25 Ideas for an Amazing Lū`au Party

A Lū`au is a practically perfect party theme. Obviously great for summer, a Lū`au party can bring color to a dreary fall or help your holiday party stand out in a unique, tropical-Christmas way. The theme is ideal for virtually any age too—a kids’ afternoon event or an evening adults-only bash. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or other special occasion, or just want to throw a party, a tropical-themed Lū`au with Hawaiian décor, drinks, and food makes for an unforgettable day of fun. Get a head start on planning a Hawaiian celebration with these Lū`au party ideas!

Party Decor for a Hawai`i Theme

Decorating for a Lū`au party is both easy and fun! With some simple Lū`au party supplies, you can make DIY Lū`au decorations that will make your home or backyard look the part. Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Invite your party guests to wear aloha shirts, sarongs, and other Lū`au-themed items.
  2. Greet each guest with a lei and an “Aloha!”
  3. Flower lei and garlands make great decorations, as well as party gifts. Arrange them to adorn your food and beverage tables, or use them as garlands for your deck, doorway, or banister.
  4. Buy tiki torches to light up your backyard once it gets dark. There are versions that burn citronella oil as an insect deterrent, as well as LED versions that are ideal if you want to avoid open flames.
  5. Make centerpieces using hollowed-out pineapples. Just remove the pineapple flesh, then insert a glass jar into the cavity. Fill the jar with water and add flowers! You may need to slice off the bottom of the pineapple to make sure it’s stable. Don’t throw away the pineapple flesh! It can be used for making kabobs and added to drinks too.

Delicious Food and Refreshing Lū`au Party Beverages

Food, Snacks, and Treats for the Perfect Hawaiian Menu

Lū`au and Hawaiian-themed parties are typically on the informal side of things when it comes to food. Rather than serving a sit-down meal indoors, many Lū`au party hosts prefer to grill outside or serve a buffet-style menu of substantial snacks and other Hawaiian-themed treats.

With some simple recipes, you can make Hawaiian party food that get the taste buds singing! No matter what kind of party you’re throwing, there are plenty of Lū`au food ideas your guests will love:

  • Simplify the kids’ menu by serving pizza with pineapple and grilled kabobs using chunks of chicken or pork, alternating with sweet, tangy pineapple.
  • Kalua pua’a, or roast pork, is a classic Hawaiian food cooked in an underground oven called an imu. It’s possible to cook using this method at home, but it’s a long process and can be hazardous. Roast your pork in your kitchen oven if you prefer to keep things simple! 
  • For a delicious twist on kalua pua’a, serve the pork shredded, with pineapple salsa on the side and plenty of Hawaiian sweet rolls. Most people are familiar with King’s Hawaiian brand, but you can make your own at home for an even tastier result.
  • If you’re grilling, try huli huli chicken. This Lū`au recipe’s flavor comes from a tasty marinade of soy sauce, pineapple juice, ginger, and garlic.
  • Create a luscious dessert table using treats like:
  • Round out your dessert menu or end a fun evening with authentic Kona coffee.
  • Add a colorful fruit tray with tropical fruits, such as:
    • Kiwi
    • Mango
    • Melon balls
    • Pineapple – Try grilling pineapple for an extra delicious treat!
  • Bake a decorated cake for the centerpiece of your dessert table. Add a taste of Hawai`i by going for a coconut cake or a pineapple upside-down cake.

Kid-Friendly Mocktails

Serve fruity drinks to go along with your Lū`au party food. These sweet, refreshing mocktails are sure to be a hit with young guests:

  1. Create a kid-friendly Tequila Sunrise with orange juice and Grenadine. This version of the drink is called a Sweet Sunrise.
  2. The Virgin Mai Tai is another delicious kid-friendly mocktail, made with pineapple and orange juices, along with club soda and coconut cream.
  3. Make a Lū`au Party Punch by blending pineapple and orange juices with lemon-lime soda. Serve over ice, or make a slushy version by letting it freeze overnight, then set it out to thaw a couple hours before serving.

Adults-Only Cocktails

Just like the kids’ mocktails, adult Lū`au drinks are fruity and delicious, but these ones come with a kick!

  1. The Mai Tai is a classic beachy cocktail. While the original version is made with rum, curacao, lime juice, and an almond-flavored syrup called orgeat, you can mix it up a bit! Variations use orange and pineapple juices instead of lime, or you can add different-flavored syrups to the blend.
  2. A similarly-named drink, the Blue Hawaii blends vodka, curacao, and pineapple and lemon juices.
  3. The Tequila Sunrise is a simple cocktail that’s always a hit, thanks to its refreshing blend of tequila and orange juice, along with the grenadine that provides its gorgeous coloring.
  4. Serve a Tropic Thunder cocktail made using authentic Kona coffee straight from Hawai`i.

Crafts, Activities, and Games for a Hawaiian Party

Party Crafts

Crafts can be a fun addition to a kids’ party. Adding a few craft activities to the party schedule will keep them happily occupied and gives them a memento or two to take home afterwards. The adults might even enjoy these party crafts too!

  • Make a flower lei. Provide lots of flowers (real tropical flowers or faux silk), along with some reels of cotton thread, and let everyone make their own flower lei to wear at the party. This one is for older kids or adults, as it requires using a needle to poke through each flower to attach them to the cotton.
  • For a fun shell-painting activity, you’ll need enough sea shells for every child to use four or five, along with supplies such as paint, glitter, and glue. Everyone can decorate to their liking, and the shells can serve as a Lū`au party favor.

Lū`au Games and Activities

You don’t have to have games at your Hawaiian Lū`au, but they’re a fun addition to virtually any party. Kids will love them, and many adults might enjoy taking part after a Mai Tai or two!

  • Pass the coconut. Play a version of “hot potato” called “pass the coconut.” Everyone sits in a circle, and one person starts by passing the coconut to the person on their left or right. While the music plays, each person passes the coconut to the person beside them. Stop the music at random intervals, and the person holding the coconut each time is “out.” The game continues until there’s just one person left.
  • Hold a hula-hoop competition! See how long everyone can keep their hoop moving.
  • Limbo! All you need for this one is a broomstick or other long stick and a couple of people to hold it. The stick should be held loosely in cupped hands so that if a player knocks the stick, it will fall over easily. Start with the stick at a height everyone can clear, then lower it by an inch or two each round. Each player is “out” if they touch the ground with their hands or if they knock the stick to the ground.

A Lū`au Theme Is the Perfect Way to Guarantee a Fun Party

No matter what your special occasion is, holding a Lū`au party all but guarantees that you and your party guests will have a great time. The laid-back Hawaiian vibe, plus plenty of good food—like snacks straight from the islands themselves—and delicious drinks, invites everyone to relax and enjoy themselves. And with 25 Lū`au party ideas to get you started, planning should be a cool island breeze!

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