I’m off to a party this Saturday night (25th October) but no, it’s not a Halloween one. I will, however, be dressing up since it’s a themed 1980s party for my niece who has turned the magical age of 30.
When told of the party theme, I had to have a major think of what I could do about dressing up in context. The 1980s doesn’t seem all that long ago to me and yet it’s a bit of a blur. What had I done that was memorable, but also means I can’t remember much about the 80s?
I’m not a big fan of up-to-date music so dressing up as Madonna was ruled out –my shape, I’m sad to say, is all wrong for this costume, you know my legs being too short and all that (phew! insert a *smiley face* here) … and if someone asked me to sing one of her songs, I’d be snookered because I may have listened to music but I didn’t ‘absorb’ the words!
My daughters were born in 1979 and 1981, in Holland, so that was a huge part of the reason the decade of the 80s was a blur.
Do I remember much of TV shows? Not really- apart from those for young kids. We watched ‘Sesamstraat’, the Dutch version of Sesame Street during 1980 and 1981, and then the American version when we returned to Scotland in 1892. Was a character from that a possibility for dressing up? Maybe – but Big Bird sounded way to difficult to make a costume for.
During the second half of the decade, the TV programmes tended to be of the varieties for older kids – the action types like She-Ra and Wonder Woman. They’d make brilliant costume ideas but… my excuses are similar to those for Madonna.
I read a LOT to my kids when they were at pre-school stages. The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Could I use that as a theme for the 80s? Maybe, but I wasn’t sure if any caterpillar costume that I made was something most people would recognise. We had lots of Books n’ Tapes but again I’m too lazy (and have no time) t0 make a costume from scratch for one of these characters.
How did I spend my leisure time, I asked myself, and would that give me an iconic idea for the 80s? My husband travelled a lot worldwide for his work and was often away for weeks at a time. That meant it was me home with the kids, so rightly or wrongly, I personally didn’t do much that wasn’t close to home of an evening. Tupperware, Cosmetics and Jewellery parties were a ‘Craze’ but they don’t provide much for dressing up ideas. I don’t fancy going with a tupperware bowl on my head and a few more at strategic places!! Nope! (though I do still have the bowls and some jewellery)
I did a lot of sewing of clothes, some knitting and lots of tapestry sewing. Again, not everybody did that and not a ‘fancy dress’ concept. Any other spare time for myself was devoted to reading, and reading, and more reading of novels pure escapism stuff. But no ideas there, I’m afraid.
Almost in despair of finding something really representative of the 1980s, I turned to the internet to see what ‘ready made’ costumes were available. Fabulous inexpensive ‘She-Ra’, ‘Wonder Woman’ or ‘Super Girl’ costumes but I’d rejected those!
Cabbage Patch doll? I thought they were horrible. I still think they’re horrible. But what about other iconic toys? My Little Pony? I loved buying those, and all the extras for them, for my kids and we still have some well worn ponies in storage down in our cellar – but I’m not growing two new legs for one party night’s costume.
However- When I saw this costume, I knew it was perfect for me!
Rubik Cubes were mega popular in Scotland. On seeing the outfit, I remembered the amount of hours I spent doing various kinds of games during the 1980s. Some were shared with my family and others were of the solitary nature – The Rubik Cube only one of these.
We played Mastermind, Brain Trainer, Stratego, Risk, Trivial Pursuit, Backgammon, Monopoly, Solitaire, Spirograph…and loads more.
Here’s a list of some of those I remember playing… Did you play any of these?
Of course, since my hubby worked as a computer consultant in the oil and gas industry, we also had the earliest PC computers during the 1980s. He installed some great games for the kids which now would seem incredibly simple to kids today. I would need a whole separate blog post to describe what my husband acquired for us to play and the computers we had to play on.
So, I’m going to the party as a Rubik Cube.
What games or puzzles do you remember from the 1980s?
And an even better question- what would you dress up as to go to the party?
I’m going to have a lovely weekend. My best wishes to you, too, for a nice break.
ps- Since I have to drive 150 miles to get to the party I’ve got to head off very soon. I’ll check in and respond to replies as soon as I can.
Nancy Jardine writes historical adventures and contemporary mysteries- some more romantic than others.
Find her work at Amazon US author page
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