How to Throw a 1950s Sock Hop Theme Party
1950s Party Ideas
Start with a fun invitation that really reflects the era. As there was no internet back then, these should be mailed.
You an get creative and make your own, or if you prefer, there are invitations that can be printed online for free. Below I have a link for a free invitation that features a jukebox.
Free 1950s Party Invitations
1950s Party Decorations
Have any old 45 records laying around? You could use some to decorate the walls or attach them to some string and have them dangle from the ceiling.
Jukeboxes were huge in the 50s, but most people don't own one. Instead, you could get a cardboard cut out.
Fast cars were quite popular with the teen crowd. Consider putting up some posters of hot rods of the era.
You might also consider putting up some posters of popular entertainers of the time such as Elvis Presley, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.
1950s Party Food
The big hangout place was the local diner and especially the soda fountain. Set up your own soda fountain and serve soda and milkshakes. If this party is for kids and you don't want them to have these sweets, you can substitute juice such as apple and orange juice.
Should the party is for adults and you wish to serve cocktails, I suggest martinis, whiskey sours and Tom Collins.
Planning a birthday party? You might want to bake and decorate a cake in the form of a 45 record.
If you want to keep the food simple, just make some hamburgers and french fries. If you want something more formal, I have a chart below with some of the popular party foods of the time.
1950s Dinner Food
tuna noodle casserole
German chocolate cake
baked Alaska cups
For females, poodles skirts would work perfectly. The hair can be thrown back in a ponytail. Be sure to wear Bobbie socks.
For guys, the greaser look would work well. This would be jeans, a white T-shirt and leather jacket. They can also grease their hair back.
Now remember, this is a sock hop which means everyone takes off their shoes and dances in their socks, so make sure everyone is wearing socks.
Sock Hop Poll
Have you ever been to a sock hop?
Good music is the key to any good sock hop party and there are plenty of great songs to choose from. This was a time when males dominated the music scene, (sorry ladies,) and names like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard topped the charts. Some great songs you might like to include for your party include:
- Great Balls of Fire-Jerry Lee Lewis
- Hound Dog-Elvis Presley
- Rock Around the Clock-Bill Haley and his Comets
- Tutti Fruitti-Little Richard
- Put Your Head on My Shoulder-Paul Anka
- Johnny B. Goode-Chuck Berry
- You Send Me-Sam Cooke
- Rockin Robin-Bobby Day
- I Only Have Eyes For You-The Flamingos
- Blueberry Hill-Fats Domino
- Shout-The Isley Brothers
- Blue Suede Shoes-Carl Perkins
- Only You-The Platters
There are certainly many more songs that would fit with this theme, but this is just meant to be a sampling of some of the great music from this decade that could work for dance music.
Live Version of Johnny B. Goode Chuck Berry
1950s Party Activities
Having a hula hoop contest is a must! If you have any dollar store type stores nearby, you should be able to get some there. See who can keep their hoop going the longest.
A limbo competition would also fit the bill. Play some limbo music and see how low some people can go.
Up for a trivia game? Here are some questions and answers you can use:
- Who was President in 1951?-Harry Truman
- Who recorded Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?-Gene Autry
- What year did Disneyland open?-1955
- Which movie won best film in 1954-On the Waterfront
- Who starred in I Love Lucy?-Lucille Ball
- What game was introduced by Milton Bradley in 1956?-Yautzee
- What doll was introduced in the 1950s?-Barbie
- What American popular fast food restaurant originally opened in the 1950s?-McDonalds
- What was a popular TV show based on the 1950s?-Happy Days
- Who sang Johnny B. Goode?-Chuck Berry
Several dance styles were popular at the time with the most common dances being the Jitterbug, the Stroll, Lindy and the Twist.
Here are a couple of fun party ideas. You could hold a twist contest. Whoever performs the best rendition of the Twist wins.
Another idea is to pair people up and teach them the Jitterbug. I have a video below with instructions to learn an easy basic Jitterbug dance.
How to Learn the Jitterbug
The Twist was originally released in 1959 by Hank Ballard & The Midnighters. However, most people associate the song with Chubby Checker who actually released it in 1960.
Although technically this version makes it a song of the 1960s, most people associate the song as a 50s song and dance.
Just for fun, check out the video below of Chubby Checker performing it live on American Bandstand.
Name That Tune Game
The original Name That Tune TV series debuted in 1953. It was a huge success. You can create your own fun party game.
Record 10 seconds of some of the best known, (and to make it more challenging,) some of the lesser known songs of the decade.
Play the music and the first person to call out the correct title wins that round. If two people tie, play another song and whoever guesses the correct title first wins the round.
Predetermine how many rounds of play you would like to have and whoever wins the most rounds in that time frame wins the game.
I would suggest using different music than you would be choosing for dancing or background music. Here's a sampling of songs you could use.:
- Mack the Knife
- Love is a Many Splendored Thing
- To Know Him Is To Love Him
- Standing on the Corner
- Witch Doctor
- Once Upon a Dream
- Top Cat
- Sixteen Tons
- The Purple People Eater
- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Learn some of the slang from this decade. If sending invitations, you might want to include some of these so your guests will be prepared when they arrive. Here are some for you to learn:
- Square-someone who doesn't break the rules and follows instructions.
- Pad-one's home.
- Wet rag-A boring person.
- Heat-the police
- Big daddy-A person who is older.
- Made in the shade-successful
Sock Hop Party Ideas
Need some help to get into the mood for this party? Try watching American Graffiti or Grease. Another option is an episode of the TV series Happy Days.
On a budget and buying enough food is a problem? Let everyone bring a dish to share. Just be sure it's a dish that was popular during the decade.
Don't have a floor for dancing? Check with your local party rental store. Many have portable dance floors you can rent that come in a variety of sizes.
Be sure to take lots of fun pictures. You can relive these moments again and again.
Decade Party Ideas
Looking for more decade party ideas? Check out the links below.
- How to Throw a Roaring 1920s Party
Invitation, food, games, activities and more ideas to help you throw the perfect 1920s party. I have music suggestions as well as a step by step instructional video to help you learn the Charleston.
- How To Throw A 1980s Theme Party
1980s party ideas including decorations, food, beverages, music, games and contests. Enjoy some music while you're here and you can even learn how to do the Moonwalk.
- How to Throw a 1940s Big Band Party
Find everything you need here to throw a great 1940s theme party including invitation ideas, music, food and activities. Listen to some Big Band music and learn how to swing dance.
- How to Throw a 1960s Hippie Theme Party
Hippie theme party ideas including decorations, costumes, food, activities and music to throw the perfect 1960s party. I also have some sixties slanb you can learn as well.