Back to the Eighties, picnic style
June 17, 2018 5:25 AM   Subscribe

Help me plan the best, but also easiest and low key 80s related picnic/party.

As myself and himself never threw a wedding party we are currently planning a 5 year anniversary picnic. We've settled on a theme, Back to the Eighties, and are encouraging film inspired costumes. I've also told people that if they wanna eat they should bring food.
However I do want to prepare some food, and just generally make the picnic feel like the 80s.
So what easy, make ahead food can I prep? And what decorations/games would work. All ages will be attending, and it is July so I am hoping a lot will happen outside, but I live in Ireland, so it could be pissing rain and blowing a gale.
It'll all be happening at my house/garden/field so I will have easy access to ovens, fridges, and other necessities.
posted by Fence to Food & Drink (30 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Nothing screams "1980s picnic" like Capri Sun.
posted by googly at 6:01 AM on June 17, 2018 [13 favorites]

Spinach Dip in a bread bowl can be made ahead of time, just put the dip in the bread around the time of the party so it doesn’t get too soggy.

80s style tricolor pasta salad can be made a day ahead and served cold.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 6:02 AM on June 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Salad with poppyseed dressing.
Loaded potato skins (cheddar, sour cream, scallions, bacon crumbles).

Activities: Hacky sack, Skip-it, Simon.
posted by apparently at 6:16 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Get some large plastic ants and paint them to look like this and place them around the food.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 6:23 AM on June 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

80s style tricolor pasta salad can be made a day ahead and served cold.

This. Every 80s picnic I went on had some form of a cold pasta salad like this. Also, wine coolers.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:33 AM on June 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Have them take the Pepsi Challenge.
posted by kimberussell at 6:39 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The main thing to make it feel 80s will be decorating in bright, dayglo colors. pLastic tablecloths, napkins, cups, plates, and whatever other decor you can do in neon pink, aqua, orange, lime green.

Give scrunchies as party favors.
posted by nantucket at 6:50 AM on June 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Quiche. Cool Ranch Doritos. Fruit Roll-Ups. Diet Coke. Crystal Light. New York Seltzer. Lawn darts.
posted by box at 6:52 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wine coolers!

Do they still sell them?
posted by jgirl at 7:34 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’d vote for California rolls and seven layer dip being included. And maybe peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 8:02 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Quavers, Skips, Monster Munch. Conspicuous jelly. Babysham-type thing. Fairy cakes, cubes of cheese-and-pineapple on sticks, cocktails sausages ditto.
Sausage rolls, scotch eggs, quorn. OMG quiche!!!!
Pin the tail on the Thatcher.
posted by runincircles at 8:04 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Definitely quiche. Pasta salads, but maybe not the authentic 80’s version, those are too gross. Same with cabbage-based salads. Garlic bread. Sun-dried tomatoes in everything. Balsamico in everything. Turkey instead of pork.
Inspiration from Provence, like ratatouille. Maybe lamb boulangere, though that might be a holdover from the 70’s?
My gran made crazy scrapbooks with recipes and other stuff she cut out from magazines, these are suggestions from a 1988 one.
posted by mumimor at 8:49 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sun Dried Tomatos on everything.

Pesto pizza.

Wine coolers or cocktails with sexual innuendo names.

If there was any candy or soda or juice brand that people ate with school lunches but don't regularly buy anymore, that can help activate some nostalgia (it would be Capri Sun in the US but might be a different brand in Ireland).

Plastic everything, either neon day-glo, or black/white/grey with a grid pattern tablecloth.
posted by ethical_caligula at 9:04 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

For party favors, get some cheap plastic RayBan Wayfarers knock-offs and spatter them with multiple colors of day-glow paint.
posted by carmicha at 9:40 AM on June 17, 2018

Music is the key; make an 80s play list and bring a speaker; chargeable bluetooth speakers are pretty inexpensive.
posted by carmicha at 9:42 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Brie, though I read the the brie boom started in the 70s, it lasted to the 80s.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:56 AM on June 17, 2018

Response by poster: Thanks guys! lots of great ideas there, although maybe not the pin the tail on the Thatcher, maybe Haughey & FitzGerald though...

And yes, there will certainly be an 80s playlist lined up.

I'm not sure if we had Capri Sun in the 80s, I remember drinking Wigwams, which were similar but in a tent shaped container, hence the name. They were also cheap and I don't think they're around any more. Capri Sun'll be a good replacement.
posted by Fence at 10:14 AM on June 17, 2018

Enlarging on the suggestion of the Pepsi Challenge, Schlitz challenged Budweiser in high-visibility taste tests as reported here. I take it for granted you will embargo any craft or micro brew beers that show up. There were plenty of new beers introduced in the 80s, most of which are gone, but some remain (song reference). Miller Genuine draft was introduced mid-80s.

Also on the beverage front, the 80s saw the introduction of bag-in-a-box packaging to beverages, and thus to what we call "box wine". I'm not sure when it became an "in" thing to drink white wine before a meal in lieu of a cocktail.
posted by SemiSalt at 10:24 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

You can get relatively cheap imprinted sunglasses. Tiki torches.
posted by theora55 at 10:40 AM on June 17, 2018

Best answer: Make a PacMan cake? It's just a round cake with a slice cut out of it, then frosted yellow, with candies for the eyes.
posted by mochapickle at 10:40 AM on June 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Eh, eighties rural Ireland is a hard sell! I remember my rural cousins being mindblown at Superquin chocolate yoghurts in the eighties and serviettes with patterns in them. Are you thinking eighties for adults or kids? Kids, as you say, retro candy, mikado biccies, cadet red lemonade, frozen burgers and potato waffles, findus crispy pancakes, popcorn made and then with some pink icing stirred in, sugar sammiges, crisp sammiges, Rayban and Swatch knockoffs, I would say pogs even though they are more ninties. Crop-tops over t-shirts, stonewashed jeans, BROS and those awful shoes they had, t-shirts with acid-house smiley faces on, hypercolour t-shirts, zig and zag, Johnny Logan, the IRA, cycling oh Jesus the cycling, not to mention Barry McGuire. Anyhow sure look, do an un-elevated chocolate-biscuit-cake with the smarties on top, tell everyone they’re expected to have a party piece prepared, and don’t be having notions :D
posted by Iteki at 11:52 AM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also pirate radio for the music, Atlantic 252 or whatever, and if you’re giving party bags with cake in when people are going home there should be fancy paper for the girls to swap! I suppose in a field you can’t play “curbs” but that would be great otherwise. Don’t let people drink-drive home tho, eighties as it may be.
posted by Iteki at 12:10 PM on June 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Do you have a soundtrack picked out? I'm assuming there's more overlap in what folks were listening to in Ireland and in the U.S. in the 80s - so how about Thriller-era Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, definitely Material Girl Madonna, Prince, Def Leppard, etc etc.

The music could also help direct some of the activities - if you want to have a "photo booth" with props, maybe some instant spray-can hair color, etc.
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:37 PM on June 17, 2018

I'm in the US but we had these Little Hugs more often in the 80s than Capri Suns in my town.

Also, vanilla fudge ice cream cups with wooden spoons.
posted by metasarah at 12:41 PM on June 17, 2018

Honey Graham Bears, Rice crispie squares. Twister, and slip n' slide.
posted by Blitz at 12:43 PM on June 17, 2018

A character cake frosted entirely with a star tip. (You probably won’t want to get a specialized cake pan, but you could sort of fake it by drawing a design on a rectangle/circle cake.)
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:45 PM on June 17, 2018

Don't forget the Chipwiches!
posted by mdrew at 3:06 PM on June 17, 2018

The music should be mix tapes played on a boom box.
posted by mefireader at 8:17 AM on June 18, 2018

Response by poster: It'll be mostly adults, although kids are welcome. The theme is 80s films, so US ideas are welcome, although anything Irish specific is great too.
I'm thinking quiches might be a very good idea.

I would love to get a boom box, but don't think I'd ever use it again so I think it'll just be wireless speakers for Madonna, Prince, Michael Jackson, et al. But I might do a bit of investigating to see if I can find a cheap one around.
Love the idea of a PacMan cake.

Iteki is it terrible that in my house Red Lemonade and potato waffles are still regularly bought? And so are mikados...
I'd forgotten about Johnny Logan, I wonder could I find a nice big poster of him to welcome everyone :)
posted by Fence at 9:27 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ah, amerikan eighties (un less you wanna do Eat the Peach) Then don’s forget Ghostbusters, you can do marshmallow related activity on the fire later in the evening and a green jelly Slimer goes a long way.
posted by Iteki at 10:04 AM on June 19, 2018

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