s fads themed party can a little bit overwhelming because there are so many different options that you can choose from. But don't get stressed, because it's all just a bit of fun and outlined below are a list of potential ideas to get you started.

1990s FASHION IDEAS

*Men - Stonewashed jeans with white sneakers, a tight plain colored T-shirt and gold chain
*Women - High waisted stone washed jeans or shirt, paired with a black belt, long sleeve plain colored turtle neck and black boots / white sneakers.
*Scrunchies
*Fanny packs
*Will Smith from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - Over sized colorful pants, with a loud colorful over sized T-shirt and baseball cap with the brim lifted up
*1990s rapper - Baggy jeans, over sized jacket, baseball cap or bandanna, chunky gold or silver necklace
*Rachel Green character from the popular 1990s TV Show, ''Friends''. You must be rocking the all important ''Rachel Haircut'' with this option
*For the guys...Go all out and frost your hair tips!

1990s TECHNOLOGY IDEAS
 
*Cardboard Game Boy or Nintendo cut out
*Business man with old school over sized mobile phone, laptop and beeper
*Accessories to go with 1990s outfits - Stereo boom box or a Sony Discman

1990s GAMES / TOYS IDEAS

*Troll dolls
*Furby dolls
*Power Rangers (Great option for you and four of your party goer friends)
*A giant cardboard cut out of a Pog
*Cardboard cut out of a Tamagotchi or Pokemon card

Fads of the 1990s to include at your 90s party

What decorations should I use at a 1990s Fads themed party?

When decorating for a 1990s Fads themed party, you really need to have some basic starting point 90s decorations that have bright pastel colors, cool shapes and even some popular sayings of the 90s. Things such as bunting, paper plates and cups, balloons and cardboard signs are all things that can be easily hung up and around your party space. Once you are happy with the amount of color and coverage of these items, it's time to get specific and scatter around anything that you can find that relates to some key 1990s fads. Game Boys and games, CD's and their cases, stuffed toys, 90s TV and movie star posters, VHS tapes of popular cult movies, old music tapes, Tamagotchies and Troll dolls. Basically anything out of your old toy box will work!

What music should I play at a 1990s Fads themed party?

Having a 1990s Fad themed party is the perfect time play all of the best pop music from this era. I'm talking Michael Jackson, the Spice Girls, Britney Spears and Whitney Houston. Depending on your budget, you could either hire a DJ and request just for 90s pop music to be played or take on the challenge yourself and create a killer playlist of your own. To get those musical vibes flowing, here is a complication of the best pop music of the 90s to give you a head start. You'll want to turn up the volume for these bangers!!!

What are some 1990s Dance Moves?

As mentioned on here a number of times, looking cool in the 90s was everyone's aim and many we able to achieve this through mastering the most popular 1990s dance moves. To make sure that you have all the right moves for your 1990s themed party, we have included below a quick dance tutorial that shows you how to bust out (and look cool whilst doing it) some popular 1990s dance moves such as; The Running Man, Roger Rabbit, The Robot, Kids N Play and the Side Kick. Pairing these dance moves with your killer 1990s outfit, will be a winning combination that is guaranteed to impress!

What are some 1990s themed party games?

Having a few fun 1990s themed party games up your sleeve is always a great idea to have, especially if you are feeling like your party needs bit of a lift. It's also an awesome way to inject some enthusiasm into the party vibe, encouraging your party guests to really let go of their inhibitions and to embrace everything about the 1990s theme. Listed below are a few simple party game ideas that you could include and add your own flare to. The key is to keep them quick and simple to avoid people losing interest. It's all meant to be a bit of light hearted fun. Just make sure that you have a few small prizes to give away or an idea of what you might want to reward your winning guests with. 

1990s PARTY GAME #1 - Best Dressed Award

This award goes to the party guest who's outfit is the most impressive and most relevant to the 1990s theme. They should be judged on creativity, the amount of effort put into making their custume and their commitment to embodying their 1990s persona throughout the night. The best dressed winner is generally chosen from a pool of 3-5 potentials and is awarded by receiving the loudest cheer from the crowd.  

1990s PARTY GAME #2 - Dance Off

There is nothing like a good old fashion dance off at your 1990s themed party, especially with the wide range of specific 90s dance moves that your party guests can choose from. You may want to show them the above Youtube 90s dance tutorial video before getting started, so that everyone has an idea of what moves they should go out and nail!

This game is sure to get everyone involved, laughing and busting out some hilarious moves on the dance floor. The idea is to ''battle'' each other, with individuals or smalls groups taking turns in showcasing their best moves. The winner/s are determined by who receives the loudest cheer from the crowd. You are looking for the most committed and most entertaining! 

1990s PARTY GAME #3 - 1990s Trivia

Who doesn't love Trivia? Including a quick game of 1990s trivia, is a great way for everyone to get into the groove of the theme. Separate the party crowd into teams of approximately 5 people and have a prepared a list of short quick questions (not too many) relating to the 1900s era. You can either have questions relating to your specific theme (E.g. Hip Hop and Boy Bands of the 90s) or a wide variety of questions covering the full decade of the 1990s. Everyone swaps their answer sheets between teams to be marked. The winning team who has the most amount of points at the end, wins!

Here is a list of sample questions that you might want to use -

1. Who got a Number 1 hit with ''Bust a Move''? (Young MC)
2. Which film won an Oscar for best movie in 1994? (Forrest Gump)
3. What popular TV show starred American actor Will Smith?
4. Name the missing ''Friends'' cast member from this list - (Character and real name) - Ross, Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler. (Joey, Matt LeBlanc)
5. Who was the President of America in 1992? (George H. W. Bush)


Prefer a deferent party era?

Click here for our guide to throwing a 1960s party, or here for a guide to hosting a 70s disco party, or here for our 1980s party guide!

Want more great party theme ideas? 

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