Home » How to Host a Fabulous 50s Themed Party for Cheap

My daughter’s love of the 50s started when her school had a 50’s day earlier this year. And then she saw the movie “Grease” – Or at least, a modified version of Grease! She was hooked. So, it was only natural that she would want a 50s Sock Hop for her birthday party.


How to Host a Fabulous 50s Themed Birthday Party for Cheap




When you throw a themed party for a child, you want it to be unique, but no parent wants to spend said child’s college fund to make it so! The best way I’ve found to avoid excess cost when planning a party is lots of planning and lots of DIY.

There are SO many items you can use for inspiration for a 50s sock hop! For our party, I started with the color scheme – pink, turquoise, black with shots of red for contrast then, including things that make me think of the 50s – pink Cadillacs, cherries, and diners. And, of course, it wouldn’t be the 50s without mid-century modern props and DIYS in rounded shapes, black and white checks, jukeboxes and poodle skirts!

SUGGESTED: All kinds of Party Props and DIYS!

To keep costs low I designed a set of printables – everything from invitations to photo props –  to perfectly coordinate with our 50s Sock Hop. Even more fun? I’m sharing the guide and pattern to make an adorable 50s Pink Cadillac Photo prop with you for FREE!  I hope you’ll find just the inspiration and budget-friendly ideas you’ll need to make your 50s themed birthday party a huge success!


Pink Cadillac Photo Prop



Must-Have 50s Party Prop Amazon Find




A pink Cadillac convertible, with fuzzy dice,  is the quintessential 50s car set the theme for our party.

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - invitations_update



birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - full scene

Pink Cadillac Cut Out

SUGGESTED: How to make a Pink Cadillac Cut-Out Photo Prop 

To make it interesting, we matched polka dots of different sizes and colors with the black and white checks in the fringed backdrop and laid out faux marble shelf paper on our buffet to mimic a diner Formica counter. Various other prints with retro, mid-century modern style woven into the accessories helped to carry the theme after the invitations.
birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - banner
Pink flamingo mini lights helped to bring attention to our birthday banner. The cheery (cheesy) flamingos look so retro and fun against the DIY black and white fringed background! I’ll share the tutorial on how I made the fringe shortly (hint: it cost me $5).
birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - fringed backdrop

The cupcake topper centers and retro-shapes were quick to put together with a circle punch, a hot glue gun, and lollipop sticks. I paired red and white polka dot liners to add interest and contrast.

What says “Diner” more than a menu board? These can be found pretty much everywhere these days!

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - diner menu board and desserts


Other elements I DIY’d included this oversized jukebox painted on kraft paper and a fun “Diner” sign on posterboard.


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - jukebox

birthday party 50s sock hop Drive-in sign

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - fab 50s printable

Fabulous 50s Sign


Then, the garage transformed into a 50s dance hall through liberal accents of pink, fuchsia, and teal! These “poofs” hid our “billiards” lamp hanging over our pool/ping pong table.
birthday party 50s sock hop set the scene


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - diner menu


To keep costs low, and make it easy to execute, we served a simple “Diner” food menu. Sliders and Veggie “Fries,” Coca-Cola and Root Beer Floats, served in fun containers and snack boxes.


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - all the food

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - burgers

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - small snack box veggie fries

Small Snack Boxes

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - rootbeer float

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - large snack box and cherries

Large Snack Boxes

Fun cherry treats and fruit add to the 50s theme.


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - cherries


Chocolate pudding “malts,” topped with piped cool whip and a cherry,  round out our diner-style options! Tip: Although you may be tempted to use Redi-whip, it tends to deflate. Cool whip will hold shape throughout the party. Fill a Ziploc bag with Cool whip, snip off one of the closed corners and pipe through the hole directly into a store-bought pudding cup. Top with a cherry – voila! Super cute and easy peasy!

A wee bit of a splurge, pink flamingo straws make everything more fun.


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - chocolate malts

Flamingo Straws


After blowing out the candles and our girl making her wish, guests had their choice of angel food cake with strawberry icing or vanilla, and chocolate cupcakes topped with retro shaped toppers.  The cake and cupcakes were both store-bought. I purchased an un-iced angel food cake – you can get them at most grocery stores for under $4 – and added strawberry icing. A light sprinkling of nonpareils and a grocery store bouquet of over-dyed daisies is the perfect, custom topper for the cake!


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - cake and cupcakes

Cupcake Toppers



Pink Ladies T-Shirts made out of a stencil, a sharpie and plain, cheap pink t-shirts, poodle skirts and neck scarfs in pinks, teals, and polka dots made the event! Everyone came dressed in their 50s best and danced the afternoon away. I made my girl’s poodle skirts following this tutorial, and used Walmart twin sheets for the fabric – they were inexpensive, and I could cut the patterns out in one piece.

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop pink ladies costumes

birthday-party-50s-sock-hop poodle skirt


Amazon Finds: 50s Womens Costume sets and accessories

1950’s Womens Costume Accessories – 50s Chiffon Scarf,Cat Eye Glasses,Bandana Tie Headband,Drop Dot Earrings
50’s Vintage Dot Skirt Scarf Headband Earrings Cat Eye Glasses for Party
Retro 1950s Pink Polka Dot Style Headband Ladies Jacket Costume Accessories
Retro Poodle Print High Waist Skater Vintage Rockabilly Swing Tee Cocktail Dress


No party is complete without a fun playlist. Fortunately, the 50’s era offers much to choose from!

birthday party 50s sock hop play list


The girls had a great time with the games we planned! Some ideas include:

  • A Hula Hoop contest
  • Limbo fantastic (even backward!)
  • Hand jive lesson
  • A bubblegum blowing contest
  • Donut bobbing. It’s a tradition at our home to ALWAYS have donut bobbing at our parties.

Donut bobbing – A game in which you suspend three donuts from the ceiling. Each player stands in front of a donut, put their hands behind their backs, and must be the first to remove the entire donut from the string using only their mouths. Very, very un-ladylike. Awesome. Trust me.

Other activities included photo ops taken in a DIY pink Cadillac Cut-out. You can download the pattern and tutorial on how to make the fun car cut-out here if you’re interested in making your own!

birthday party 50s sock hop pink cadillac car cutout propprintable pattern and guide logo


Amazon Finds: 50s Party Games and Activities

The Everything Big Book of Party Games: Over 300 Creative and Fun Games for All Ages!
Toy Hoop Bundle Pack | Snap Together Detachable Adjustable Weight Size Plastic Hoops | Kids Hula Rings for Sports Playing, 32-Inch (Pack of 6)
Dubble Bubble Berry Blast 24mm Gumballs 1 Inch, 3 Pounds
48″ Lighted LED Limbo Wand Limbo Stick Limbo Pole




birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - goody bags

After three hours of non-stop fun, we sent our well-sugar-fed friends home with pink goody bags embellished with a poodle that contained:

A polka dot neck scarf
Cat Eye Sunglasses
Roll-on Lip Gloss
Mini Nail Polish
Glow Sticks
Coke Bottle Gummy Candy
A pencil



birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - blowing out candles


My daughter’s 50’s dreams realized, our 50’s themed party was a huge success, with fun had by all!


This post contains affiliate links, which means that I make a commission when a sale is made by clicking on the link. I value you your trust and only recommend products and brands that I love. 

If you like this resource, I’d really appreciate it if you’d share it with others by pinning it!

50s Sock Hop Party


birthday-party-50s-sock-hop - PIN





You’ll find everything you need to throw a fabulous 50s theme party in this customizable at-home Printable Party decorating pack!

50s Party Pack Printables – $6.00

This PDF file includes:

  • 4″x7″ Double-sided, customizable 50s Party Invitations
  • Large and small patterned snack boxes
  • Retro-shaped Customizable Printable Banner
  • Four different cupcake/snack box circles (Not Shown)
  • Four different customizable cupcake/snack box circles
  • Retro shape patterns for cupcake and snack box embellishment
  • Fabulous 50’s Pink Cadillac Subway Art; sized 8″ x 10″
  • Cruisin’ 50’s Pink Cadillac Subway Art; sized 8″ x 10″ (Not Shown)
  • 2 Different patterned customizable food card sheets


This file is a digital download, print-at-home product. There is no shipping charge; nothing will be shipped to you directly.

You will be able to download your files immediately after purchase.

All images are for personal use only and are not to be resold, repackaged or used for any commercial purpose.

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  1. Kristin says:

    Great info! We're having a sock hop at my daughter's elementary school in a few weeks, and I'd love to know how you did the cadillac cardboard cut-out for the photo booth. Did you have a pattern, or just free-style it from a refrigerator box? Either way, it's awesome 🙂 Thanks, Kristin

    • Kim Young says:

      Hi Kristin! Thanks so much. 🙂 I think I might be getting back to you a little late (sorry, it's been crazy) but thought I'd respond anyway in case. I had made it for 50s day at my daughter's school as well and they were nice enough to let us borrow it back for the party. Believe it or not, I actually used a tri-fold poster board. I followed a picture that I'd found online – I'll see if I can find it and update above – blew it up, printed it out on a million pieces of paper in draft and black and white, pieced it together and created the pattern. Then, I traced it, and painted it by hand. It was really fun project, and I believe they still use it today, 2 years later!

        • admin says:

          Hi Tanya, I used a 36″x 48″ tri-fold foam board. On a table-top it would work for adults but it would be better if it were a bit larger without. I hope your party is fantastic!
          – Kim

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