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1980s Movie Costumes for Adults

Love the 1980's? So do I. Here's lots of ideas and inspiration for 30 1980s movie costumes and outfits for adults to wear at eighties fancy dress parties and events like Halloween.

Movie characters are great fun to dress up as because most people watch films or at least see them talked about on the news and in the media. You can remind people of some fab retro shows that they can enjoy going back and watching again.

The eighties were packed with fun things to watch at the cinema, back in the days when it was actually affordable for whole families to go. Here's idea on 30 different movie characters from the big screen that you can dress up as.

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30 Great Ideas on 1980s Movie Costumes for Adults to Wear

1: The Goonies, 1985, Adventure Film with a Deformed Superhero

goonies sloth superman t shirt costume

A Sloth character mask would have made this outfit just perfect. He doesn't have the required ugly face to pull this off successfully. But certainly it's a really cool look.

Image Credit: Shared by Erwin Recinos on Flickr with a CC License

The Goonies is a classic eighties adventure film that originally came about with a story by Steven Spielberg that was written into a full screenplay. It features a load of kids who get involved in solving the mystery of what happened to the long lost treasure belonging to a pirate called One-Eyed Willy.

➡️ See My Complete Sloth Costume Page Here

One of the unlikely heros of this film is a deformed male nicknamed Sloth who ends up saving the day along with the little fat kid called Chunk.

2: Beetlejuice 1988 Comedic Fantasy Movie with a Crazy Ghost

Tim Burton Beetlejuice movie costume outfit 1980s fancy dress mens

Get this Beetlejuice Costume from

UK Readers get a Beetlejuice Outfit from

Beetlejuice, played by Michael Keaton, is a ghost who is hired by a pair of other ghosts (Adam and Barbara) to help get rid of a family who has moved into their former home. Beetlejuice though turns out to be a pretty crazy character.

Beetlejuice, directed by Tim Burton, was a huge box office success. Rather amazingly, a sequel, Beetlejuice 2 is being talked about nearly 30 years after the first film. Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton are both on board with the project if it goes ahead.

This fun looking striped costume gives you most of the crazy Beetlejuice ghost look. To finish it off properly, you will need to add on a a wig and get some face paint slapped on your face to turn yourself into this rather cool and insane character.

3: Indiana Jones: Turn Yourself into an Action Man Archaeologist

Raiders of the Lost Ark film character Indiana Jones outfit Harrison Ford

Image Credit: Shared by Jenn on Flickr with a CC License

1981 was the year that Raiders of the Lost Ark came out. Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford, it was pretty much tipped for success from the start. In fact, it has been one of the highest grossing films ever made with an incredibly successful series as well.

Harrison Ford managed to pull off the handsome but geeky professor as well as the daring explorer who traveled far and wide on dangerous adventures for rare artifacts and treasures.

Dressing up as the action man, Dr Jones, is luckily pretty easy so you really don't need a complete outfit. Wear fairly loose brown trousers, a lighter brown long sleeve travel or explorer shirt, brown leather-like jacket and get his recognizable brown fedora hat and bull whip accessory.

4: Dress up as Marty McFly or Doc with a Back to the Future Look

Marty McFly Back to the Future Costume Cosplay 1980s Fancy Dress

Image Credit: Shared by PopCultureGeek on Flickr with a CC License

Back to the Future swept onto our screens in 1985. This fun series starred Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly who caused all kinds of trouble by getting himself sent back in time to the fifties where he ended up becoming a romantic, love interest for his own Mother. Sounds weird but this film and the sequels to it were so much fun.

As well as Marty, the other main cool character to get in costume as is Dr Emmett Brown or Doc as he was fondly known. This odd looking man was the amazing inventor to make the Back to the Future time machine out of a sports car.

5: Sci-Fi Fans got Lucky with Two Films from Star Wars Released in the 1980s

The eighties were a great time for both Harrison Ford and Star Wars fans with The Empire Strikes Back being released in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983. Han Solo and Princess Leia blowed us all away with their romance and the "I Love You" by Leia and the "I Know" response by Han.

There are plenty of Star Wars outfit and costumes to choose from for these movies. I happen to like the female Storm Trooper idea but there are loads of others to choose from. You can also pick from Darth Vader, Yoda, Chewbacca, Princess Leia, C3P0 and stacks of other options. Because there is so much choice, this makes it a great theme to pick when you need a group or couples outfit for an 80s party.

6: E.T. The Biggest Tear Jerker in Science Fiction

ET Toy used for costume

Image Credit: Shared by istolethetv on Flickr with a CC License

This was the first film I ever watched at a cinema. Apart from Star Wars, I've never been that big on sci-fi stuff so it's amazing that E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial really managed to tug at the heart strings as much as it did. Another blockbuster directed by Steven Spielberg who had such a run in the eighties.

E.T. came out in 1982 and had a young and sweet Drew Barrymore in it. She's gone on to star in so many movies since, my favorite one being Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant. Amazingly, you can get costumes for this cute "phone home" alien but without a really good mask, you could end up pulling this one off rather badly. It's also kind of hard to emulate his super long fingers too.

A better idea, I think is to buy an ET toy and re-create the look of this alien in Elliot's bike basket, just as these cosplayers have done in the photo above.

7: In Space, No-One can Hear You Scream! Aliens Sci-Fi Horror

Aliens is the 1986 sequel to the Alien movie. It is one of the best films ever made in this genre with a real kick-a character of Ellen Ripley played by Sigorney Weaver. She is fearless and this was actually one of the first times a female had been portrayed as being able to hold her own without needing a man to come along and rescue her.

Ripley is a great choice for a female to dress up as and you could work an astronaut outfit with the addition of a horrid Alien creature plush toy stuck on. You can see Ripley dressed in her flight style jumpsuit images here. One gross idea is to have a plain white tshirt, painted red in the middle to look like blood and then cut to reveal one of these alien chestburster toys bursting out from underneath.

8: "I'll be Back" The Arnie Terminator Look

The Terminator was released in 1984, directed by James Cameron and featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the cyborg assassin. It's one of Arnie's most famous and iconic roles and spawned the catchphrase "I'll be back."

The phrase which actually Arnold did not want to use (feeling that a robot was more likely to say "I will be back" actually worked in his favor and propelled Arnold further into the realms of super stardom.

Men can easily adopt a Terminator look simply by donning black sunglasses (80s style raybans) with a black leather jacket and jeans. The jacket should be only zipped up half-way and have the collar up at the back for that cool, retro style. The hair was a spiky crew cut, standing up at the front and probably held up with copious amounts of hair gel.

9: Who you Gonna Call? Ghost Busters

Ghostbusters fancy dress outfit 80s film fancy dress

Get this Ghostbusters Costume at

UK Readers get a Ghostbusters Outfit from

Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis all featured in the brilliant 1984 Ghostbusters. Just about everyone should have heard the hit tune from this with the same name by Ray Parker, Jr. The song sparked off all the great catchphrases "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!" and "I ain't afraid of no ghost." Brilliant stuff. Get your boiler suit on and your ghost busting back pack to join the team.

10: As You Wish: The Princess Bride

Buttercup westley dread pirate roberts fancy dress 80s costume

Image Credit: Shared by Ben Loomis on Flickr with a CC License

This, released in 1987, is one of my all-time favorite films. It's a classic comedy fantasy film and, although I don't much care for comedies, I loved the book and the film (unusually) was even better. I dressed as Westley, in his iconic Dread Pirate Roberts costume, for my last 1980s theme fancy dress birthday party and it went down a storm.

➡️ Click Here to See My Dread Pirate Roberts Costume Page

➡️ Click Here to See My Princess Buttercup Red Dress Costume Page

Here's Another 20 1980s Movie Costume Ideas for Adults

  • The Karate Kid, 1984
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, 1981
  • The Breakfast Club, 1985
  • Gremlins, 1984
  • Die Hard, 1988
  • Labyrinth, 1986
  • Blade Runner, 1982
  • Top Gun, 1986
  • Dirty Dancing, 1987
  • Pretty in Pink, 1986
  • The Shining, 1980
  • Annie, the best 1982 version!
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street, 1984
  • Highlander, 1986
  • Conan the Barbarian, 1982
  • Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 1989
  • Flash Gordon, 1980
  • Gandhi, 1982
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988
  • RoboCop, 1987

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Articles are accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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