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8 Hawaiian Luau Party Ideas for an Awesome Summer

May 10, 2023 6 min read

Who doesn't love a good luau? With the hot summer months quickly approaching, there's no better way to keep cool and celebrate with friends than by throwing a Hawaiian luau. From colorful decorations to a delicious menu, there are so many fun and unique ways to make your party stand out from the rest.

Need some inspo? FUNBOY has you covered. 

Read on to discover eight ideas to throw an epic Hawaiian luau this summer. 

What's a Luau?

Before we jump into all the fun ideas, let's quickly go over what a luau is. Basically, it's a party or celebration held in Hawaii, usually featuring traditional Hawaiian music and dances. The central part of any good luau is the feast, and traditionally it's made up of kalua pig, poi, Lomi-Lomi salmon, haupia (coconut pudding), and lots of other tasty dishes.

As far as the history of the luau is concerned, it has been around for centuries. It was first used as an event to celebrate royalty, but today it's more often associated with festive occasions. The best luau parties have a wide array of Hawaiian decorations and cuisine, creating a tropical atmosphere that brings out the best in everyone.

How To Throw an Awesome Luau Party

Here are eight ideas for the perfect summer party:

1. Pick the Perfect Venue

When it comes to selecting a venue, there are lots of options. The most popular is a beach, as the sand and surf provide a natural backdrop for a luau. That said, if you don't have access to a stretch of sand, you can still create a tropical atmosphere in any indoor space. 

For example, you could pick a Hawaiian-themed restaurant or even turn your own backyard into a little slice of paradise. Not sure how? Simply hang a few tiki torches, string up some colorful paper lanterns, and add some tropical greenery for an instant island vibe.

Our tropical kiddie pool or Pink Flamingo Pool Float are also a cute touches, toss in a beach ball or two, and let the good times roll. 

2. Set the Scene

The next step is to set the scene with some hula-hula-inspired invitations. These don't have to be anything fancy-schmancy, but it's always nice to have something that's fun and on-theme. You could even make your own from scrapbooking paper or look online for a store that sells Hawaiian-themed party invites. 

Whatever you decide to do, include a clear RSVP date. This will make it much easier to plan the food, drinks, and entertainment for the party. Trust us on this one. If there’s a recommended dress code or theme, include that as well. And, if this happens to be a bridal shower, link to the registry if you so choose. 

3. Deck Out the Space

Once you've got your venue and invitations sorted, it's time to focus on decorating. Start by picking a color theme (think bright, vibrant colors like pink, orange, and yellow). Carry it through all your decorations. You can find a range of fun luau-themed decorations, or get crafty and make your own with some art supplies at home.

Some other essential decorations include:

  • Tiki torches:Please be safe and install tiki torches correctly. Seriously. 
  • Streamers:Stick to the color theme here. 
  • Leis: Fresh flowers reign supreme, but artificial flowers will do!
  • Beach umbrellas: Shade is skincare, right?
  • Palm trees:If you have real ones, fab. If not, inflatable ones are pretty iconic too. 
  • Grass skirts: Loop them around tables or hang them from the porch. 
  • Hula hoops:Wrap them in fairy lights and suspend them in trees. Prepared to be wowed. 

4. Serve Tasty Treats

No party is complete without delicious food; make sure your menu reflects the Hawaiian theme. Serve up poi, pineapple upside-down cake, kalua pork sliders, teriyaki chicken skewers, mochi rice cakes — the list goes on and on!

Of course, you'll want to serve up classic cocktails such as Mai Tais and Lava Flows, but don't forget about non-alcoholic refreshments. Fresh fruit punch or sparkling pineapple juice mocktails are always a welcome addition. 

To top it all off, have custom cocktail umbrellas available for all of your guests so they can take their drinks poolside or onto the beach if they choose. And remember dessert. Maybe have some shaved ice available in all flavors of the rainbow.

5. Show Off Your Hawaiian Style

Encourage your guests to get into the party spirit by wearing Hawaiian-inspired attire like brightly-colored shirts, dresses, swimsuits, and leis. You can provide grass skirts and flower crowns for a true island vibe.

Pro Tip: To make it more fun, consider hosting a "best dressed" contest. Give out prizes to the guests who come up with the most creative ensembles.

6. Get Groovin' With Island Music 

Music is an essential part of any luau, so choosing the right tunes is essential. Traditional Hawaiian songs and ukulele music are always solid choices.

Or, for a more modern twist, you could put together a playlist of popular island songs from reggae, calypso, and other genres. Just make sure the volume is low enough that guests can still enjoy the conversation.

7. Up the Fun Factor With Games

Interactive games and activities are a must for any luau party. Traditional Hawaiian games like the hula dancing competition are always a hit. You can also incorporate beach-themed activities like sandcastle building and water balloon tosses. If you want to really have some fun, set up a limbo contest and lead the group with a limbo line of your own.

Other fun games to consider for your Luau party include:

  • Konane (Hawaiian Checkers)
  • Hukilau (fishing game)
  • Bowling with coconuts
  • Limu Toss (seaweed tossing)
  • Tako Pops (octopus catching game)

Whichever games you choose, provide plenty of prizes for the winners. 

8. Entertain With Island Delights

Finally, it's time to bring out the entertainment. Perhaps hire a Polynesian dance troupe for an authentic luau experience, or have your guests show off their hula-hooping skills. You could get a live band or DJ to provide the beats for island-inspired jams.

No matter what type of entertainment you choose, make sure it's something that your guests can really get into. After all, nothing says summer like an epic Hawaiian Luau party!

Tips for Party Success

Now that you have all the basics covered, here are a few tips to ensure your luau party is a complete success:

  • Send out invitations well in advance so your guests have plenty of time to plan their outfits.
  • Allow ample time for setup and breakdown.
  • Provide sunscreen and hats for your guests to protect them from the sun.
  • Provide plenty of comfortable seating. Consider using an inflatable Rainbow Chaise Lounger (good for in or out of the pool) and shady areas to relax in. 
  • Assign a designated driver or coordinate rideshare services so everyone can enjoy themselves without worrying about transportation.
  • Have plenty of non-alcoholic options available for designated drivers and underage guests.
  • Have plenty of ice, cups, and napkins on hand for drinks.
  • Provide beach towels and flip-flops for lounging around.
  • Set up a separate area for kids with their own fun activities.
  • Have a lovely-smelling Hawaiian candle burning in the background to set the mood.
  • Take lots of pictures to capture all the fun.
  • Finally, remember to relax and enjoy the party!

With these tips, your Hawaiian luau party is sure to be an unforgettable experience for all who attend. So grab your leis and let the fun begin! 

The Wrap Up

A successful summer bash starts with proper planning and executing your vision well in advance of your event date: Make a list now before things get too hectic later on.

With these tips on how to throw an epic luau under your belt, we guarantee that you'll be able to put together one of the best parties ever…aloha style. Just don't forget to stock up on all your favorite FUNBOY gear — luxe pool floats and cushy lounge chairs are sure to take the party up a notch. Guaranteed.


Exploring the History of Hawaiian Luau | HuffPost Hawaii

How to Use Tiki Torches to Light Up the Outdoors | The Spruce

Na Leo Hawai'i: Musics of Hawai'i | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Lomi Lomi Recipe | All Recipes

Calypso | music | Britannica

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