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Luau Party Ideas

Luau Party Ideas

Browse our Luau Party Ideas for planning a great Hawaiian Luau Party. The following categories highlight the different topics for our Luau Party Ideas.


Aloha is Hawaiian for welcome and love. Leis represent the spirit of Aloha.

In Hawaii, vacationers are often greeted with leis upon their arrival to the islands.  Your family and friends might enjoy this custom, so give them a lei and say Aloha.

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Hawaiian Shirts

The Hawaiian shirt became popular in the 1930's. As tourism increased in Hawaii, vacationioners wanted souvenirs to take home. Local clothing companies began making brightly colored shirts of rayon, a fabric that held bright colors and was cheap. Tourists would buy the comfortable shirts to wear during their vacation and take them home as keepsakes. Today these shirts, sometimes called Aloha shirts, are a symbol of Hawaii.

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Leis are the symbol of Aloha in Hawaiian culture. In Hawaii, both men and women wear flower leis. They provide a sense of enjoyment and pride. For tourists, the lei has become a tradition of visiting the Hawaiian Islands. Vacationers are usually welcomed with a lei and the word Aloha. Aloha is Hawaiian for welcome and love.

Leis are made of a variety of natural flowers including Hibiscus Leis, Orchid Leis, Jasmine Leis and Plumeria Leis. There are also leis made of nuts called Kukui Nut Leis.

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Luau Decorations

Traditional Luau
The traditional Hawaiian luau has tables covered with paper or tapa fabric. They are lined with ti leaves, lauae ferns and flowers down the center.

Simple Luau
Since the traditional flowers and plants are generally only found in Hawaii (and are very expensive), we recommend using simple decorations with a luau theme. Focus on items such as palm trees, parrots, torches, tiki figures and lots and lots of flowered items.
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Luau Food

The traditional Hawaiian luau fare includes laulau, lomi lomi, poke, poi, sweet potatoes, papaya, pineapple, liliko'I and haupia or kulolo.  These foods, described below, may not be appetizing to your guests.  So, you may want to offer a few of the traditional foods (such as poi, papaya, pineapple and sweet potatoes) for a unique experience and focus on simple backyard barbecue food as the main fare.  Keep in mind that hungry guests are unhappy ones.

If you are very ambitious, roasting a pig provides a unique experience similar to that of the traditional luau.  Both the traditional Hawaiian luau and a pig roast require an entire afternoon of cooking time and allow your guests to spend the day relaxing.

The traditional Hawaiian luau begins by making an imu, a large baking pit lined with volcanic or granite rocks.  A fire is built on top of the rocks and burned until the rocks become very hot (and dangerous).  Once the fire burns down, the rocks are pulled away and the food, wrapped in ti leaves, is placed between the rocks.  The pit is covered and the food is allowed to cook slowly for the entire afternoon.

Hawaiian Luau Foods

Haupia is a coconut pudding.

Kaulolo is a taro pudding.

Laulau are bundles of meat and fish wrapped in tea leaves.

Liliko'i is a passion fruit.  The juice is often used in the preparation of sauces and desserts.

Lomi Lomi is a salad of tomatoes, onions, chili peppers and salted fish, usually salmon.

Papaya is a widely available fruit.

Pineapple is a widely available fruit.

Poi consists of taro roots cooked and smashed into a paste.  It's very popular in Hawaii to simply buy poi already prepared - often in a can.

Poke is chopped raw fish (often skipjack or yellowfin tuna) sprinkled with Hawaiian salt, ground kukui nuts and limu (seaweed).

Sweet Potatoes are simply sweet potatoes.
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Luau Ideas

Greet each of your guests with a lei and welcome them into your home.
Make sure that they eat, dance, sing and enjoy the true experience of Aloha.

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Luau Invitations

Formal invitations are a nice gesture but they're not necessary for your Luau party. It's just as polite to simply call your friends and family. Just make sure that they know the date, time, appropriate dress and whether they should bring anything. Remember, plan well in advance so that your guests will have an open schedule and they respond early enough for you to make all the necessary preparations. If you want to send fun invitations, the Message in Bottle Invitations are a great choice.

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Luau Music

The traditional Hawaiian luau often features a backyard band with the occasional ukulele.  If your friends aren't very musical, we suggest simply purchasing a tape or CD of festive luau music.

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Luau Party Games

Hula Dancing
The traditional Hawaiian luau always has hula dancing.  The hula dancers include mothers, aunts, nieces and granddaughters.  It's always fun for everyone to join the dancing.

Limbo Contest
Even though it's more of a tourist activity, the limbo contest is fun.  We suggest setting up a limbo bar and having your guests try to get low and walk beneath the stick.  It's often funny and your guests will appreciate the fun.
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Luau Party Supplies

There are many different types of luau party supplies such as food, beverages, decorations, clothing, tableware, music and even hula or tiki dolls.  However, a successful luau party only has a few basic requirements: friends and family, lots of enjoyable food and beverages, and music and dancing (hula dancing).  Everything else simply adds to the fun and excitement of the party.

Even so, we've noticed that guests love to receive leis, even the plastic ones.  And, it's always fun when at least one person wears a hula skirt.  Apart from that, consider browsing our website for interesting items that may enhance your party.

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There are 2 kinds of luaus in Hawaii:  traditional and tourist.

Traditional Luaus
Hawaiian locals emphasize a multi-day feast of traditional food, music and dance among family and friends for celebrating events such as weddings, anniversaries and other personal events.

Tourist Luaus
Tourist luaus usually have a hula show, leis, roast pork or chicken fare and last about 2 hours.

We suggest combining the two styles with an emphasis on sharing goodwill among friends and family.

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