Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here


Leaving Website

You are now leaving and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

It’s Time to Boogie!

Plan the perfect disco-themed ’70s party

spinner image How to Throw a Disco Party at Home

Want to throw a party that’s infused with a 1970s-style vibe? Then dust off your disco ball, mix up some Harvey Wallbangers, put on a little “Night Fever” and you’ll be on your way.

Carla McDonald, founder and editor in chief of the Salonnière, an online magazine specializing in party planning and entertaining, has planned many disco-style parties and offers these tips.

spinner image Image Alt Attribute

AARP Membership

Join AARP for $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal. Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine

Join Now

“To honor Saturday Night Fever’s 40th anniversary, invite your friends to a 'Night on Disco Mountain,’ which is the name of the 10th track on the film’s soundtrack,” she said. “Ask them to arrive in their Tony-Manero-and-Stephanie-Mangano best, and greet them at the door with a nostalgic disco-era cocktail, like a Harvey Wallbanger.”

When it comes to clothes, think peace signs, platform shoes and polyester leisure suits.

McDonald also suggested transforming your party space into a version of 2001 Odyssey, the Brooklyn disco that was featured in the movie.

“Hang a large mirror ball from the ceiling; add tiny vintage ones purchased on eBay to your floral decor; place red, blue and yellow votive candles throughout the room; and play songs from the soundtrack as well as other well-known hits from the era,” she said. “If you have the space, set up a dance floor and hold a disco dancing contest, or bring in a professional dancer to teach your guests how to do the famous Saturday Night Fever dance.”

As a nice little surprise, she also suggested trying to track down a copy of the June 7, 1976, issue of New York magazine, which features the article that inspired the movie, and set it out on your coffee table for guests to thumb through.

Other decorative items that will take guests back in time include lava lamps, fuzzy dice, strobe lights, vinyl records and disco-ball door curtains.

To Seri Kertzner, a New York-based planner with Little Miss Party, a party is not a disco party unless there’s champagne and the edible glittery chocolates known as Bedazzle My Bonbons on hand.

“Also, buy a medium or large disco ball [online or at your local party store] and use it to anchor an assortment of white, black and silver balloons to,” she said. “If you get very small ones, you can use them to fill up a glass cube or cylinder, which makes for instant decor in any space.

See more Health & Wellness offers >

“We also love just styling them all over a table to add sparkle and disco glam around your food and/or drinks,” she said.

Need more inspiration? Here are three other great tips for throwing the perfect disco-themed party.

1. Find an icebreaker. Who can forget the ubiquitous Pet Rock, that fad collectible from the 1970s? Bring these no-maintenance “pets” back by giving each of your guests a rock as they arrive. Place glue, yarn, glitter, markers and peel-and-stick googly eyes on a table so that everyone has a chance to decorate theirs. At the end of the night, ask guests to vote on the one with the best personality. If homemade Pet Rocks are too ambitious, hand out glow stick bracelets and necklaces. Another good icebreaker: Ask your guests to bring a photo of themselves from the 1970s and display them on a board.

2. Focus on food. Nothing takes you back like the foods popular during a certain era. When people think 1970s , they often think Twinkies, Hamburger Helper, melon balls, pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs, nachos, Kraft macaroni and cheese, any kind of casserole and celery sticks topped with pimento cheese. And remember Cheez Whiz, the ultimate in ’70s cocktail party sophistication? Spread it on a cracker and top with a black olive. When it comes to drinks, think creamy, as in a Brandy Alexander. Other popular drinks: the Tequila Sunrise, the Grasshopper and, of course, the Harvey Wallbanger.

3. Move with the music. The key to any good party — and especially a ’70s party — is the music. Make sure your far-out playlist includes “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc., “Last Dance” by Donna Summer, “Macho Man” by the Village People and “Brick House” by the Commodores. For more inspiration, check out Billboard’s list of the 35 all-time greatest disco tunes.

What are you waiting for? Get groovin’.

Discover AARP Members Only Access

Join AARP to Continue

Already a Member?