luau party theme. how to plan luau

Luau Party Ideas: How to plan the perfect luau theme party!

 Luaus are one of our favorite parties here at Party411.com--they are colorful and fun, and the food is fabulous (what more is there to a luau, except cool tropical drinks?). So, if you ask me, I think planning a luau is a great way to have a party. Limbo on down the page and check out these fun luau party ideas...

Luau invites: wording ideas and more

Send a personalized luau invitation. With many bright designs to choose from, you will find one that delights you (and your guests). Sprinkle some silk flowers in the envelope to add some extra fun (just pull apart a silk flower lei)
 
Prove you're creative and include a lei in with the invite. Tell them they must wear it, and that you want them to dress for a luau (be ready for some ugly aloha shirts). This will get them talking long before the party!
 
Here are some fun luau theme wording ideas that you can use on your invites, or even a party banner -
  • Join us for a Tiki-rific 40th Birthday Party!
  • Come and Hula by the Poola at Lauren's 30th Birthday Luau!
  • Join us for a "Lei'd Back " Hawaiian Luau Party!
  • Come and join in the fun, this Hula Girl is turning 21!
  • The torches are lit, the theme is set... we're having a luau you'll never forget!
  • We're going tropical for the 4th of July, so break out the flip flops and leis and hula on by!
  • Dress code is Tacky Tourist (go ahead, show us your worst!)
  • Put on your craziest Hawaiian shirts and a leis, bring a swimsuit, sunblock and shades!
If you want a unique invitation check out these great semi-custom caricature invitations, featuring a Luau Man or a Grass Skirt wearing Woman. Using art that has already been drawn, we can add a photo face or a caricature face and personalize the message for you! You can use the semi-custom caricature as the design for other fun elements in your Hawaiian luau, including centerpieces, a welcome sign, thank you notes, and much more!


Luau Party Decorations and Party Supplies: welcome your guests and decorate the party room

 

Here are our favorite luau party ideas and the supplies and decorations we recommend to make your tropical celebration perfect:

 

Make it easy for people to spot your house with balloons and a luau personalized banner out front. To make a grand entrance, place inflatable palm trees outside your door as the first indication to your guests that this is going to be the luau to remember.

 

Hollowed out pineapples, coconuts and oranges make great votive and tealight holders. You can use them to decorate your tables, or line them along a mantle, or a porch railing.

 

Colorful beach towels draped over chairs, tables, the fence, or even hanging on the wall will bring color to the party room.

 

Add a CD player with island music to create the perfect atmosphere. If you are really adventurous and can stand the ridicule and neighbor gossip, use pink flamingos to adorn your front yard or line them up the driveway or front sidewalk.

 

For a very memorable greeting, set up a female or male life-sized luau cutout of you (or your friends!) with a speech bubble welcoming your guests to the party.

 

Have a big basket of multi-color leis inside the door where people can help themselves to a few. I would plan on a few per person so that they can be creative and festive with their leis.

 

If you think you have the time, stand at the door and greet everyone with a lei--this is always a nice gesture and a traditional way of saying aloha.

 

If you are really talented, have a ukulele on hand to serenade your guests as they enter. Maybe put a note on the basket urging your guests to wear them wherever they please. This will make for fun photo opportunities (you can send them later as a thank you for attending the party).

Tropical scene setters make great decorations for your party.  These things are great and given how big they are they add real value. Or you can do things yourself. Use netting as your backdrop and fill it with inflatable sealife!

You can dress up the rest of the party room with fun luau party decorations. These area few of our favorites -

Outdoor Luau Decorations: ideas for Your Backyard, deck or porch

The backyard is just as fun to decorate as the rest of the house, so don't neglect this space if weather permits or if you plan to expand the party outside. Paper lanterns might be a nice touch, whether inside or in the back yard. A tiki bubble machine is also very fun!
 

Hang wind chimes and wooden parrots to give a complete background to your setting. Tiki torches around the yard/patio are a must. And don't forget the citronella candles.
 

Luau theme table Decorations; ideas for centerpieces, the tables and the bufftet

Decorating your luau tables will really set the scene and highlight all the wonder island food and drinks:

  • Use a raffia table skirt around the buffet table to bring Hawaii right inside your home.  Use a green plastic or linen tablecloth over the buffet and pin the raffia skirting to the edges.
  • Add fabulous tropical Mylar balloons (all you need is some helium) such as this hula girl balloon, sun Mylar balloon or fun pink dolphin balloon so buffets can be seen from anywhere at the party.
  • Use beachcomber hats (multi-color or plain) upside down to hold different snacks and munchies.
  • Throw a mixture of foil-wrapped chocolate fish and confetti across your table, or break apart a silk flower lei and scatter the flowers.
  • Provide tropical toothpicksfor fruit and other nibbles.
  • Use baskets on each buffet to hold Luau theme paper goods, cutlery and cups.
  • Add some luau lights and tiki candles to the bar area.
  • Make sure to use tropical colors for your tablecloths--yellow, green, hot pink, melon, orange and bright blue. Add your own seashells, maracas and sand.
  • Another great ideas is to use piñatas as your centerpieces, or if you prefer, hang them above the tables.

Luau Seating Card Ideas:
If you are assigning seats or if you want to give out nametags (and this is wise when you have a lot of friends that don't know each other), here's a few fun ideas:

  • Thongs - You know, the rubber kind you wear on your feet with a flower in the center? They make for a great nametag or seating card. Just write the name in magic marker, add a 25¢ chain or ribbon (necklace) and voila--a humorous way to get people talking about your creativity and their thongs. Line them up alphabetically on a table near the entrance.
  • Starfish or Sand Dollars - Write the name of the person on it. For name tags, string some ribbon around it.
  • Luau Drink Parasol - Add a small tag with a name! Color of umbrella could also designate table.
  • Catch of the Day - Add a name and table number with marker to an inflatable fish and display them in netting
  • Rafia Fan - Will keep guests cool at your luau. Hang on the chair with personalized name tag to double as favor and seating card.
  • Message in a Bottle - Add a little sand and a name tag on the outside of the bottle


Luau theme Party food

The food at any luau party is important! Here are a few of our favorite luau party foods -

  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches (great with baked beans)
  • Grilled Shrimp or Mahi Mahi
  • Pig Roast (if you are really commited!)
  • Pinapple Salsa and Chips
  • Mini Ham Sandwiches on Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • Fruit Cups or Kabobs
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cakes
  • Hawaiian Fried Rice with Chicken and Pinapple Kabobs
  • Ambrodia Salad
  • Goldfish Crackers

 Luau theme Party Bar: glasses, decoration ideas and drink ideas

Here are a few easy and fun luau party ideas for your tropical theme bar:
  • For a cute addition to your drinks, freeze gummy fish and sharks in ice cubes!
  • Rent a slushie machine and serve frozen drinks with tiny umbrellas!
  • If you can't swing a drink machine, buy the tubs of pre-mixed margaritas and then serve the drinks in fantastic luau themed glasses.
You can serve a variety of drinks, and here are the ones we think are best for a luau theme party -
 
Pina Colada
This makes 4 drinks (about a blender full)
  • 3/4 cup white rum
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup Coco Lopez Coconut Cream
  • 4 cups crushed ice
Blend all ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve garnished with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry. 
 
Jello Shots in Fruit Slices - Cut oranges, lemons, and limes in half (through the axis) and hollow out pulp leaving the rind shell. Set each half rind upright in the cup of a muffin tin and fill with Jello. For Jello shots just replace 1 /12 cup water with 1 cup vodka in the recipe so the Jello is nice and firm. Fun Jello flavors to use... Pineapple, Strawberry Kiwi, Orange. Refrigerate overnight. Cut each rind into wedges and serve.
 
Fruit Punch
A fruity tropical punch is a great option for both children and adults. Mix 1/2 gallon pineapple juice, 1/2 gallon fruit punch, 1/2 gallon orange sherbet, and a 2 liter of ginger ale. Serve in a punch bowl and float pineapple rings on top. For an alcoholic version, add rum or vodka (and tiny paper umbrellas). 
 
Other great alcoholic drinks for a luau party:
Rum Punch 
Blue Hawaiian
Mai Tai
Fruit Daiquiris 
 
Non-alcoholic drink ideas:
Hawaiian Fruit Punch
Lemonade
Fruit Daiquiris made without liquor
 
You can dress up your own glasses with tropical colored straws and cocktail umbrellas. You may want to add some tropical lights around the bar as well.


Luau Party Music, Luau Party Games and Luau Party Activities
Good luau music not only sets the mood but you learn to do the Hula or the Limbo. Here is a great luau party playlist:

  • Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley
  • Aloha Oe - Johnny Cash
  • The Gilligan's Island Theme
  • Hukilau Song - Don Ho
  • Ukulele Lady - Bette Midler
  • Wipeout - The Surfaris
  • Soul Bossa Nova – Quincy Jones
  • Kokomo - The Beach Boys
  • Island Girl - Elton John
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
  • Surfin USA - Beach Boys
  • The Pina Colada Song - Escape
  • Banana Boat Song - Harry Belafonte
  • The Girl from Ipanema - Frank Sinatra or Astrud Gilberto & Stan Getz
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens

Luau Party Games and Luau Party Activities. The Game Girl has the “rules” for Limbo, Mai Tai Limbo, The Tacky Tourist Relay and the Hula Hoop Spin Off. Just visit our Luau Game Page. Or there is always fun to be had with a piñata:

Luau Party Photo Booth

Set up a luau photo booth area where guests can get a little dressed up and take some great pictures!

 Luau Party Favors
A big part of any luau is letting your guests dress up. You have plenty of costumes and accessories to choose from including leis, hula skirts, and even coconut tops. (My buddy John puts on this coconut top at every luau and beach party and we laugh every single time.)

So pass out the wearables and get everyone ready to party! These will work for anyone -

Your guests can't help but have a great time in a pair of fun glasses and a glow necklace! The best part is that these fun wearables double as great party favors.

Bubbles and squirt fish are great fun favors for the kids. Put them in a pail with a shovel, along with a pack of sidewalk chalk and some candy.

If you want a more traditional party favor to hand out as your guests leave, try a personalized luau candy bar wrapper or personalized luau candy or mint tin! It is a sweet way to thank all of your guests for coming. Though I am sure everyone will be thanking you for the great time they had at your luau party!