20 Luau Party Ideas to Celebrate Hawaiian-Style

Updated December 20, 2021
Friends toasting with tropical drinks

Transform your pool area or backyard into a tropical paradise with these luau party ideas that you can recreate in no time to host an epic luau that will delight your special guests. From traditional Hawaiian food and dessert ideas to refreshing drinks to cater to adults and children, your luau is bound to be a success.

Serve Tropical Cocktails in Coconut Halves

Coconut cocktail

Take your tropical cocktails up a notch by serving them in coconut halves. To crack a coconut in half, poke the three eyes with a skewer or sharp knife to find the one that's soft. Push the skewer through the soft eye and create a ½-inch hole. Drain the coconut into a bowl. Tap it with a meat tenderizer, turning as needed, until the shell starts cracking. Split the shell in half. Pour your cocktail in the coconut halves, garnish them with fresh pineapple slices and add a festive touch with drink umbrellas and paper straws.

Adorn Cupcakes With Dried Pineapple Flowers

Cupcakes decorated with dried pineapple chips

Dress up plain cupcakes with dried pineapple flowers. They are simple to make and require very little effort. Dress up cupcake, cakes or any other desserts of your choosing.

How to Make Dried Pineapple Flowers

All you need is a fresh pineapple, a baking sheet with a cooling rack to make these dried pineapple flower edible decorations.

  1. Cut off the outside pineapple shell. Do not remove the core.
  2. Using a mandoline, cut the pineapple into super thin slices. Pat pineapples dry.
  3. Arrange pineapple slices on top of a cooling rack and place it inside of a baking sheet.
  4. Bake pineapple slices in the oven for 2-3 hours at 200°F, until they look super crispy.
  5. Shape the slices by carefully placing them into individual small muffin tin cups. Let them cool completely.
  6. Have fun dressing up your desserts for your Luau party.

Set Up a Tiki Bar

Bartender mixing cocktails in a tropical themed bar

No luau party is complete without a tiki bar. Plan to set up your own tiki bar by purchasing a tiki bar hut in advance and have a tall table you can use to display your tropical drinks. Add the perfect finishing touches with hibiscus tropical leaf garlands, paper lanterns, and tiki torches . Incorporate fresh pineapples, coconut, guava and other exotic fruit into your bar decor. Last but not least, display a tiki bar menu to help guests visualize the cocktails available.

Leis Backdrop

Hawaiian flower leis

Create a colorful lei backdrop using fresh or artificial flowers for your party tablescape or a designated spot for photo booth fun. Leis are most commonly made of flowers like orchids, ginger or kika blossoms, or jasmine.

Serve Hawaiian Inspired Food

Serve Hawaiian Inspired Food

Whether you are planning to serve a traditional Hawaiian menu or adding a fun spin to it to appeal to most guests, present your dishes to fit your luau theme by serving them in natural wood trays and bowls. Spruce them up with hibiscus, fresh tropical fruit, and palm leaves.

Make Haupia Coconut Cream Pie

Woman holding haupia Hawaiian coconut cream pie

Treat your guests to something authentic and serve a delightful Haupia coconut cream pie. Haupia is a classic Hawaiian dessert made from coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch, and water - a cross between coconut jelly and pudding.

Hula Skirt Relay

Hula dancing

Divide participants into teams. Each team gets a hula skirt, coconut top, and lei. Each player must put on the hula outfit and run to a checkpoint and back, pass the hula outfit onto the next player in line. The team whose all participants in line complete the task wins.

Create a Tropical Cake

Tropical themed cake

If you are planning on incorporating a cake into your tablescape, keep it simple yet elegant. Dress up a buttercream cake with coconut, colorful cocktail parasols and tropical foliage to easily bring the luau theme to life. You can opt for baking a piña colada or coconut flavored cake. Or even better, a traditional Hawaiian guava cake.

Plan a Pineapple Bowling Game

pineapple and coconut on the beach

Set up ten pineapple "pins" about 20 feet away from each team. Players will take turns trying to knock down pineapples using coconuts as bowling balls.

Serve Refreshing Piña Coladas

Refreshing Piña Colada

Piña colada is the ultimate drink to enjoy at a luau party, whether it's being held at the beach or by the pool. It's the perfect balance between rum, coconut, and pineapple and that explains why piña coladas are an all-time favorite. If there will be kids in attendance, you can treat them to frozen virgin piña coladas.

Design a Hibiscus Flower Centerpiece

Hibiscus Flower Centerpiece

Yellow hibiscus (hibiscus brackenridgei), also known as the pua mao hau hele is Hawaii's official state flower, and that explains why you see hibiscus being beautifully incorporated into Hawaii-inspired parties. To add a special touch to your Luau tablescape, consider designing your own flower centerpiece using fresh or artificial hibiscus.

Set Up a Create-Your-own Poke Bowl Bar

Poke bowls with salmon and tuna on the table

Impress your guests with the ultimate poke bar complete with all the fixings for the guests to create their own poke bowls. In addition, set out bowls, napkins and chopsticks.

Poke Bowl Fixings

Pick your favorite poke fixings and serve them in separate serving bowls complete with labels, so the guests know exactly what their choices are.

  • Steamed white rice
  • Sashimi salmon cut into small cubes
  • Sashimi tuna cut into small cubes
  • Bean sprouts
  • Fried shallots
  • Cubed avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Mandarin wedges
  • Edamame
  • Shredded carrots
  • Crispy garlic
  • Sesame seeds
  • Cubed cucumber
  • Cubed mango
  • Shredded Napa cabbage
  • Pickled ginger
  • Fried wonton Strips
  • Seaweed salad
  • Poke dressings of your choice

Play "Pass the Coconut" Game

Coconuts

Much like the popular game of "hot potato," but using a coconut. Play Hawaiian music while guests pass a coconut around while lined up in a circle. Stop the music. Whoever is holding the coconut is out. The last person left wins.

Grill Pineapple for Aloha Burgers

Aloha Burgers Grilled Pineapple, Chicken, Onion

Aloha burgers are a great departure from the usual cheeseburgers. Offer a choice of regular beef patty or teriyaki, add cheese, grilled pineapple, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and finish it off with a tangy Hawaiian sauce.

Decorate Luau Inspired Cupcakes

Luau themed cupcakes on a plate

If kids are attending your luau party, they will be delighted with these fun beach inspired cupcakes. Add a dollop of buttercream to your cupcake using an ice cream scoop, dip the cupcake in fine shredded coconut and embellish with palm trees made out of chocolate dipped pretzels and green colored chocolate. To complete the look, add a small piece of fruit slice to resemble a beach towel, then place a gummy bear on top.

Have Floating Trays Available

Tropical breakfast with fresh fruit on floating tray in swimming pool

If you are hosting your luau party by the pool, take your party planning up a notch by making floating bamboo trays available for your guests to enjoy their food and drinks while in the pool. Make it festive by decorating the bamboo trays with banana leaves and tropical frangipani flowers.

Serve Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi is a popular snack in Hawaii. It consists of a slice of grilled Spam on top of a block of rice (onigiri) wrapped together with nori. If you have friends who are big sushi fans coming to your Luau, consider preparing a tray of Spam Musubi.

Serve Ice Cream in Ananas Bowl

Pineapple Bowl with ice-cream and whipped Cream

Impress your guests and serve ice cream in pineapple bowls. Simply add ice cream scoops to Ananas bowls, gently mix in fresh diced pineapple, and top it with whipped cream and shredded coconut. Arrange bowls on a large tray and keep them in the freezer until it's time to serve.

Whip Up Original Mai Tais

Mai tai Cocktail

Combine about one-half ounce of orange curaçao with two ounces of orange juice. Add about one-half ounce lime juice and a small amount of simple syrup and orgeat (classic French almond syrup). Add one ounce of either light and dark rum and serve over ice. If you're feeling creative, garnish your mai tai drinks with tropical fruit and fresh edible flowers.

Enjoy Your Paradise Island

Keep the party going with popular Hawaiian tunes and additional luau party games that will entertain your guests throughout the party. Whether you are celebrating at the beach or by the pool, create an enjoyable atmosphere to transport everyone to a paradise island.

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