The 1990s were a decade full of iconic fashion trends, chart-topping music, and unforgettable pop culture moments. From grunge to boy bands to the rise of the internet, the 90s left an indelible mark on popular culture that still resonates today. That’s why it’s no surprise that 90s-themed parties have become increasingly popular in recent years.
These parties offer a chance to re-live some of the nostalgia of the era and celebrate the music, fashion, and pop culture that defined it. A 90s-themed party can be a fun way to bring people together and celebrate the era. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes a 90s-themed party so special, and offer some tips and ideas for hosting your own unforgettable event.
Reasons to Throw a 90s Themed Party
Wondering if throwing a 90s-themed party is right for you? There are several different reasons why a 90s themed party is a fun and easy party idea for any occasion. Including:
- Nostalgia: For many people, the 90s represents a time of nostalgia and fond memories. Hosting a 90s-themed party is a way to relive some of those memories and connect with others who share the same feelings.
- Fun: A 90s-themed party can be a lot of fun, with the chance to dress up in fun costumes and dance to iconic 90s music. It’s a great way to let loose and have a good time with friends, whether you experienced the 90s for yourself or were born later.
- Unique: Hosting a 90s-themed party is a unique way to stand out from the crowd and do something different. It can be a refreshing change from the usual party themes and a great conversation starter.
- Easy to plan: A 90s-themed party can be relatively easy to plan, as there are so many iconic elements of the era to draw from. From fashion to music to pop culture references, there are plenty of ideas to work with.
- Celebrate a milestone: If you or someone you know is celebrating a milestone birthday or other significant event, a 90s-themed party can be a fun way to mark the occasion. It’s a unique and memorable way to celebrate a special moment in someone’s life.
Picking a Theme for a 90s-Themed Party
You could throw a general 90s-themed party, or you could pick a more precise theme. I personally think a more-specific theme is usually more memorable and it makes me feel less overwhelmed when planning the party. However, whether you do a precise theme or go for a general throwback, you’re sure to have an amazing party.
- TV show theme: Choose a popular TV show from the 90s and use it as the inspiration for your party. For example, you could have a “Friends” theme party, complete with a Central Perk coffee bar, a “Smelly Cat” karaoke contest, and a trivia game based on the show.
- Grunge theme: Grunge music was a defining feature of the 90s, so you could throw a grunge-themed party. Encourage your guests to come dressed in flannel shirts, ripped jeans, and combat boots. Play music from bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, and serve comfort food like pizza and mac and cheese.
- High school dance theme: Recreate the atmosphere of a 90s high school dance, complete with balloons, streamers, and a cheesy photo booth. Play popular slow dance songs from the era, like “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston and “Wonderwall” by Oasis.
- Hip-hop theme: Hip-hop music was huge in the 90s, so you could have a party that celebrates the genre. Play music from artists like Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., and Wu-Tang Clan, and encourage your guests to come dressed in baggy pants, oversized T-shirts, and snapback hats.
- Nickelodeon theme: If you’re looking for a more lighthearted 90s theme, consider a Nickelodeon-themed party. Play episodes of classic Nickelodeon shows like “Rugrats,” “Hey Arnold!,” and “Clarissa Explains It All.” Serve snacks like Gushers and Dunkaroos, and set up a slime-making station.
- Spice Girls theme: The Spice Girls were a huge sensation in the 90s, so why not have a party inspired by them? Encourage your guests to dress up as their favorite Spice Girl (Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger, or Posh), play their biggest hits, and serve colorful cocktails named after the group’s songs.
- Tech theme: The 90s saw a lot of technological advancements, such as the rise of personal computers, cell phones, and the internet. You could throw a tech-themed party, complete with retro computers and cell phones for decoration, and a trivia game about 90s tech.
- Pop culture theme: The 90s was a decade full of memorable pop culture moments, from Princess Diana’s death to the O.J. Simpson trial. You could have a party that celebrates the biggest pop culture moments of the era, with decorations, music, and games that highlight them.
- Movie theme: The 90s was a great decade for movies, with classics like “Jurassic Park,” “Titanic,” and “The Lion King” all released during that time. You could have a party that celebrates 90s movies, with screenings of some of the biggest hits, movie-themed snacks, and movie trivia games.
- Fashion theme: The 90s had some iconic fashion trends, from platform shoes to bucket hats. You could have a party that celebrates 90s fashion, with a fashion show featuring the best 90s-inspired outfits, a DIY scrunchie-making station, and a game of fashion trivia.
- Cartoon theme: The 90s had some of the best cartoons, from “The Simpsons” to “Batman: The Animated Series.” You could throw a party that celebrates 90s cartoons, with screenings of classic episodes, cartoon-themed snacks, and cartoon trivia games.
- Dance party theme: The 90s was a great decade for dance music, from eurodance to boy bands. You could throw a party that celebrates 90s dance music, with a DJ playing hits from artists like NSYNC, Britney Spears, and Backstreet Boys. Encourage your guests to dress up in their best 90s dance outfits.
- Game show theme: The 90s had some iconic game shows, from “Jeopardy!” to “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” You could have a party that celebrates 90s game shows, with game show-themed snacks, decorations, and trivia games.
- Sports theme: The 90s saw some great moments in sports, from Michael Jordan’s basketball dominance to the U.S. women’s soccer team’s World Cup win. You could have a party that celebrates 90s sports, with sports-themed snacks, decorations, and trivia games.
- New Year’s Eve theme: The 90s saw the turn of the millennium, which was a huge moment in history. You could have a New Year’s Eve-themed party that celebrates the end of the 90s and the start of the new millennium, with decorations, music, and games that reflect the era.
How to Plan a 90s-Themed Party
If you’re wanting to throw a 90s themed party these are the steps and considerations you should go through when planning your party. If you use these steps and ideas as inspiration for your party, you’re sure to throw and incredible party that will impress all your guests.
Create invitations that incorporate popular 90s themes and design elements, such as neon colors, geometric shapes, or iconic symbols from the decade. Some more idea for 90s-themed invitaitons are:
- Use iconic 90s pop culture references: Incorporate popular 90s references into your invitation design. Consider using images or references from iconic 90s TV shows like “Friends,” “Saved by the Bell,” or “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” or popular movies like “Clueless,” “Titanic,” or “Jurassic Park.”
- Use 90s-inspired fonts and colors: Use a font that was popular in the 90s, like Comic Sans or Papyrus, and incorporate neon colors and geometric shapes to create a 90s-inspired design.
- Use 90s catchphrases or slang: Use popular 90s slang or catchphrases in your invitation wording, such as “As if,” “Talk to the hand,” or “All that and a bag of chips.”
- Incorporate 90s music: Use lyrics or images from popular 90s songs in your invitation design to set the tone for your party. For example, you could use a line from a Nirvana or Spice Girls song.
- Use iconic 90s items: Incorporate images of popular 90s items like Tamagotchis, Beanie Babies, or Discmans in your invitation design to give guests a nostalgic feeling and get them excited for the party.
Use 90s-themed decorations to transform your party space. Some ideas include neon balloons, paper chains made of cassette tapes, and posters of popular 90s movies, TV shows, and bands. There is literally no end to the creativity you could use when planning decorations for your party.
- Use neon colors: Neon colors were popular in the 90s, so consider using neon tablecloths, streamers, balloons, and other decorations to add a pop of color to your party.
- Display posters and cutouts: Hang up posters and cutouts of popular 90s TV shows, movies, and music artists like Friends, Titanic, and Nirvana.
- Hang posters and memorabilia: Hang posters of popular 90s movies, TV shows, and bands like “Friends,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Nirvana, or Backstreet Boys, to transport guests back to the 90s.
- Incorporate geometric shapes: Use geometric shapes like triangles, circles, and squares in your decorations to add a touch of 90s style to your party.
- Use 90s-themed props: Set up props like inflatable chairs, lava lamps, and oversized sunglasses to add a playful 90s vibe to your party.
- Display 90s-themed art: Use art inspired by the 90s, such as pixelated graphics or graffiti-style murals, to create a fun and unique backdrop for your party.
- Beaded curtains: Hang up beaded curtains as a decoration, a popular item during the 90s, to give your party space a retro vibe.
- Glow sticks and black lights: Use glow sticks and black lights to create a fun and colorful atmosphere, reminiscent of 90s raves and parties.
- Cassette tapes and CDs: Display cassette tapes and CDs of popular 90s music artists like Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and Spice Girls as a decoration.
- Use TV screens to show old Movies, Shows, or Music Videos: Set up old TV screens playing classic 90s TV shows and movies like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Full House, or Home Alone. Or have it playing music videos from the 90s.
No 90s party is complete without the right music. Create a playlist of popular songs from the decade, including hits from artists like Nirvana, TLC, Spice Girls, and Britney Spears. You could also consider hiring a DJ who specializes in 90s music if you’re really fancy.
Heck, some people even plan their entire 90s-themed party around a single artist or genre. I recently went to a Spice Girl’s themed party where everyone dressed as their favorite Spice Girl and we danced to all their greatest hits, it was a blast. Hip-hop and grunge music and fashion style were a heavy influence in the 90s, so a party themed around these genres would have tons of possibilities as well.
Aside from just throwing together a list of top hits, here are some genres that were especially popular in the 90s.
- Pop Hits: Pop music was huge in the 90s, so be sure to include some of the decade’s biggest hits from artists like Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Spice Girls, and Mariah Carey.
- Grunge and Alternative Rock: The 90s were also known for the rise of grunge and alternative rock. Some of the most popular bands of the era include Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Smashing Pumpkins.
- Hip-Hop and R&B: Hip-hop and R&B were also popular in the 90s, so consider playing tracks from artists like Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., TLC, Aaliyah, and Boyz II Men.
- Eurodance: Eurodance was also a huge genre in the 90s, and was characterized by upbeat, catchy tunes with danceable beats. Some popular Eurodance artists include Aqua, Vengaboys, La Bouche, and Real McCoy.
- TV and Movie Soundtracks: Many TV shows and movies from the 90s had iconic soundtracks, so consider playing tracks from shows like “Friends” or “Beverly Hills, 90210,” or movies like “Clueless” or “Pulp Fiction.”
4. Food and Drinks
Serve 90s-themed snacks and drinks at your party, such as Pop Rocks, Tang, and Jell-O pudding pops. You could also consider serving cocktails named after popular 90s TV shows or movies, like “Saved by the Bellini” or “Clueless Cosmo.”
- Popular 90s Candies: There were so many fun and nostalgic candies in the 90s that you can still buy today. Check out this list of over 50 90s candies and where to buy them for a plethora of ideas to fill up your party table.
- Surge or Crystal Pepsi or Squeeze-its& Other Nostalgic Drinks: These sodas were both popular in the 90s and can add a fun touch to your drink selection. If you can’t find the actual thing at the stores, you could print some labels to tape on similar sodas to get the nostalgic feel. Real squeeze-its might not be available anymore, but there are other drinks brands making squeezable drinks that will be a good substitute.
- Dunkaroos: These snack packs of cookies and frosting were hugely popular in the 90s and are still available today, making them an easy and fun addition to your snack table. I also love this homemade Dunkaroos dip for parties, as you can make a huge batch that works great for a party table.
- Bagel Bites: These mini bagel pizzas were a hit in the 90s and are a tasty and easy snack to serve at your party.
- Jell-O Pudding Pops: These frozen treats were famously endorsed by Bill Cosby in the 90s and can be a fun and delicious addition to your dessert table. They are easy to make yourself, and are a great topic of conversation.
- Fruit Roll-Ups and Gushers: These fruit snacks were also popular in the 90s and can be a fun and nostalgic addition to your snack table. If you grew up in the 90s, you can probably remember these commercials.
- DIY “Lunchables”: These pre-packaged lunches were popular in the 90s, but you can make your own by providing crackers, cheese, and meat for your guests to assemble their own mini sandwiches.
- Tater Tots: These classic potato nuggets were a popular side dish in the 90s and can be a tasty addition to your party’s menu.
Encourage your guests to come dressed in their best 90s-inspired outfits. Think denim overalls, flannel shirts, scrunchies, and chokers. Dressing up for a party is so much fun and most people could probably put together a 90s-esq costume without having to buy much at all.
For more ideas and inspiration for 90s aesthetics, check out this article: Everything You Need to Know to Rock a 90s Aesthetic(Opens in a new browser tab)
Here are some more ideas for a ’90s-inspired costume:
- Grunge Look: The grunge movement was popular in the 90s and characterized by flannel shirts, ripped jeans, and combat boots. You can easily recreate this look with some thrift store finds.
- Pop Star: The 90s were full of iconic pop stars like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and the Spice Girls. You can recreate their looks with some bold, colorful clothing and accessories.
- Hip-Hop Style: The 90s were also known for hip-hop fashion, which included baggy pants, oversized shirts, and chunky jewelry. You can also add a backwards baseball cap to complete the look.
- TV and Movie Characters: The 90s had plenty of iconic TV shows and movies, and you can dress up as your favorite character. Some popular options include Cher from “Clueless,” Rachel Green from “Friends,” and the cast of “Saved by the Bell.”
- Superheroes: The 90s were also a big era for superhero movies and TV shows. You can dress up as Batman, Superman, or even the Power Rangers.
- Athletes: The 90s were full of legendary athletes like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, and Andre Agassi. You can dress up as your favorite athlete by sporting their team’s jersey and accessories.
6. Games and activities:
Plan some 90s-themed games and activities to keep your guests entertained. You could set up a Nintendo 64 or PlayStation with classic 90s games, like Super Mario 64 or Crash Bandicoot. Or, you could have a trivia contest featuring questions about 90s pop culture. A dance party or karaoke to popular 90s hits are also great ideas.
Here are a few more ideas for 90s-themed games:
- 90s Trivia: Test your guests’ knowledge of the 90s with a trivia game that covers everything from pop culture to current events. You can divide guests into teams or have everyone play individually.
- Dance-Off: Play some classic 90s music and host a dance-off competition. You can give out prizes for the best moves or the most enthusiastic dancer. Use classic 90s dance moves like the Macarena, the Running Man, or the Roger Rabbit.
- Karaoke: Set up a karaoke machine and let your guests sing along to their favorite 90s hits. You can also have a competition for the best singer.
- Guess That 90s Song: Play a few seconds of a 90s song and have guests try to guess the title and artist. You can have a prize for the guest who correctly guesses the most songs.
- Video Game Tournament: Set up classic 90s video games like Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., or GoldenEye 007, and host a tournament. You can have guests compete against each other in different games and give out prizes for the winners.
- DIY Tie-Dye: Tie-dye was a big trend in the 90s, and you can provide white t-shirts or other items for guests to create their own tie-dye creations. This can be a fun and creative activity for guests of all ages.
- Crafts: Host a 90s-themed craft party where guests can create friendship bracelets or decorate their own snap bracelets.
- Board games: Board games were very popular in the 90s, so consider having some classic board games like Scrabble, Clue, or Monopoly available for guests to play.
- Rollerblading, playing with Tamagotchis, or making friendship bracelets, and so much more!
What are some popular fashion trends from the 90s that I can incorporate into my party outfit?
The 90s had a distinct fashion sense that is still popular today. Here are some popular fashion trends from the 90s that you can incorporate into your party outfit:
- Denim: Denim was a popular fabric in the 90s, and you can incorporate it into your outfit in the form of a denim jacket, jeans, or a denim skirt.
- Flannel: Flannel shirts were a popular fashion trend in the 90s, and you can incorporate them into your outfit by wearing a flannel shirt over a t-shirt or tying a flannel shirt around your waist.
- Overalls: Overalls were a popular fashion trend in the 90s, and you can wear them with a t-shirt or crop top for a retro look.
- Platform shoes: Platform shoes were a popular shoe trend in the 90s, and you can incorporate them into your outfit with platform sneakers or boots.
- Chokers: Chokers were a popular accessory in the 90s, and you can wear a choker necklace to add a touch of 90s style to your outfit.
- Bright colors: The 90s were known for their bold and bright colors, so you can incorporate neon or bright colors into your outfit for a fun and retro look.
- Baggy clothes: Baggy clothes were a popular trend in the 90s, so you can wear baggy jeans, oversized t-shirts, or a baggy sweatshirt for a comfortable and stylish outfit.
What are some popular music genres and artists from the 90s that I can play at my party?
The 90s was a great era for music with many popular genres and artists that are still beloved today. Here are some popular music genres and artists from the 90s that you can play at your party:
- Pop: Popular pop artists of the 90s include Britney Spears, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, and Christina Aguilera.
- Alternative rock: Popular alternative rock bands of the 90s include Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day, and Radiohead.
- Hip hop and rap: Popular hip hop and rap artists of the 90s include Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, and Dr. Dre.
- Grunge: Grunge was a popular music genre in the 90s, and popular grunge bands include Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains.
- R&B: Popular R&B artists of the 90s include Boyz II Men, Mariah Carey, TLC, Destiny’s Child, and Whitney Houston.
- Electronic dance music (EDM): Popular EDM artists of the 90s include The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, and The Prodigy.
These are just a few examples of popular music genres and artists from the 90s that you can play at your party. You can mix and match these genres to create a playlist that captures the spirit of the 90s and keeps your guests entertained throughout the night.
What are some popular TV shows and movies from the 90s that I can screen at my party?
There were many popular TV shows and movies that came out in the 90s. Here are some popular ones that you can screen at your party:
Popular 90s TV Shows For Your Party:
- Friends (1994-2004)
- Seinfeld (1989-1998)
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996)
- Saved by the Bell (1989-1993)
- Full House (1987-1995)
- The X-Files (1993-2002)
- Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000)
- The Simpsons (1989-present)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)
- Dawson’s Creek (1998-2003)
Popular 90s Movies For Your Party:
- Titanic (1997)
- Jurassic Park (1993)
- The Lion King (1994)
- Pulp Fiction (1994)
- Forrest Gump (1994)
- The Matrix (1999)
- Clueless (1995)
- Goodfellas (1990)
- Home Alone (1990)
- The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
These are just a few examples of popular TV shows and movies from the 90s that you can screen at your party. You can choose the ones that you think will resonate the most with your guests and create a fun and nostalgic atmosphere.
What are some popular snacks and drinks from the 90s that I can serve at my party?
Here are some popular snacks and drinks from the 90s that you can serve at your party:
Popular Snacks for a 90s Party:
- Pop Rocks
- Fruit Roll-Ups
- Bubble Tape
- Ring Pops
- Shark Bites
- Pixy Stix
Popular Drinks for a 90s Party:
- Hi-C Ecto Cooler
- Crystal Pepsi
- Capri Sun
- Jolt Cola
- Clearly Canadian
- Pepsi Blue
These snacks and drinks were very popular in the 90s and are sure to bring back nostalgic memories for your guests. You can also consider serving classic 90s fast food like McDonald’s Happy Meals or Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas to fully embrace the 90s theme.
What are some popular slang terms and catchphrases from the 90s that I can use in my party invitations and decorations?
Here are some popular slang terms and catchphrases from the 90s that you can use in your party invitations and decorations:
- “As if!” – popularized by the movie Clueless
- “Talk to the hand!” – a dismissive phrase used to tell someone to go away
- “Get jiggy with it” – a phrase popularized by Will Smith’s hit song “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”
- “Wazzup?” – a catchphrase from a popular Budweiser beer commercial
- “All that and a bag of chips” – a phrase used to describe someone who thinks highly of themselves
- “Don’t go there” – a phrase used to tell someone not to bring up a sensitive topic
- “Booyah!” – a celebratory phrase used to express excitement or triumph
- “You go, girl!” – an expression of support and encouragement
- “Talk about a blast from the past” – a phrase used to reference something old or nostalgic
Incorporating these slang terms and catchphrases into your party invitations and decorations can help to set the 90s theme and create a fun and nostalgic atmosphere for your guests.
How can I create a fun and engaging atmosphere that captures the spirit of the 90s and keeps my guests entertained throughout the night?
Here are some tips for creating a fun and engaging atmosphere for your 90s-themed party:
- Plan games and activities that were popular in the 90s. Some examples include playing with Tamagotchis, having a dance-off to 90s music, playing Mario Kart on a Nintendo 64, or hosting a trivia game about 90s pop culture.
- Create a playlist of popular 90s songs that your guests can dance and sing along to. You can also hire a DJ to play 90s hits and remixes.
- Serve popular snacks and drinks from the 90s, such as Pop Rocks, Tang, Surge soda, Dunkaroos, or Fruit Roll-Ups.
- Create a 90s-themed photo booth where your guests can take pictures with props and accessories inspired by the decade, such as neon-colored sunglasses, snap bracelets, or bucket hats.
- Encourage your guests to dress up in 90s-inspired outfits and have a costume contest with prizes for the best dressed.
- Decorate your party space with posters, neon lights, and other decor items that reflect the 90s aesthetic, such as cassette tapes, VHS tapes, or old-school video game consoles.
By incorporating these ideas into your party planning, you can create a fun and engaging atmosphere that captures the spirit of the 90s and keeps your guests entertained throughout the night.
Final Thoughts on Throwing a 90s-Themed Party
In conclusion, throwing a 90s-themed party can be a fun and unique way to bring people together and celebrate the nostalgia of the decade. By incorporating elements like decorations, music, costumes, snacks, and activities, you can create an unforgettable experience that pays homage to the pop culture icons that defined the era.
Whether you’re looking to relive your own memories of the 90s or introduce a new generation to the decade’s best music and fashion, a 90s-themed party is a great way to celebrate the fun and spirit of the era. So put on your platform shoes, grab a can of Surge soda, and get ready to party like it’s 1999!
I hope these ideas help you plan a fun and memorable 90s-themed party!
Have you been to a 90s-themed party lately? Share your favorite parts with us in the comments below!