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1960s Party Ideas

austin powers
Austin Powers loves a sixties party

The 60s was a time when people celebrated life with overwhelming flamboyance and minimal restraint. The era, after all, was not called “The Swinging Sixties” for nothing. Looking back, it was a period when social awareness was heightened, as much of the population wanted to break out of the norms set by previous generations. That experimental era was instrumental in the development of our current society and most of all, the arts.

By organizing a 60s-themed party, you should be able to give life to the subversive philosophy held by everyone during that generation. You don’t really need to come up with something revolutionary. Just fill your party with significant 60s emblems like the tie-dye shirt, the hippie subculture and of course, the most important of all musical movements - the British Invasion.

Invitations: One Love, A Thousand Invitation Ideas

The only reason why 60s-themed invitations are hard to make is the overwhelming number of ideas. The era is practically filled with memorable figures that can inspire your whole party, much less the invitation’s design. You can narrow down your choices by focusing on the generation’s most prominent icons.

sixties invites
Groovy party invitations

  • Beatles Album Covers - Ideally, the invitation should be striking enough to attract prospective guests. Why not use the most influential band in history, The Beatles, as the inspiration for your invites? Download the album cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and run it through Adobe Photoshop. Substitute “The Beatles” for the name of your party/event while replace “Sgt. Pepper’s…” with the important info. You can also experiment with a dozen more Beatles albums to choose from.
  • Tie-Dye - For a simple yet striking effect, you can either design your invitation with a tie-dye pattern or you can style the whole thing into a miniature tie-dye shirt. People will instantly get the right feel for the party the moment they see your invites. (Learn how to tie-dye)
  • Hemp Leaf - No other generation has more right to use hemp as a design than the 60s. By styling your invite like a cannabis leaf, potential guests will not really be prompted to imitate the rampant drug use during that generation. The whole idea of using a popular 60s “recreational” drug will tickle your guests interests. You should reserve this idea only for birthdays and informal functions.
  • A Psycho Invitation - Psycho, being one of the most popular movies released during the 60s, is a good theme for your invitation. Just tweak the movie’s immortalized poster and insert all the important information regarding your party or event.
  • Paper Cutout - If you want to get a little creative, you can make an invitation that is styled like a paper cutout, which is a popular hippie creation. Make a cutout of people with joined hands. On one side, write the title of your party/event, the important information and the list of activities and meals. Place the names of the invited guests on the opposite side.
  • Peace Sign - Your easiest option is to decorate your invitation with a peace sign. On top of the round symbol, place the name of your event. Indicate all the necessary information beneath the sign or on the back page.

These are only a few examples of what you can apply. With the number of significant things and events during the 60s, you can surely find more than one suitable idea for your invitation.

Attire: The Psychedelic and the Strikingly Formal

You have two general options when selecting the attire for your party. Youngsters will be enthralled wearing hippie attire, since it is relaxed yet rebellious. Ironically, the 60s formal theme is both flashy and classy — perfect for the Hollywood red carpet. As you can see, the term “middle ground” wasn’t really in fashion during that era.

  • The Hippie Look - The hippie subculture was prevalent during the 60s, so you might as well adopt it for your party. Men can wear a tie-dyed shirt or a button-down shirt with floral prints, bell-bottom jeans, and a pair of sneakers. Women, on the other hand, can don an oversized tussled shirt or a sleeveless tye-died blouse, tight jeans and cowboy boots. Additional accessories that they can wear are headbands, armbands and vests. (Tips on how to make a hippy costume)
  • The Dick Tracy - Jessica Rabbit Look - Dick Tracy and Jessica Rabbit may be characters from the past, but their fashion statements remain timeless. Men can emulate Tracy, minus the yellow color scheme, by wearing a tuxedo, a tall hat and a tommy gun. Women can wear elegant 60s tube dresses, complete with boas and long black stilettos.
Peace man!
hippie attire
Cool hippie costume

Both options are vastly different, so obviously, the first one goes with informal gatherings while the fashionable wardrobes are reserved for classy costume parties and formal events.

Venue: Peace, Love and a Place to Party

During the 60s, people were still experimenting with their hedonistic tendencies. Some were truly extravagant while the rest preferred the organic way of having fun. Just select a venue, according to your event’s level of formality.

hippie park
Hippies in the park

  • The Park - Hippies, up to this date, settle in communities that are situated in parks or near forests. You can take a page from their book and use a similar venue for a convention or an informal event. Find a large grassy space then set up chairs, tables, some spotlights, and a stage. Make sure that there is sizable free space for games and activities. As for the props, place banners carrying the peace sign all over the place. You can also arrange tents, bonfires, posters of 60s bands and objects with psychedelic colors.
  • The Beach or the Pool - One of the most prominent figures in music during the 60s were the Beach Boys. You can base the location of your event from their music - beach music. You can hold your party at the beach or at any place that has a nice swimming pool. After the program, you can start a food fight, then when everyone is soiled, you can all dive into the pool or the beach.
  • Hotel Function Room - For the flashy, the classy, and the elegant, the hotel function room appears to be the only option. You can design the place as if it was a set from an old gangster movie. Set up several strategically placed casino games around the room. Put a stage at the center or far end of the room. Set the lights to a dim yellow and never forget to install a spotlight. When everything has been arranged, you’d get the feeling that Al Capone or Don Corleone might come out of it at any moment.
  • Classy Casino - The grand casinos in Las Vegas are perfect for your party since they have enough space and require minimal preparations. Just follow the setup for hotel function rooms.

The venue is instrumental since it sets the event’s tone and activities. If you selected an appropriate location for your party, everyone will already be in the proper mood even before the festivities formally begin.

Activities: Mixing Fun with a Little Flower Power

Given the numerous events during the 60s, ideas for party activities are practically endless. Each event or detail can be a game or an activity for your party. You can even have a complete rundown of the entire era through your selection.

  • The 60s Trivia Quiz - Let’s face it: the 60s happened ages ago. Not everyone can remember all the events, characters, movies and music at that time. You can bank on that fact and hold a 60s trivia quiz. Prepare a series of questions spanning various categories like politics, media and the arts. People with strong memories or those who did some research definitely have an advantage.
  • Rock Star Night - The 60s was an instrumental era in the formation of the music that we hear on the radio today. You might as well pay tribute to the pioneers by holding a 60s themed battle of the bands. The groups will only play covers from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin and the other influential acts.

    The beatles were the best, just watch this video of one of their concerts in the 60’s.

    You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

  • Headband Toss - If today’s essential fashion accessory is the shawl or the baller ID, its 60s counterpart is the headband. Since practically everyone wore it, you can create a party game out of it. Set up three stakes (or wooden pegs ) at the far end of the activity area. Ask the attendants to form three groups and line up in front of their designated pegs. The group who shoots the most number of headbands through the stakes (from five feet away) is declared the winner.
  • Hire Bands and Sexy Singers - A 60s party will never be complete without popular music during that age. Hire professional bands that can and are willing to play hits from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elvis and The Beach boys for one night. You should also hire a few crooners who will sing sexy 60s ballads, and a group of sultry female singers for the populace of ogling males.
  • Casino and Texas Hold ‘Em Poker - Playing casino and Texas Hold ‘Em in a formal 60s party will make you feel like a real gangster, given that the people are dressed either like Dick Tracy or Jessica Rabbit. As a result, those games will be more fun and competitive. Those who are in character might even think that they are betting off estates and drug cartel earnings while they are at the poker table.

    Check out this tutorial to learn the basics of Texas Hold’ em.

    You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

  • The Organic Cookout - Hippies love organic food and the outdoors so if you combine the two, you’ll get the organic cookout. It works just like a regular Sunday outdoor grill without the meat and the addition of someone playing Bob Dylan songs on the acoustic guitar.

Check out this 1960’s party in Moscow.

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Food: Organic Soup for the Soul

Just eat what you want at the buffet table

Hippies believe that things naturally borne from the earth make the best meals. You can follow this philosophy when it comes to serving food at your party. If you are a naturally born meat eater, you have the option to eat grilled veggie meat dishes or simply go for the usual slab of steak that you always wanted. For formal gatherings, food really isn’t really counted as a particular. You should just provide a nice buffet or ala carte dinner.

According to Paul Kanter, vocalist of famed 60s band Jefferson Airplane, “If you can remember anything about the sixties, you weren’t really there.” That line simply shows how much fun people had during that generation. In your case, you can make that line your creed as you throw a wild and amusing 60s party, where people will not remember a single event the morning after. You might actually start a new 60s trend in this day and age.

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