A few weeks ago I asked my daughter what kind of theme she wanted for her fifth birthday party. Her response? “Smurfs.” The next week I asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween: “A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.” Soon after, we received an invitation for a Super Mario Bros. birthday party. Am I in the twilight zone all of a sudden? Is this our childhood or our kids’? 

This 80s mania got me thinking of all the cool movies and trends of the decade of my birth (and how so much of it is so perfect for dress-up). It’s bright, it’s bold, and it’s over the top in so many ways. Plus, it reminds us parents of the simpler days (before wrangling cranky toddlers on a sugar high while trick-or-treating). That was when Halloween was all about filling up our own old pillowcases with hundreds of pieces of candy and sorting it on the floor past our usual bedtime.

So, if you’re thinking of bringing the 80s back for your kids this year, here are a few fun ideas we gathered — sweet nostalgia guaranteed:

Ghostbuster (or Stay Puft Marshmallow Man)

This one is great as either a group family costume or individual. While you can order a Ghostbuster costume online, there are tons of ideas on Pinterest to craft one yourself. We love this idea from Projects in Parenting for making a dollar store Proton pack. Who ya gonna call?


Back to the Future: Marty McFly

The awesome part about this costume is that you probably already have a few items for the outfit in your kid’s closet, and who doesn’t need a puffer vest to rock this New England winter? Check out some fun ideas for this throwback on HalloweenCostumes.com



If you have kids who are school aged (who won’t be scared by the movie), break out the popcorn and throw on the old-school 80s favorite, “The Goonies.” This costume would be fun for siblings to tag team a “Chunk” and “Sloth” costume. Those friends may not know what they are — but that just makes them even cooler!



What kid doesn’t think aliens are the coolest thing ever? (And an E.T costume is actually really easy to throw together as a DIY project at home.) We love this post from The Idea Room on the perfect extra terrestrial! 

The Idea Room

Care Bear

This is such a great idea for the younger toddlers and babies who are fussier about wearing hats or masks, because you can technically re-purpose a sweatsuit or PJs to pull this off. Check out this fun idea for the whole family from See Vanessa Craft

See Vanessa Craft.

Whether your kid decides on a cool costume from your own era or from theirs, we hope this list brings back some fond memories of your Halloween glory days. Happy trick-or-treating!

Megan is a mom of two daughters (2012, 2014) and lives with her family in Stoneham, MA. Her interest in writing began as a child and developed throughout her study of Journalism at St. Bonaventure University, where she graduated in 2003. Megan's love for New England began in 2006 when she moved from her hometown of Syracuse, NY to pursue her masters degree in Marketing Communications at Emerson College. Boston holds a special place in her heart as the city where she met and married her husband, started a family and has planted roots. In her professional career, Megan focuses on positive youth development, community outreach and mental health awareness. Loves: Family, friends, dogs, being a mom of girls, reading, Netflix, holidays, the ocean, fall in New England. Could do Without: Winter, snow (besides at Christmas), being late, traffic.