The fun starts for a 1940s retro party when guests receive specially designed invitations. Images and wording reflective of the time period set the mood for the party and give guests an idea of what they can expect as they time-travel to the era that stretched from Pearl Harbor to the beginnings of the Cold War. Along the way, people managed to have some fun in the 1940s and party invitations should reflect that experience.
For invitation that reflect what was happening in the 1940s, make copies of headlines from various old newspapers and news magazines, such as Time and Life, along with those from movie and sports magazines. Alternatively, type up headlines in a variety of fonts, cut them into strips and glue them, collage style, onto a sheet of paper. Copy the collage onto light yellow cardstock that already has the party information printed on the back, including the names of the hosts, the date, time and place.
To prepare for making these invitations, dress up in 1940s retro clothes. The male host can wear a wide-lapel suit with padded shoulders, a wide tie and a vest or suspenders; Complete the outfit with a fedora-style hat. The female host can wear a pencil-skirted suit or a period cocktail dress with heels, hose with seams, a hat and white gloves. Print your picture on high-gloss paper with all the party information printed below it to complete the invitation.
Choose upbeat, easy-to-sing songs from the top radio hits of the 1940s. These caqn include “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” “Don’t Fence Me In,” “Mairzy Doats,” and “The Trolley Song,” among others. Send copies of the sheet music or just the lyrics to your prospective guests, with a note attached that reads: “Learn these words by (date and time) for a 1940s retro radio recording party given by (name and address of hosts).
Fold long strips of blue paper accordion-style as the base of movie star invitations. On to the front of each blue strip, glue a small white card with a formal invitation typed on it in a fancy font and printed in blue. For example, it can say, “You are cordially invited to a 1940s All-Star Spectacular" followed by the party information including the name of the host, day, time and place. Then add "Open this invitation to see who will be joining us for this event.” Glue photos onto each accordion panel of famous 40s actors, such as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn, along with as many more as you need to cover each panel.
SuddenlySenior.com has a 1940s trivia game that you can adapt into invitations for your theme party. Prepare a list of 1940s trivia questions, such as “Who won the Oscar for best picture in 1943?” and “What did WAC mean in 1944?” Type these up with a heading that says, for example: “Final Exam: 1940s Trivia. A grade of B or better admits (name of guest) to John and Mary’s 1940s Retro Party," followed by party's time, date and place. Print copies of the trivia quiz and use light blue paper as front and back covers to create old-style examination books with each guest’s name written on the front. Mail them out in school-style manila envelopes.