A luau party theme can provide you with a wealth of ideas. While you may not be able to import island foods and flowers, there are other ways to recreate a traditional luau. Establish a relaxed, island-style atmosphere for your guests through your choice of decorations, foods, activities and music.
Decorate your party space with tropical flowers and small lanterns. If you have a backyard pond or other body of water, floating lanterns add a special island touch. Hawaiian flowers include the yellow hibiscus, the yellow ilima, the red ohia, the pink lokelani and the white kukui. Since these types of flowers may be difficult to obtain, use silk flowers or lookalikes. If you are planning the party indoors, set votive candles and flower petals in small glass bowls around the room. Spread the flowers down the center of the tables or scatter petals around a candle centerpiece.
Make kabobs using chicken or pork, fresh fruits and vegetables. Mango, banana, kiwi, papaya, strawberries, grapes and pineapple are good fruit choices; add slices of onions and red and green peppers. Rice and noodles can be used as side dishes or as a bed for the kabobs. Other luau foods to consider include tossed greens, baked sweet potatoes, taro rolls, roast pork, salmon and teriyaki chicken. For dessert, choose from coconut cake, pineapple upside-down cake, banana guava pie, macadamia nut cream pie and tropical fruit ices. Provide tropical cocktails, such as Mai Tais, and a nonalcoholic fruit-based punch.
Plan Hawaiian-themed activities, such as "Pass the Coconut," in which a coconut is passed from person to person as music plays. When the music stops, the person holding the coconut if "out." Set up pineapple bowling, using pineapples as pins and coconuts as balls. Have a hula hoop contest. See who can last the longest or keep the most hoops in play. Another traditional luau favorite is sand bucket toss, in which a player uses a sand shovel to dig ping-pong balls from a bucket of sand and tosses them into an empty bucket set from five to 10 feet away. Whoever fills his bucket with ping-pong balls first is the winner.
Set the mood for your luau with Hawaiian music. Hire musicians if you have room in your budget. Other options include streaming live music from Hawaiian radio or compiling an iTunes list of island artists.
For a luau party, a lei for each guest is a must. Fill a mug with tropical fruit-flavored candies and a small bag of Kona coffee for each guest. Sunglasses, coconut-scented candles and island flower or pineapple earrings or key chains would also be good mementos of an enjoyable party.
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