A moment I have been secretly dreading for 10 years arrived. Last weekend my eldest daughter turned 10 and insisted on having a slumber party for her and eight of her closest friends.

“No way!” I cried in disbelief.  Then I tried to compromise.  “You may have two or three friends and that is all I can handle,” remembering how wild my friends and I were at all our slumber parties.

It was my daughter’s 10th birthday after all, and she had never had a slumber party in her life.  I figured I would indulge her wishes and sacrifice one 24-hour period of my life to make my daughter happy.

As the party got closer I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things my girlfriends and I did during our slumber parties.  First of all, it felt like we had a slumber party every single weekend of my upbringing, and they must’ve made quite an impression since I remember them very well.

Here are the basic components of a 1980s slumber party:

1.  Watching Nightmare on Elm Street (or any horror flick would do) during which a girl would inevitably start dramatic crying from fright.  The rest of the night we would terrorize that girl by pretending Freddy was peeking through our bedroom window.

2.  The Ouija Board and light as a feather, stiff as a board.   The mystical and supernatural always made its way into our slumber parties.  To this day, I will never know how, after performing the light as a feather, stiff as a board ritual, we were able to pick up our friends as if they only weighed 5 pounds.

3.  It wouldn’t be a slumber party in the 80s without a little group back scratch after all the scary shit was over.  We would line up in a long row and scratch each other’s backs, which looking back on seems really weird.

4. Probably one of the main components of our slumber parties growing up in the 80s was Truth or Dare.  When we were younger, all of us girls would form a circle and play the game.  Most girls chose dare because it was so much more fun than truth.  When you are 10, what do you have to hide?  Telling the truth about something isn’t very exciting.  When we were in junior high, Truth or Dare took on a new dimension when the boys would all walk for miles to crash our slumber party.

5.  Pulling an ALL NIGHTER no matter how many times we were told by our parents to stop playing and go to sleep.  At around 5am we would all get up out of our sleeping bags and go to the kitchen to binge eat as many pieces of pizza, nachos and candies we could find.

6.  An 80s slumber party would not be complete without the old hand in the cold water trick. When the first girls fell asleep, the rest of us would place the hands of the sleepers in cold water and wait and watch for someone to pee in their pants.

These days you would have to send a parent consent form out two weeks in advance to play Nightmare on Elm Street at a slumber party.  The girls at my 10-year-olds slumber party watched the throwback movie Inspector Gadget.  They ate so much candy that I cannot believe there was no barfing involved.  They swam for hours in the pool.  They played a lot of Truth or Dare – much of the “daring” involved coming downstairs and terrorizing the parents with various commentary and singing.  Close to midnight all eight girls came downstairs in their bathing suits asking to go swimming again.  Unfortunately for them, they were told to go back upstairs, get their pajamas on and go to bed. They played a quick game of pillow fight and then there was silence.


The miracle was that they actually did go to bed by midnight.  Maybe we aren’t raising a generation of over-indulged, over-privileged, over-complimented degenerates after all.

The kids were all in the pool by 7am the next morning.  My husband and I made waffles, bacon and sausage.  The girls insisted on topping off their waffles with a lot of whipped cream.  When I came around the table offering the only healthy thing in 24 hours, a fruit salad, there was a unanimous and resounding NO THANK YOU.  They said, and I quote, “we never eat healthy food at slumber parties.  We only eat candy and junk.” There was no arguing with that.  I quickly turned and placed that fruit salad right back in the refrigerator.  The junk food overload definitely reminded me of our slumber parties in the 80s.

My conclusion is that girls of the 2000s don’t know how to party hard quite as hard at a slumber party like the girls of the 80s.  And guess what?  I am not going to teach them.

The "who can jump in the pool like a pencil" slumber party game
The “who can jump in the pool like a pencil” slumber party game

Until next time, the mothership is signing off.



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Slumber Parties Today vs. The 80s
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