Go with these Hawaiian luau party ideas – and you’ll be throwing a party that’s energetic and relaxing at the same time.
Colorful, cheerful and relaxing, a luau brings together food and entertainment. Learning and honoring Hawaiian traditions is also a big part of it.
Start planning your next event with these ideas.
Hawaiian luau party ideas for invites
Set the scene with these invite ideas:
Homemade Postcard – You’ll need blank postcards, glue, scissors. Search for images that evoke the mood of a luau – beach, waves, Hawaiian scenes, leis. Print, cut up and arrange on your postcard.
- Leave space at the bottom, for wording like “Do You Wish You Were Here” or “Welcome to Hawaii… on (party date)”. Then glue your images.
Add party details to the back. Get your local print shop to make copies.
- Invitation in Hawaiian – Alternatively, send your invitations just in Hawaiian wording. Put your party details on the back – on the front, in nice lettering, choose from these:
- Pa’ina (Let’s Party)
- E komo mai i ko mākou pa’ina! (Welcome to our party)
- Hele mei hoohiwahiwa (Come celebrate)
- Hau’oli Lanui (Happy Holidays – if you’re throwing your luau to coincide)
Hawaiian luau party ideas for dress code
Let everyone know they need to dress up for your luau party.
Wearing a Hawaiian shirt or dress is one way. You can pair the shirt with casual jeans or khaki shorts. You could also opt for a t-shirt that has a Hawaiian print.
Or big up your dress up by wearing a sarong. Create your own grass skirt. Go for a surfers look. Arrive in clothes you’d wear to the beach.
Ask everyone to bring a pair of flip flops.
- Keep a stash of spare clothes like these at your party, for anyone wanting to spruce up their outfit.
Give everyone their own Hawaiian name!
Once your guest list has been confirmed, you can use it to give everyone their Hawaiian name. This Hawaiian name generator is a LOT of fun. Click on this name generator link (opens into a new window).
Just type in the first name of your guest – and their Hawaiian name pops up immediately.
- Present everyone with their “new” name, as a badge. You can make the badge out of sticky labels or with a plastic badge holder.
Hawaiian luau party ideas for decorations
A luau theme party can be held indoors. But if you have a backyard, even better. As a luau combines food with entertainment, designate an area for eating, even if it’s just a buffet.
- Present each guest on arrival with a lei – a necklace of flowers. Greet each guest with “Aloha!”, then “E komo mai i ko mākou pa’ina!” (“welcome to our party”).
- Decorate with tropical colors – think yellows, oranges, shades of green, sky blue.
- Create your own palm trees by cutting out leaf shapes from green construction paper. Attach these to “branches” made out of strips of brown paper twisted and taped together. Hang bunches of them from your walls.
- Hang inflatable parrots from your ceiling, and scatter plastic fish, seashells and gold glitter on your tabletops.
- Add inflatable poolside seats to the floors, for other ways to sit.
- Create a fruit centerpiece – pineapples, mangoes, grapes, apples, bananas, kiwi fruit, for example. Include plates, napkins and cutlery, with bowls of sugar and ice cream for dipping.
Hawaiian luau party ideas for activities
Hawaiian Limbo Contest — How low can your guests go? Find out with this classic game.
- A long stick can serve as your bar – or even a lei – with two people holding either end.
- Start the bar high, then lower each time, until you find your ultimate limbo winner.
Pineapple Bowling Game — Set up 5-10 pineapples about 3-5 metres from the start line.
- Teams take it in turns to bowl over as many pineapples as they can, using tennis balls.
Hawaiian Dancefloor — Warm everyone up, with a playlist made up of the best of Hawaiian sounds. Try a combination of these:
- Jazz/big band musicians like Sol Hoopii
- Don Ho (live lounge/easy listening)
- Kamakawiwo’ole (Hawaiian hip hop)
- Elvis – the soundtrack to his movie “Blue Hawaii”
- Beach party music – from the Beach Boys to Frankie Avalon
Hawaiian Relay — Each team gets a grass skirt, a coconut top, a Hawaiian shirt and a lei to go.
- The first player puts on all the items, runs to the opposite wall, then back, passing their outfit to their teammate, and so on.
- The game is played against the clock, with the fastest team as the winner.
Hula Hoop Relay — Players split into two equal lines, facing each other.
Their first person needs to complete three proper hula hoops around their waist before passing it on.
The first team to finish wins.
Hula Hoop Endurance — Can’t get enough of the hoop? Then test who can hula hoop the longest in this game.
Balloon Volleyball — Inflate a few balloons (use one; the others are spares), string up a rope and split everyone into two teams, one for either side.
- Instruct the first team to hit the balloon across the net to the other team.
- If a team fails to hit the balloon, or the balloon hits the floor – the opposite team scores a point.
- Set a time limit for each round. The team with the highest score in a given series of rounds wins.
Learn How to Hula Dance — Use this video to teach everyone the dance:
Hawaiian luau party ideas for food
Go buffet style with your luau party food.
- Grilled chicken, fish, pig
- Fruit skewers and grilled vegetable skewers
- Don’t forget that fruit table centerpiece. Create a fruit platter too, serving it out of empty coconut shells
- A tropical fruit punch, with and without alcohol
- Beer, beer, beer!
Send your guests back to city life with some luau party memorabilia.
- A lei
- Homemade fruit salad packed in a wax container
- A Hawaiian print shirt
- A straw hat