Rock Around the Clock

’50s Theme

Print new record labels containing the party particulars and place them on old 45s or fake records. Name the “record company” after your reunion. Encourage all your cool cats to come dressed in ‘50s finery. These are invitations that are bound to go platinum.

Use a fabric paint pen to write the invitation on a bobby sock or stuff the invitation into a sock.
Use photo postcards of Elvis, James Dean, or Marilyn Monroe as your invitation stock.


  • Set up a soda shop with small cafe tables.
  • Black, white and hot pink is the perfect color combo for this blast from the past.
  • Cover the tables in Rock & Roll imprinted cloths.
  • Hang inflatable music instruments around the site.
  • Find old saddle shoes or sneakers (not modern-looking athletic shoes). Hang from the ceiling.
  • For a retro centerpiece, slip a water tumbler into a bobby sock, then fill the glass with straws and slip the sock into the shoe.
  • James Dean, Elvis, Marlon Brando and Marilyn Monroe movie posters can adorn the walls next to posters of hot rods and oldies album covers.
  • Contact a local classic car club about displaying or renting one or more of their hot rods at your party site.
    If your budget allows, rent an old-fashioned jukebox. If not, use inflatable or cardboard versions for atmosphere.
  • Hang rock and roll theme signs, posters and cutouts that will turn any room into a soda shop.
  • Resurrect your old turntable to spin the ’50s top tunes. If you don’t have a turntable, you can find collections of classic oldies on CD.
  • Make life easy on yourself.


  • Get everyone up to do the stroll, mashed potatoes and Lindy and other classic party dances.
  • Spin the Chubby Checker classic and have a Twist contest
  • “Rate the Record” just like they did on American Bandstand.
  • See who can keep a hula-hoop moving the longest or spin the most hula-hoops at once.
  • Hold a “Spotlight Dance.” You can accomplish this with a large flashlight, disco or utility light.
  • Rent or buy classic movies and TV shows from that era or films set in that period: Rebel Without a Cause, On the Waterfront, Back to the Future and Grease are just a few. You can find many classic sitcoms such as Happy Days, Father Knows Best, and Laverne and Shirley on the Nickelodean and other cable channels.
  • Have an a cappella “doo-wop” contest.
  • They’ll rock around the clock with an Elvis impersonator or see who, among your guests, is the best mimic of “The King.”


  • Soda shop staples; ice cream sodas, sundaes, malteds, milkshakes, pizza, burgers and fries.
  • Serve guests on TV dinner plates.
  • Contact your Coca-Cola distributor to purchase classic Coke-filled glass bottles and serve with two straws.
  • Dress like a soda jerk or carhop (including roller skates) to serve guests.
  • Decorate a round cake with black icing to resemble a record and include the guest of honor’s name on the “label.” Or, just slip a disc whose label has been customized to the gust of honor on top of the cake.

Party Favors/Prizes

  • The party “rock and rolls” on for guests who take home a CD or tape of ’50s classic hits
  • Take a close-up instant photo of each guest and glue to the back of a 45 record, invitation label affixed, to use the disc’s hole to frame their face. TIP: Set the camera on a tripod and seat the subject on a stool to get a perfectly-sized photo.
  • Guys love playing “air guitars,” so give them an inflatable version so they can rock around the clock.
  • Beads with blinking guitars can light up the night.
  • Make them feel like “The King” with a pair of Elvis or rock and roll sunglasses.
  • Key chains, pens, magnets, stationery and other desk accessories are available in replicas of classic cars and celebrity figures from the fabulous fifties.