Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas

Fun And Fabulous Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas
To Help You Turn Your Home Into A Tropical Paradise

Since we can't hop aboard an American Airline jet and head across the Pacific to enjoy a Hawaiian Luau why not have one right here in our own back yard. It certainly requires less traveling and no jet lag is involved.

Planning a theme party is fun with the help of family and friends and can reduce the stress level considerably. First rule, mail your invitations early especially if this is a summer party. That way you will not be disappointed if people have vacations planned for the same time as the party. Second, work out a sensible budget and stay with it. Recruit your volunteers early and assign special tasks to them. If you plan on creating special decorations have them all completed at least a week ahead of time to avoid unnecessary stress.

A luau is a wonderful opportunity for taking lots of fun photos and they're sure to find their way into the party memory book. You might want to have your photographer dress like a cabana boy or a surfer and act like a member of the Paparazzi. Snap, Snap, Smile, and Smile!


Buying your invitations is a matter of checking out the web and party suppliers for the right one. If you're not finding what you want, why not roll up your sleeves and create your own?

PLANE TICKET TO HAWAII INVITATIONS – If you’re throwing a Hawaiian luau party, why not give guests an invitation to all the fun that looks like a plane ticket to Hawaii. You can print these invites up on the computer or you can make them by hand. You’ll want the size and shape of the invites to look like real plane tickets. Use the family last name for the name of the airline, such as “McQueen Airlines.” Make a fun little logo to put on the tickets as well, such as a lei. Have fun with the wording on the invite too. Here are some wording ideas to use on your plane ticket invites:

Name of Guest: (Place this at the top left)
Date: May 27th
Flight: McQueen (guest’s age)
Board: (time of party)
Arrive: (party address)
RSVP: (give contact info here)
Doors close 10 minutes before takeoff so arrive on time and be dressed for arrival in Hawaii!

HAWAIIAN LUAU PARTY INVITATION - Start out with a piece of card stock in a light cheery color. Check out some clipart options and download onto the card stock some palm trees, pineapple, fish, surf boards, hula girls or items that are associated with a Hawaiian theme. At the top of the card print or write in script “Let's Luau”. On the reverse side provide all the party details, including directions to your home, party start and end time, and finish with the RSVP info. If you want to accent your clipart, you could add some glitter to the edges for a little sparkle appeal.

Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas For Invites

SUNGLASSES INVITATION - Write or type out all of your party details onto a decorative piece of scrapbook paper and cut them out using decorative scissors. Then laminate the invite, hole-punch in the upper left-hand corner, and feed a curling ribbon through the hole. Tie the invite to a pair of sunglasses and hand-deliver to your guests.

HIBISCUS INVITATION - Look for a picture of a Hibiscus flower--one that is large enough to cover the front of your card stock. Write in script across the top of the card "Aloha". On the inside provide all the details of the party. Accent the edges of the flower with glitter. Seal your envelope with a Luau sticker.

Fun Luau Invite Wording:

Rock the hula!
Move your hips and hula your way to (Name’s) Hawaiian luau birthday party.
The feast starts on (party date) at (party time and location).
Let us know if you’ll be joining us on the island: (RSVP info)


Dressing for a luau is really fun and easy. You might even have everything you need right in your closet. Most beach attire is acceptable along with the Hawaiian muumuu, shorts and crop tops, sarongs, cut-offs, tropical shirts, sandals, straw hats, big sun glasses and of course layers of leis and flowers for the ladies hair, along with jewel decorated hair combs. In addition, let us not forget the all-important grass skirt and the bikini bra top as no luau is complete without them. Use a spray on tan product to complete the tropical look if you haven’t acquired a summer tan of your own.


When hosting a luau themed party you'll have to determine if it will be held inside the home or outside in the backyard. As with anything there are advantages and disadvantages to both options. To get you started thinking everything-luau, here are some Hawaiian luau party ideas designed for the great outdoors:

  • Having a party outdoors for this theme is perfect as the bushes and trees can be decorated with twinkling lights and lanterns.

  • Balloon bouquets in groups of three tied to the entry gate along with a welcome sign printed in bold print “Aloha--Welcome to (Name's) Birthday Luau Party”.

  • Decorate your gate with streamers and flowers and present each guest with a lei as they arrive and have one of your volunteers escort them inside.

  • Now would be an excellent time for your cabana boy photographer to start snapping pictures of the guests.

  • An outdoor luau party must have tiki torches stationed around the yard to add to the tropical atmosphere.

  • Tropical colored birds are also a must-have item for this type of party. You can find them on the web made out of tissue paper. Place them in the bushes and trees in your yard.

  • There are a number of luau party decorations that are made out of tissue paper including flowers which could be added to your greenery to create the feel of a Hawaiian atmosphere; they look like the real deal and are reasonably priced.
Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas

If your heart is set on hosting a luau themed party but the weather is not cooperating or perhaps it's even winter, you can always opt to bring the party inside. Just be sure you keep the house warm enough as your guests will be wearing beach attire. Here are some Hawaiian luau party ideas for inside decor:

  • First of all, you'll want to decorate your entryway and/or front door so it instantly lets guests know they are indeed attending a luau. Start by covering your door with a luau themed door cover or opt to create your own out of a colorful piece of butcher paper--lime green or hot pink would be great. Print across the top in bold letters “Aloha! Welcome to the Luau Birthday Party for (Name). Tape on cut outs of palm trees, tropical birds, pineapples or any item associated with Hawaii.

  • Create a balloon bouquet of balloons in various beach item shapes and attach to both sides of the door frame. This will allow you to greet your guests in the same way as you would outside.

  • The favorite colors for an adult luau party are lime green, and hot pink; although done correctly orange with black accents can also work nicely. You just have to be careful with your decoration selections to insure they don't look anything like Halloween.

  • Decorating your party room is a fun and creative task. You can purchase wall covers that will turn your room into a tropical paradise. These scene setters come in various sizes and tape to the wall and are easily removed.

  • You'll easily be able to find things like a paradise beach scene, palm tree wall decorations, ocean and beach scenes, along with lots of luau banner options that can be hung over doorways, on the garage door, a wall, over the cake table, and just about anywhere that needs a luau accent.

  • You could also browse the internet or magazine for scenes of Hawaii and create a montage of Hawaiian scenes mounted on butcher paper and hang it on the main party wall.
Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas

  • Place all plants and flowers that you can obtain throughout the party rooms to create the feeling of being outdoors in a luau atmosphere. Plug in fragrant room fresheners that will help add to the tropical ambiance.

  • Place some of the tropical tissue paper birds in the room amongst the greenery.

  • Float balloon bouquets comprised of your party colors and curly ribbon streamers throughout the room. Balloon bouquets should be made with an odd number of balloons; 3 or 5 balloons generally make for a nice bouquet.

  • Music is a major part of a luau and Don Ho is one of the favorite performers for traditional Hawaiian music. You can either burn a CD or download to your IPod lots of Hawaiian music to play throughout the day/night.

  • Tiny Bubbles would be a nice music selection to use when greeting your guests. You also have a tiki bubble machine going at the entryway to emphasize the theme even more so.

  • One of the most popular spots will be the party table. You'll want to be sure this focal point has an extra special appearance that shouts out Luau-Wow! A buffet table where guests are free to help themselves to their Hawaiian fare is the best option for this type of party. Having an indoor or outdoor party there is no difference in the food service. Place the table so your guests are able to walk on either side to serve themselves.
Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas

  • You'll want to be sure to create a luau centerpiece that will accent your table in luau style.

  • You can either opt to go with solid party ware or a luau themed pattern. Either one will work out nicely--just evaluate your decorations and determine if the table is crying out for a pattern or if a solid will do.

  • Be sure to sprinkle some luau themed confetti on the table to add a little luau pizzazz.

  • At an outside party seating is usually at picnic tables, benches, lawn chairs and the like. Inside you could set up TV trays, card tables and folding chairs or opt to just let people do the balancing act on their laps. Make sure you have the seating arrangements in your pre-party planning finalized so there are enough seats for your guests.

  • Set up a separate table for your drinks and snacks for your guests to enjoy prior to the main meal. Use a plastic table cover and be sure to have plenty of paper towels on hand for any spills that might occur. Have clear plastic or luau theme printed cups available, along with party napkins and small plates for the guests to use. Center the Punch Bowl in the middle of the table and make all of your drinks fruit based.


To keep your guests not only occupied but also entertained you'll want to be sure to plan some fun luau theme party games. Some of the following game suggestions are better suited for outside play and others for inside.

HAWAIIAN MAKAHIKI GAMES - These type of games are strictly for the great outdoors and they have a bit of twist to make them more neighborhood friendly. Originally, the Makahiki games were played by the warriors in the early period of Hawaiian history. Although Hawaiian warriors wouldn't be interested in playing the following Hawaiian luau party ideas for these games, they're perfect for your party-going warriors:

WARRIOR SPEAR THROWING - First we'll start by substituting darts for spears. Next we need a god-sized watermelon decorated with ears, snout, eyes and a curly tail to resemble a pig which will be used as the target. The object of the game is for the “Brave Warriors” to toss their spears {Darts} and try to hit the target. It's not as easy as you might think; however it is lot of fun for the Warriors.

ROLLING STONES -This game is played with medium-sized rocks that you toss at a target which is a post that has been inserted into the ground. Whoever is the closest to the target wins the game. In the case of a tie, have a playoff. Once again, this game is a little more difficult than it might appear; it does require good aim and skill in order to be successful in your endeavor to win.

Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas

FOOT RACES - Hawaiian men are great competitors and they generally love to engage in a good old-fashioned foot race to determine who is the fastest of them all. Once again, you'll have to evaluate your crowd to determine if this is a go for your group.

The next batch of games can either be played indoors or out assuming you have ample room in your house. If you don't have sufficient room in your home to play a few lively games, you might want to consider holding your party elsewhere--perhaps you have a friend who has a large house that's just begging for a luau party. At any rate, here are some additional Hawaiian luau party ideas for some games and activities:

HAWAIIAN BEACH TOWEL - If you have a fun-loving crowd who likes to compete, you can bring to life a popular child's game and do it Hawaiian style. This game is played like musical chairs except you use beach towels or mats in place of the chairs and you play Hawaiian music. It's the love of competing and winning that will make or break this game. If your crowd likes to be #1 then they'll get into it and endeavor to be the last one standing on that coveted beach towel. If this is not the kind of crowd you have then this game will not work for adults.

HULA CONTEST - A luau begs for a hula contest which you can easily do inside or outside. Add a novel twist by having the guys challenge the gals while dressed in costume. Namely, a grass skirt, a bikini bra, barefoot, and wearing a flower ankle bracelet. That sounds like something that will create some great photo-ops for the memory book! You can have a winner for both male and female and then an overall winner of the contest. Be sure to award appropriate prizes for all their efforts.

Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas

HAWAIIAN TRANSLATIONS - Another game that will work well inside or out is Hawaiian Translations. Prior to the party prepare a list of Hawaiian words along with their English Translations. Hand this out to you guests and give them a minute to try and memorize it. Collect the lists and then return to the players a list which contains the Hawaiian words on one side and the English words on the other and have them try to match them up. When their time is up, read out the correct answers and the winner shall be the person who has the most correct responses. Here are a few examples of words that could be used for this game:

Ahe = Breeze
Ahi = Fire
Aloha = Hello & Goodbye
Anuanu = Cold
Hana Hou! = One More Time
Honi = Kiss
Kane = Man
Kahuna = Priest
Kala = Money
Kaukau = Food
Kumu = Teacher
Kupunakane = Grandfather
Limu - Seaweed
Mahalo = Thank You
Mahina = Moon
Miu = Coconut
Moku = Island
Ohana = Family
Pipi = Cow
Pomaika'i = Good Luck
Wahine = Woman
Wiwi = Skinny

HAWAIIAN-RELATED TRIVIA - Create questions relating to actors, movies, songs, TV Shows, vocalists, and groups of the last 50 years that have to do with Hawaii. For example you might ask which actor first used the phrase “Book 'em Dano.” The answer is Jack Lord from the original Hawaii Five-O TV show.

HAWAIIAN DANCE & SONG - Looking for something different for the party--try and find a Polynesian Culture Group that you could hire to entertain your guests with Hawaiian song and dance.


You'll want your luau party foods to be as authentic as possible to carry the theme right to the party table. To help get you started in the right direction, here are a some Hawaiian luau party ideas that are as yummy to the tummy as they are authentic.

FRESH PIG - The main attraction is the Kalua pig roasted in an imu. No underground oven in your neighborhood? That’s ok you can attain the same results by cooking your pork in a crock pot with smoke flavoring until it falls off the bone and you have shredded pork. Not as dramatic as cooking underground but just as tasty.

SWEET POTATOES - Sweet potatoes make for a great authentic side dish and they go well with the pork. If you're able to purchase the purple sweet potatoes then you'll really be authentic, but since they come from Japan they might be a bit of a challenge to find at your local market.

FRUIT - Large bowls of fresh cut-up fruits like Mandarin oranges, kumquats, mango, guavas, bananas, papaya, and pineapple.

Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas

HULI-HULI CHICKEN - This is another great option to consider. It's the Hawaiian version of Texas BBQ and considered to be a favorite at Hawaiian luaus. Long grain rice is a perfect add-on with your chicken dish.

HAM & PINEAPPLE - Cut the ham and pineapple into cubes, add a decorate toothpick and you've got a simple to create and favorite appetizer.

HAWAIIAN PIZZA - Pizza in any form is always a fun option and sure to be a hit. The best way to make it authentic is to serve it Hawaiian style--pineapple and ham.

SHRIMP - Shrimp with dipping sauce is a yummy choice and sure to be a hit; however the expense might not make it a great option to include.

Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas

BLUE HAWAII - This comes from the days of Elvis and Hawaii. All you need to do is mix a packet of blue Kool-Aid with a liter of club soda. Add sugar to taste and garnish with a piece of cut-up pineapple.

HAWAIIAN PUNCH - Mix together 1 quart of OJ., pineapple juice and 1 liter of Sprite or other lemon-lime soda. Garnish each serving with a slice of orange.

PINEAPPLE ICE TEA - Mix together 4 parts ice tea to 1 part pineapple juice. Garnish with slices of pineapple.


Everyone loves cake but when you make it a luau cake--all the better. There are a couple of options that are a bit more authentic than others that you might want to consider or you can do a work-around and go with something that could be considered on the fringe.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE - This cake was originally the inspiration of the Dole pineapple company. Although it might be a bit challenging to use as a traditional birthday cake, it could nonetheless be a great add-on.

Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas

COCOCNUT CAKE - This cake could easily work while keeping the tradition of only Hawaiian foods being served at your luau. To start use your favorite white cake or coconut cake recipe for a 2-layer cake. Tint your frosting to resemble the color of beach sand frost the bottom layer and add a filling of shredded coconut. Then frost the top layer to match and arrange candy seashells around the top edge of the cake. Place a Hawaiian hula cake topper in the center of the cake and add a birthday message in one of your party colors using cake gel. When frosting the outside of the cake, be sure to press some tinted coconut into the frosting. In the alternative if you're short on time, you could mix the coconut right into the frosting and cover the cake with this mixture.

READY-MADE LUAU CAKE - When all else fails have your favorite bakery create the cake to your exact specifications. They're sure to have lots of Hawaiian luau party ideas for cakes. Perhaps one that has a beach chair and umbrella decoration.


Regardless of age everyone looks forward to receiving party favors. Be sure to stay on theme and select your luau birthday party favors that are in keeping with your theme. Choices might include a paper fan, sun-visor, seashell-shaped candies, Kona coffee beans or Hawaiian tea bags, Hawaiian lei, or a coconut candle. This is one time when selecting favors will be easy to do once you can decide from all of the choices that are available.


The Hawaiians are a very proud race of people and take great pride in remembering their past and honoring it to the fullest. In keeping with this attitude a Hawaiian luau is steeped deeply in tradition and custom. We've tried to make party recommendations and suggestions that somewhat follow a traditional luau. Snag what you like, discard the rest and have a great adult luau party. Remember--take lots of pictures so your luau party book will be a source of great remembrances in the years to come. Mahola!

YOUR Favorite Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas, Cakes & Costumes

Do you have some favorite Hawaiian luau party ideas, cakes and costumes? Do tell! Please share all your party tips and ideas for invitations, decorations, games, etc., along with your Hawaiian luau cakes and costumes.

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