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Hawaiian Luau Party Theme Ideas

A Hawaiian luau party theme is perfect for a birthday celebration. It's casual and festive at the same time, and it's very easy to find (or create) all the decorating touches you'll need to bring your backyard luau to life.

If you have the time and the inclination, experiment with some easy luau recipes. You'll be giving your guests a unique experience and we guarantee they'll be talking about it for days afterward. And that's what you want!

Of course tropical drinks are a necessity, although they don't have to be alcoholic. But at our luaus you'll always find plenty of rum. Just saying.

By the way, a luau doesn't have to be held outside. You can host a luau indoors too (just no tiki torches please). In fact, it's a great way to perk up the winter blues. Just make sure you have suitable buffet space because a luau is all about the food!

So go on and create a tropical paradise right in your own backyard or even your living room. You'll be feeling the warm breezes in no time! And if by some chance you're not, whip up a Mai Tai...that ought to do it.

  • Greet your guests as they arrive (you could appoint a special greeter dressed in fancy luau garb for this duty) with a lei. Buy them or make them yourself out of flowers, shells, feathers, leaves or nuts. A properly worn lei drapes down in both the front and the back. Also, it's traditional in Hawaii for the guest of honor to be given a special lei to wear so he or she stands out from the other guests.
  • Present your guests with name tags showing their Hawaiian names (you can translate your guests' names into Hawaiian at Internet Island).
  • Fill a pretty basket with silk plumeria blooms for the women to wear in their hair. Traditionally, in Hawaii, wearing the flower behind your right ear means you're single, and behind your left ear means you're taken. Don't forget to have some bobby pins handy too.
  • In Hawaii a luau is a feast, so make sure you put on a big spread for your guests. Having authentic luau food to go along with your Hawaiian luau party theme is key! Pick up some simple luau recipes and impress your guests with these tropical dishes.
  • Have an assortment of tropical drinks on hand (Mai Tais, Blue Hawaiians, and Lava Flows are a few of the most popular) —they're a big part of any luau. Don't forget to have non-alcoholic drinks available too. These luau drink recipes make authentic tropical mixed drinks that'll get your guests in a very happy Hawaiian state of mind (and pretty quickly, too).
  • Your food and drinks will look even more fabulous on tropical patterned dishes and in tiki mugs, coconut shells or glasses with tropical garnishes (exotic flowers, slices of pineapple, and paper umbrellas, for example). Check Target and similar stores for inexpensive tableware. If your party will be outside it's a good idea to get non-breakable dishes and glasses.
  • Transform your backyard into the tropics with tiki torches —yes, even if your Hawaiian luau is in the daytime (fill them with citronella oil for mosquito-repelling benefits), exotic flowers strewn across the buffet table, colorful paper lanterns strung above the party-goers, and strings of lights for great nighttime ambience.
  • Use a couple of beach umbrellas to make shady spots for guests who want to get out of the sun for a bit. Decorate them with raffia streamers or hang grass skirting around the egdes of the umbrellas for a tiki hut look.
  • For a fun cooler for beer, soda and water bottles, fill a child's wading pool with ice or use colorful tin buckets for smaller parties.
  • Check out the new appliances made especially for making frozen drinks. You can blend large batches of drinks with them, which will save you loads of time if you're having a lot of guests.

Keep the Fun Going with Luau Party Games

You know that dreaded feeling in the midst of a party when you suddenly wonder if everyone's truly having a good time? Or when you spot those two or three guests standing on their own looking at their shoes?

Party games are a great way to get everyone involved and interacting with each other. You can use a game as an icebreaker in the beginning of your party to introduce everyone, or bring games out at a later point to keep energy levels high.

We came across these printable party games from Python Printables and think they're fantastic! Here are some of their games specifically for luaus (click on them to be taken to Python's site where you can see these games and more):

printable Hawaiian luau party games printable Hawaiian luau party games
Survival of the Fittest Luau Game Hawaiian Moo-Luau Mad Libs luau game

Don't forget to send your guests off with party favors. Be kitschy or do something unexpected and present your guests with mini bottles of Malibu® coconut rum tucked into tiki mugs or jars of honey from Maui's lavender fields.

We've got more fun ideas for luau party favors if you're still looking for inspiration.


And if you're in need of cute luau party invitations, look no further!


You might also be interested in these pages:


Do you have Hawaiian luau party theme ideas of your own? We'd love it if you'd share them with us! Send us an email and we'll be sure to publish your ideas for our readers to enjoy.

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