Remember way back when, when I was lamenting the fact that Frozen came along and hijacked my plans for hosting a Luau-themed party? Well, since then, Viola's favorite character has changed to Stitch -- from Lilo & Stitch -- and guess where that movie takes place? Hawaii!
Eva is still into Ariel. Her birthday is earlier in the year and she was dead-set on a Mermaid Party. There was the opportunity to re-use a lot of the same decorations for both parties which helped cut down on the cost.
Viola's birthday is in mid-April the weather is often hit-or-miss. We decided to do an indoor Luau because we weren’t sure whether it would be muddy outside or not. It turned out to be a cold, rainy April and so it was extra fun to have a little ‘tropical vacation’ in our family room as an escape from the dreary weather!
I have to say that the luau turned out to be one of my favorite parties that we've ever done -- and we've had our fair share of fun parties! I was recently asked to share the details of our luau party with our local MetroParent online magazine! I wanted to make sure that I shared all the details with those who want more information on the games and decorations and snacks that we served!
You can see the Pinterest Inspiration board for the Luau I put together way back when, and lots of pictures from our party down below taken by the very talented Miss Natalie Gelman who has expertly documented several of our parties now (because I'm completely hopeless with a camera!) You might also want to check out some of the other parties we've done, too!
I was really lucky with this party because I found someone on craigslist who was selling a big bin of Luau-themed decorations, so I ended up with a lot of tiki-masks and such. The other items I purchased online from Oriental Trader and Party Cheap website.
- Room Wraps – I am a big fan of room wraps because they’re an inexpensive way to really transform a space. We like to cover our bookshelves in our party room with a room wrap to keep the kids from touching the knick-knacks on them. For the Luau we also cut up a large room wrap and put it in the glass doors which created a really sunny atmosphere in the room!
- Tiki Masks – We put these everywhere there was wall space!
- Inflatable Surf boards and Palm Trees – These were great and inexpensive decorations that I thought I’d be able to use again. Unfortunately, the palm trees barely made it to the end of the party.
- Real Sand & Seashells – We filled the inflatable palm tree coolers with real sand and seashells!
- Hanging lanterns – We are lucky to have a family room with cathedral ceilings. We were able to string lanterns from flower ropes across our party room!
- Pineapples - We needed lots of pineapples for pineapple bowling, but before the games portion of the party we had these spread around the room as decoration. After the party we had more pineapples than we could possible eat so we were giving these away to everyone who happened to stop by the house for any reason in the week afterward!
- Helium Balloons – The morning of the party we went to our local Party City and bought some helium balloons. Some of animal balloons (sea turtle, fish) we actually re-inflated from our earlier Mermaid party!
Table decorations – Remember those little tables I upcycled for our Frozen party? We used grass table skirts, fish netting, and beige fabric from the thrift store to decorate them for the luau. We purchased a set of Tiki Mugs and filled these with fresh flowers as the centerpieces! The snowflake pillows we re-covered to as seats from a tropical-looking patterned set of curtains that I found from the same thrift store (I do love my local thrift store!) We found tiki-mask themed plates and napkins to go along with our theme!
My husband is my secret weapon when it comes to party food! I showed him the snacks I’d found online that I wanted to for the party and he was able to recreate it all! And it was delicious as well as adorable!
- Dole Whip Pineapple Ice Cream - We used our ice cream maker to make ‘Dole Whip’ pineapple ice cream from a recipe we found online, inspired by the Disney favorite!
- Dessert Sushi – We first had ‘candy sushi’ WDW's California Grill and really wanted to recreate it for this party! It’s made by rolling rice krispie treats in fruit roll ups! Delicious!
- Pineapple upside-down cakes – We used cupcake pans to make individual pineapple upside down cakes which were delicious!
- Sand Castle Cake – We made the sand castle cake ourselves by using a castle-shaped cake pan and covering the cake in crushed Nila Wafers and Cinnamon. For extra decoration we used sugar seashells. It was messy and a lot like building a real sand castle with everyone pitching in!
- ALSO: Sand Dollar Cookies, ‘Seaweed’ grape kabobs, goldfish & chips
ENTERTAINMENT - HULA LESSONS!
How lucky was I to find Polynesian dancing instructors local to us? The girls were delighted to participate in dance lessons (set to the Lilo&Stitch soundtrack!) as well as being entertained while they ate by the teacher's demonstrations of different dance styles and cultural costumes from several different islands. They learned a lot and had a bunch of fun!
Our family dressed in inexpensive Hibiscus patterned outfits I found on Amazon, and the birthday girl wore a hand-made dress ‘Like Lilo’s’ and an ‘authentic’ leaf skirt and anklets which we purchased from an Etsy, you can find them here.
Games & Prizes
I'm set on doing ‘carnival’ style games now, ever since our first Pirates&Princess party. The kids get to go at their own pace, with prizes given out at each game station instead of the traditional goodie bag at the end of the party. For the Luau we looked for beach-themed games:
Sand bucket relay race
Craft Station - design your own tiki mask
Hula Hoop Competition
Bowling (with coconuts for bowling balls and pineapples for pins!)
Pass the Coconut
The prizes for our game stations (to fill the bags) were:
- Luau bear
- Sand Dollar bath fizzie
- Ukelele ball bouncer
- Hibiscus-patterned sunglasses
- Hibiscus-patterned temporary tattoos
- Hibiscus-patterned beach balls
- ·Hibiscus-patterned Pen
- Luau rubber duckies
- Hawaiian Punch flavored lip gloss
Each girl also received:
- a Luau bag with her name on it
- a grass skirt
- lei necklace and lei anklets.
- Coconut Cups
As I mentioned in the beginning, this is probably one of my favorite parties that we've thrown. Even though we made a mess and were cleaning up sand for weeks, we all had a great time! Even the cat managed to get in the Aloha spirit... sort of...
The dogs quite enjoyed disposing of the coconuts for us. When they were puppies we used to give them chilled coconuts in the summer as an alternative to rubber kongs because they were very destructive chewers. They haven't had them in a while, but clearly remembered what to do when given the opportunity! I think they had them opened in something like 5 minutes flat!
The pineapples, on the other hand... we ended up with more pineapples than our family of four could possibly eat, so for the next week we were handing out pineapples to anyone who happened to stop by for any reason. Dropping off a book you borrowed? Take a pineapple! Hanging out for movie night? PINEAPPLE!