Luaus are fun and festive, and they are appropriate to celebrate a variety of different milestones from birthdays to graduations. They are also just the perfect way to enjoy a summer evening with friends. Whatever prompts your party, planning your luau ahead of time is the key to success.
Start the party out right, by sending out luau-themed invitations. You can buy pre-printed invitations, print your own, or use an online service. No matter what type your choose, be sure to include all the details about your fun event.
- Tiki Summer Value Pack - Keep it simple with these pre-printed invitations from Party City, which retail for about $10 for a pack of 50. All you have to do is fill in the party details and pass them out to friends.
- Tropical electronic invitations - Use an online invitation service like Evite to create themed invitations, track RSVPs and communicate with guests.
- Printable luau invitations - Another option is to print your own luau invitations for free. You can even customize the party details on these cute tropical options.
Encourage guests to come to the party in their best tropical attire. Floral dresses are ideal for women, and Hawaiian shirts and board shorts are perfect for male guests. You can even surprise your guests with some tropical-inspired accessories that can also double as their favors:
- Grass skirt - There's nothing like a luau classic! Get everyone into the swing of things with these grass skirts, which are only three dollars apiece from Windy City Novelties.
- Leis - Provide your guests with a leis when they arrive. For large parties, consider these plastic leis from Oriental Trading Company. They are quite a bargain at under $30 for a 200 piece lot. For smaller parties, consider these silk flower leis from Windy City Novelties that are $16 per dozen.
- Flip flops - Provide guests with their own pairs of flip flops. You can buy them in a variety of sizes and styles at the local dollar store, or for larger parties, consider buying them in bulk from Dollar Tree Direct. They retail for $12 per case of 12.
Most luaus are held outdoors during the summer months, but with some creative decorations you can hold your tropical party at a variety of venues. Either way, decorations are a huge part of this party theme. From tiki torches and table centerpieces to life-sized cut-outs, give some serious thought to luau party decorations.
Set the mood for the party by playing Hawaiian music. Consider some of these festive options:
- Traditional music on YouTube - If you have internet access, a smart device, or computer and speakers, you can connect to one of several YouTube videos that play traditional Hawaiian music. This Hawaiian music video is over 50 minutes long.
- Don Ho - Don Ho is synonymous with Hawaiian music. You can download his Greatest Hits! album for around $10 or buy it on CD, both through Amazon.
- Iz - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, also known as "Iz," is a popular Hawaiian performer. Buy his Ka 'Ano'i album on Amazon in many formats, all for under $13.
Hawaiian-Themed Food and Drinks
Every party requires food, and a luau is the perfect place to serve some of your tropical favorites. Whether you want to roast a pig or serve up some Hawaiian Spam, there are lots of ways to serve luau party food.
- If you're handy in the kitchen and your guest list isn't too big, you can use luau party recipes to make traditional dishes like poke and laulau.
- For a cocktail party or a simple gathering, consider keeping the menu to luau-themed finger foods like grilled pineapple and beef satay.
- Side dishes like poi oh boy can really make the meal as well. You can use them to complement Hawaiian pork and other traditional food from the Aloha state.
Finish the meal with a tropical-themed dessert:
- Hawaiian birthday cake - If your luau is in honor of a birthday, make sure the cake fits the theme too. Flavors like coconut and pineapple are sure to please.
Pineapple upside down cake - Pineapples are a common food served at luaus. Carry this theme all the way to dessert by serving this yummy cake recipe from the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Banana guava pie - If pie is more to your liking, consider serving this tropical inspired goody. This tasty recipe also comes from the Polynesian Cultural Center.
- Low fat banana bread - Offer guests a low fat option that is still within your tropical theme, such as this delicious banana bread from I Love Hawaiian Food Recipes.
Drinks are also an important part of any luau. Consider these options:
- Use Hawaiian drink recipes to mix up everything from Mai Tais to Blue Hawaii cocktails.
- Try other tropical drinks like a tequila sunrise or pina colada.
- Be sure to serve plenty of Hawaiian non-alcoholic drinks for guests who are under age or prefer not to drink alcohol.
No party is complete without some luau games and activities.
- Coconut bowling - Fill six empty 16-ounce water bottles with tap water and blue food coloring to resemble the ocean. Buy a real coconut at the grocery store. Create a bowling alley at your party venue by placing the water bottles in a pyramid formation. Then have guests to roll the coconut down to see how many they can knock over in a single roll.
- Swimming - Set up your family swimming pool in the backyard and allow guests to swim. If you have children as guests, be sure to have a responsible adult standing by at all times to help supervise.
Fun and Versatile Theme
A luau is a versatile theme that you can use for any gathering, from a fancy cocktail party to a casual children's' birthday party. By replacing silk or plastic flowers with real ones and serving fancier dishes, you can create an elegant affair. To make the party more kid friendly, serve fun finger foods such as "Pigs in a Blanket" and hang a colorful "Happy Birthday" banner at the venue. No matter how you style it, this is a party that's full of tropical fun.