12 Vintage 50s Theme Party Ideas (2024)


Event venues on Peerspace typically cost $50 — $350 per hour.

Looking for some killer 50s theme party ideas? Well then, you’ve come to the right place! After all, Peerspace is the largest online marketplace for hourly venue rentals, including spaces that bring your themed parties to life with ease. We help people like you across the globe secure stunning party venues to call their own for a few hours. So needless to say, we’ve seen a lot of themed parties, and wish to pass along our knowledge of what works best when hosting one.

Maybe you’re the rockabilly type and have an aesthetic fascination with breathing new life into retro fashion. Or perhaps you’re tired of the same ol’ hula or nautical-themed parties. Whatever motivates you, throwing a 50s-themed party is both fun and easily achievable. With a little research and a trip to the thrift store, you can have yourself a fête to remember. We’ve got you covered. Here are 12 great vintage 50s-themed party ideas.

1. Book a 50s party-perfect vintage space through Peerspace

50s Theme Party Ideas
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Our first idea is the foundation of a good party. There are so many reasons you may not want to host your party at your own home. Maybe the parking in your neighborhood is terrible, or perhaps you’re just not ready to have so many people in your personal space.

Peerspace is the answer. With thousands of rentable spaces across North America and beyond, you’re sure to find an event venue perfect for your retro get-together. For this party theme in particular, there are countless chic mid-century modern homes available that’ll make the perfect setting.

Plus, when you book a Peerspace venue, you can enjoy assistance from your venue’s friendly local host. They strive to help your event go off perfectly and can often help you source gourmet catering, find entertainment, and hire servers. Using Peerspace can make throwing an epic party fast and easy.

2. Set a dress code so guests will rock their best 50s fashion

chicago retro diner
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It’s time to raid the attic and hit up your local second-hand store. The 50s didn’t have the most diverse fashion of any decade, but you’ve still got great options. You could wear a swing skirt and lean into the Ideal Housewife look, or perhaps tapered slacks and a black turtleneck if you know in your heart you definitely would’ve been a beatnik.

Put a modern twist on this idea and go against the tired stereotypes rampant in that era by gender-bending your outfits. Guys in poodle skirts, gals in business suits, you get the idea!

3. Play What’s My Line, a 50s gameshow pioneer

33rd Birthday Photoshoot Ideas
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What’s My Line is a classic TV game show that had celebrity guests as far-ranging as Salvador Dalí and KFC’s founder The Colonel. The game is basically a panel version of “20 questions”. The standard starter questions are things like “would it fit in a bread box?” and “could I be seen walking down Fifth Avenue with this?” Indulge yourself and watch an episode or two. You’re not goofing off; it’s research.

Need a uniquely retro space to pull off this idea? Then check out this mid-century modern retro living room in Phoenix, AZ. This production set has hundreds of rave reviews from past Peerspace renters and looks frozen in time and can make a fun setting for What’s My Line!

Our unique decades party ideas for all eras can bring all your vintage gathering dreams to life!

4. Use mid-century slang, man

Marilyn Monroe Photoshoot Ideas
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Hey daddy-o, if you’re going for a really immersive experience, consider creating print-outs with old slang, sharing them with your guests, and asking them to learn a few of their favorites to speak throughout the party. Here’s a simple list of the 1950s slang words worth remembering to help you out. You can even make it competitive if that’s more your speed and have a prize for whoever incorporates the most dated language throughout the night. You dig it?

5. Try retro activities to gamify your party, 1950s style

50s Theme Party Ideas
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In planning a retro party, eBay is your friend. You can find long-forgotten oddities like a golf card game, tabletop bowling, and vintage Mahjong made from what else but Bakelite. Just be sure to search “50s games,” not “retro games,” that’ll just spit out a bunch of N64 game cartridges. Oh, and skip the lawn darts. Losing an eye isn’t worth the edgy novelty.

6. Build an excellent playlist

Marilyn Monroe Photoshoot Ideas
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Chuck Berry’s groundbreaking rock n’ roll, Dean Martin’s charm, and Billie Holiday’s enchanting voice. The 50s was a decade that brought us some of the all-time most famous musicians ever to grace an American stage. Check out who was on American Bandstand throughout the decade and build yourself a star-studded playlist. Or if you don’t feel like doing all that work, just put on the soundtrack to the video game Fallout. Also, 100 bonus points if you have a record player that isn’t just for decoration.

7. Recreate weird 50s recipes, if you dare

Bachelorette Party Decoration Ideas
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Okay, this one is one of our favorite retro 50s-themed party Ideas. For reasons the world may never know, there was a massive lapse in judgment during the 1950s in the world of home cooking. Women who had been working the decade before in factories to support the war effort were now stuck at home and bored out of their minds, so they got creative in, let’s say, unique ways.

At a 50s dinner party, you might be served any number of oddities like tuna and Jell-O pie, Spam and lima beans, or bananas and herring. Search these recipes online and make a few that seem palatable while preserving the novelty.

Make it happen at this perfectly retro kitchen in Berkeley that is just one room in a gorgeous mid-century gem home. You can find glorious kitchen space rentals across the globe by using Peerspace. Just be sure to also use keywords like “retro,” “vintage,” and “historic” to ensure you find the MCM-styled spaces with ease.

8. Test your Cold War knowledge

50s Theme Party Ideas
Source: Peerspace

This one is among our more niche vintage 50s-themed party ideas. If your friends are the nerdier type, there’s a good chance they take trivia very seriously. The Cold War was an infinitely fascinating time of intrigue, technology, and paranoia. Quiz them on Sputnik — the first Soviet satellite in space — Duck and Cover drills and the arms race. It’ll get heavy, but there’s surely one guest who has been waiting for just such an occasion to flex how many relevant Wikipedia articles they’ve read.

9. Hit the dance floor and bust out some sweet 50s moves

Outdoor Photoshoot Locations in Long Beach
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Your guests didn’t order those reproduction poodle skirts for nothin’; they want to spin! Take that great playlist you built, crank up the tunes and clear some space in the living room. Swing was all the rage with hip youths back in the day, so encourage your guests to try out some of those dizzying moves. You can go freeform or check out some YouTube videos and dance along.

Love this idea? Then amplify it with our epic dance party ideas!

10. Have a costume chest photo-op

NEW* Glamour Vintage + Pink Hollywood Production Studio
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Like any costume party, not everyone is going to follow directions. However, if you set up a backdrop with good lighting, people will flock to it. Therefore, set up a vintage corner that just screams 50s, and your guests will create lasting souvenirs of your amazing party by way of social media shares. Because after all, if you don’t put it on the ‘gram, did it really happen?

We think a photoshoot like this deserves the perfect setting to capture the moment effectively. Luckily, Peerspace offers you access to incredible themed photo studios in cities everywhere. For example, check out this glamour vintage pink Hollywood production set in Miami, FL, and revel in its bold 50s styling. Have accessories like cat-eye glasses, fedoras, and a few ascots ready for them to don and flash those pearly whites.

11. Listen to classic comedy

50s Theme Party Ideas
Source: Peerspace

Dig through online collections of old comedy albums to hear the likes of Jerry Lewis and the musical hilarity of Tom Lehrer. If you’re a fan of the Amazon show Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, you’ll know it was a big deal for a lady to be in the stand-up game, so just be ready for a lot of guys telling old-ball-and-chain, my-wife’s-a-drag type jokes.

12. Set the tone by streaming 50s movie classics

Hollywood Heaven - Escape to Cinematic Bliss
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The 1950s was a crucial time for American cinema. Issues were discussed in a way that they never had been before. Celebrate this social awakening by screening some of the wildest movies from the 1950s. Think Blackboard Jungle, Forbidden Planet, Rebel Without a Cause, Carmen Jones, Jailhouse Rock, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

To make this idea extra special, host it in a private screening room that adds a touch of vintage elegance to the proceedings. One of our favorite choices is the private movie theater in this Hollywood heaven movie-themed home in Los Angeles, CA. It is room after room of colorful surroundings, and due to its other amenities, like a pool, a games room, and a popcorn machine(!), makes a great choice for hosting a party, anyway!

You and your guests don’t have to be glued to the screen and the storyline (this is a party, after all!) but just having the movies on in the background can set the tone, especially thanks to the music and outfits.

Peerspace + 50s theme party ideas will flip your lid

tiki bar and pool in backyard
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We hope this list has left you inspired and excited! Remember to combine these ideas with a Peerspace private party venue that has an undeniable vintage aesthetic. That way, you not only get to enjoy a space you can really dig without decorating and clean-up, but you and your guests will sink into the theme immediately!

We’ve shared with you 11 awesome vintage 50s-themed party ideas, from recipes with an inordinate amount of Jello-O to the fashion of yesteryear. Themed parties are a ton of fun and have so much potential to flex your creativity.

Plus, you can consult the venue’s host and see if they can take some of the work off your shoulders. They may be able to help you arrange catering, entertainment, furnishings, and more. That way, all you have to do is take some of our suggestions and make the rest all your own. We hope we’ve inspired you to throw a party to remember!

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