How to Host a 1970s-themed Backyard Party

by Simmy Parker

They say everything comes full circle, and it is certainly true! Over the past ten years or so, we have seen a drastic boost in the popularity of vintage clothing and themed parties.

People of all age groups are opting for themed birthday parties, giving attendees a dress code, serving certain foods and playing music from the according era or theme.

With bold patterns, bright colours, and wacky shapes, the 1970s are big in fashion and theme parties, and can easily be achieved with just the right amount of decoration and music.

How to Plan a 70's Party

How to Plan a 70's Party
How to Plan a 70's Party

First, let's set the foundation. What are some key components of the 1970s? The first thing that comes to mind might be the…er…spiritual experiences of the era. People will have to bring their own experiences. This was all based in the groovy freedom that the 1960s had brought us, with civil rights and anti-war movements. Many people across the world fought for change from the rigidity of the 1950s. as we go through the 1960s we see a big change from the rather formal wear of the beginning of the decade. Into the late 1960s we see the theme of freedom popping up in music, art, clothing, and the way people partied. It was all about immersing people in a life-changing experience, with interesting visuals and mesmerizing music. Anything to liberate the body, inspire people to dance and celebrate their lives.

Girls In The 70's
Girls In The 70's

Setting A Groovy 70's Vibe For Your Party

Setting A Groovy 70's Vibe For Your Party
Setting A Groovy 70's Vibe For Your Party

First you will have to decide if you are going for an early 70s groovy, psychedelic theme, or a more disco-oriented party from the later part of the decade. As you will be hosting the party in your backyard, it will fit the architecture from the decade, which featured open-concept rooms. Again, the theme is freedom of movement and celebration of dancing and the body. It really was the party decade.

The 1960s hippies reminded us of the importance of nature. These trends carried into the 1970s, as seen in the bringing of nature into the home with wicker furniture, large house plants, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The organic moving shapes from the 1960s were out of fashion. The 1970s simplified by focusing on crisp, geometric shapes. Some easy ways to bring these elements to your party could be through the furniture you have. You could check local thrift shops for a groovy retro couch, and a few simple ottomans or pillows. Shag carpets were huge in the 1970s.

If you have a patio with a dining table, we recommend moving the table into the grass. Then get a shag rug and lay it on the patio, with that secondhand couch you found. At the right thrift shop, your decorations and everything for the party can cost you under $100. We recommend scoping for wicker furniture especially. Surround the main party area with lots of plants. Natural stone was seen in houses, with features like backsplashes or accent walls. Rock is expensive to install for the sake of a party, but if you already have this sort of feature in your yard, be sure to incorporate it into the party somehow.

70's Pillows Decor
70's Pillows Decor


  • beaded curtains
  • tapestries
  • lava lamps
  • disco balls
  • plants

Another important consideration is the fashion of the decade. The same colour schemes were popular amongst furniture, décor, art, and fashion. Natural tones. Big hair. The styles change drastically from 1970 to 1979, however. We see music change from soft rock to disco, and the fashion changed accordingly. Art rules the world, don't ya know?

Food and Drinks

What would a 70's party be without the food and drinks to match? If you want your party to have that true 1970's feel, then you need to make sure the menu reflects that. Below are some great ideas for food and drinks that will help transport your guests back in time.

One of the most popular foods of the 1970's was the fondue. This dish was often served at parties as it was a great way to socialize and eat at the same time. For those not familiar with fondue, it is a dish where chunks of bread or vegetables are dipped into a melted cheese or chocolate sauce. If you want to go all out, you can even get a fondue set that has multiple dipping sauces.

Another popular dish from the 1970's was the quiche. This dish is perfect for a party as it can be made ahead of time and served either hot or cold. Quiche is simply a Custard pie that has cheese and meat added to it. The most popular combination is probably ham and Swiss cheese, but feel free to get creative with your fillings.

For drinks, you obviously need to serve cocktails. Some of the most popular cocktails from the 1970's include the Harvey Wallbanger, White Russian, and of course the classic Margarita. If you want to get really authentic, you can even serve these drinks in disco-themed glasses. For non-alcoholic options, consider serving up some disco-themed punch or 1970's style sodas.

Music and Entertainment

When planning a 70's party, it is important to choose the right music and entertainment to set the tone and atmosphere. There are many great options available, so take some time to browse through your favorite music genres and find what fits best.

For those who love disco, there are plenty of classic hits to choose from. Artists like Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, and ABBA were all huge in the 70's and their music is still popular today. If you want something a little more modern, consider artists like Daft Punk or Lady Gaga who have been influenced by disco.

If you prefer rock music, there are also plenty of great options from the 70's. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Who were all hugely popular in this decade and their music still holds up today. If you want something a little more modern, consider artists like Queens of the Stone Age or Foo Fighters who have been influenced by classic rock.

Finally, if you're looking for something a little different, there are also many great options from other genres that were popular in the 70's. Funk, soul, and reggae were all huge in this decade and there are plenty of great artists to choose from. Consider artists like James Brown, Marvin Gaye, or Bob Marley if you want to add some of these genres to your party playlist.

Disco Fever

Another important feature of nature is light. An easy way to incorporate light is by hanging a disco ball in the centre of the party area, or string a bunch of mini-disco balls. They will sparkle and radiate, casting fun movement upon walls and party guests. The 1970s were all about ambience and the earthy experience. Earthy tones were very popular, particularly those of autumnal hue. For example, tones of orange, brown, green and yellow were popular in the time period.

We recently reviewed some of the best pop-up gazebos for 2017. Another great idea is to set up a pop-up gazebo, hang it with a beaded curtain (or 4), and use this area as a focal point for the party. You could lay rag rugs on the ground, or floor pillows for a cosy hangout spot. Alternatively, you could use this as the dining area, or potluck table, for example.

70's Decor
70's Decor

Early 1970s

For Whom The Bells Toll
For Whom The Bells Toll
  • soft rock popular
  • psychedelic influence
  • hippie influence from 1960s with peasant dresses, bell sleeves, bell-bottomed pants
  • bold graphic patterns, large print
  • vests, jeans, t-shirts, Western shirts
  • mini dresses
  • jumpsuits

Late 1970s

Late 70s Styles
Late 70s Styles
  • hair getting bigger and bigger no matter the gender
  • big hoop earrings
  • tight clothing no matter the gender
  • lamé, sequins, anything tight and shiny to reflect light
  • the era of the diva
  • big bell shapes still popular, especially on gowns, pants and sleeves
  • open chests, pendants
  • jumpsuits
70's Disco Party
70's Disco Party

The 1970s were a rather diverse decade, however, its styles are entirely specific and recognizable. You may choose to throw a generalized 1970s party, giving your guests the option of rock versus disco. Or, you can narrow it down and get everyone to join the theme.

Music will be a key component to your fantastic 1970s party. To keep it authentic, you can play records if you're able to wire them to an outdoor speaker. If not, Bluetooth is okay, too. You could even compose a playlist that stretches from the soft rock of the early 1970s to the disco sounds of the later half of the decade. Be sure to play The Doors; The Bee Gees; Led Zeppelin; The Eagles; Bob Dylan; James Brown; Earth, Wind, & Fire; Dolly Parton; Loretta Lynn; Abba, David Bowie, Donna Summer and Gloria Gaynor, to name a few.

David Bowie Flared Pants
David Bowie Flared Pants

The 1970s were a very fun decade with a diverse range of themes and music to choose from. It is especially popular lately with birthday parties for people who were born in the 1970s. remember to incorporate elements of nature, rocking tunes, and groovy decorations, and your atmosphere is set!

Party Games for a 70's Party

Some great games to play at a 70's party include:

1. The Name Game

This classic game is perfect for getting everyone involved and helping them get to know each other. To play, each person takes turns saying their name and then adding a word that describes themselves that starts with the last letter of their name. For example, if your name is Mary, you might say "My name is Mary and I like to dance." The next person then has to introduce themselves and add a word about themselves starting with the letter "Y", and so on.

2. Simon Says

Another classic game that is perfect for groups of all ages, Simon Says can be played with any number of people. To play, one person is chosen to be Simon and gives instructions to the group, such as "Simon says touch your toes." Everyone must follow the instruction if Simon says so, but if Simon doesn't say "Simon says" before the instruction, then no one has to do it. The goal is to trick people into following an instruction that Simon didn't actually give.

3. The limbo

A classic party game that is sure to get everyone moving, the limbo is perfect for a 70's party. To play, two people hold a pole or broomstick at waist height and everyone takes turns going under it. Each time someone goes under, the pole is lowered a bit until someone eventually can't make it under without touching it.

4. Dance-Off

What better way to get everyone dancing than to have a dance-off? To play, two people face off and dance to the same song. The goal is to out-dance your opponent and be crowned the winner. You can have multiple rounds with different songs and different partners to keep things interesting.

5. Twister

A classic game that is always a hit, Twister is perfect for a group of people who want to have some fun and get a little bit silly. To play, you'll need a Twister mat and spinner. Players take turns spinning the spinner and then following the instruction it lands on, such as putting their left hand on blue. The goal is to stay on the mat as long as possible without falling over or getting your body in a twisted up position.

With these games, you're sure to have a blast at your 70's party!

Related posts:

  1. The Ultimate Outdoor Winter Party Guide - Don't Let the Cold Weather Stop You!
  2. How to Throw a Roaring 1920's Party
  3. 8 Best Birthday Party Ideas For Grown-Ass Adults
  4. After Prom Party Ideas For Throwing A Bash At Home

About Simmy Parker

Simmy is an outdoor expert who loves to spend time in the wilderness. She received a BS degree in Civil Engineering at Sacramento State University, and has put her skills to use by helping design and build some of the most impressive structures in the world. However, Simmy's true passion lies in sharing her love of nature with others, and she spends much of her free time leading hikes and teaching people about the flora and fauna that can be found all around them.

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