Luau Ideas

by Rebecca
(NJ)

Here are some top luau ideas for a good party that we’ve had with our group. A luau is perfect to have any time of year, especially in the winter. Some guests may have lived or traveled to the South Pacific including Hawaii and will have some authentic ideas. Elderly love to have parties, and help plan them also. So I like to ask people what ideas they might have. Here are a few favorites from the folks at our assisted living community.

Ambiance
First of all, make your own invitations, which can be a group project. You can use stickers too. Or take a rectangle of colored paper and cut fringe at the bottom like a grass skirt. A pineapple or fish or bird are other good shapes to use.
Have a host or hostess greet the guests dressed up in a costume.
Guests should also wear at least one thing Hawaiian.
Leis can be provided on hand in case someone doesn’t have a thing to wear.
How about those removable tattoo type stickers kids like to put on their cheek or arm or hand, with a floral or tropical bird theme.
Island music can play in the background. Better yet, see if you can get a live band. Anything that gives off a coconut scent is really nice.
Once we had a visitor bring in their pet parrot for the party. It was a real hit.
If you did an RSVP and know who is coming, you can make a name tag with their real name and also their name in Hawaiian. You can find this online like at http://hawaiiannames.hisurf.com .
If anyone has a grandchild who has made one of those paper mache volcanoes for a science project, they are really popular to have at a party. And you stage a little ceremony when it erupts, maybe before dessert.

Decorations.
Have the room decoration with lots of streamers, candles (battery candles are best), large flowers (you can make large tissue paper flowers ahead of time as a group activity, and can put them in hair too).
You can also use those tiki torches and put battery candles in them instead. A wad of putty or clay will keep them in place, if you need it.
Have a least one specialty theme balloon, like at a buffet or prize table.
Use brightly colored table wear. If it’s in your budget, get at least the cups and napkins in a tropical theme print from a party store.
Have some wall decorations such a hula fringe made with long pieces of brown paper on a roll, then cut fringe on the bottom, about two-thirds of the way up. You can curl it a little too. Along the top you can glue a strip of crepe paper like a waist band. These long wall hangings can be stuck up here and there on the wall. They also make a cute table skirt.
For projects ahead of time, besides making large flowers, you can also make tropical fish to hang on the wall (with bubbles), or from the ceiling. And tropical birds.
One of those large inflatable palm trees is always great, or make a couple from poster board to hang on the wall.

Refreshments and Food.
Have tropical drinks or punch available right away (complete with umbrella drink stick).
Iced tea with a little fruit juice added in. and a mint leaf or piece of fruit.
Use ice cubes made from colorful fruit juice. And freeze a chunk of pineapple in a few.
Fruit kabobs using pineapple chunks, strawberries, apple slices, orange wedges, etc.
Banana bread with a little fruit jam on top, if desired.
This is a perfect party to serve a fruit bowl, such as in a watermelon.
Macadamia nuts are good to toss in with other treats, or have in a bowl.
For meat, anything with pork, ham or chicken, with teriyaki, barbecue, or a tropical type glaze. Kabobs are also nice, and easy to eat. Just about any kind of seafood or ocean fish will work as well.
Or try a Hawaiian style pizza with ham and pineapple on it (it is really good!).
Sweet potatoes are a vegetable often found at a real luau.
A theme cake is excellent, especially if you have someone who can really decorate. Good flavors include banana, pineapple, and coconut.
A coconut or banana pudding is another option.
You can also make homemade ice (a good activity) and serve sundaes or ice cream floats.
Another option is to fruit smoothies.
If you want something small and light, do chocolate covered strawberries (and you can make them yourself).

Entertainment.
Make sure you have some things to do, like games with prizes. Good ones are tossing something into a basket, or passing type game maybe with a coconut, batting around a balloon, or a version of Simon Says (the name for Simon in Hawaiian is Kimona), and guess the number of candy (etc.) in a vase or jar.
If your guests are ambulatory, have a simple cake walk.
Other suggestions, having a raffle with some themed items included.
Make a gift basket or two to raffle off or for a silent auction.
Get some dancers to come in to perform a hula for your guests.
If you know a group of young people to have help with the party, they can also put on a limbo contest, which is really fun to watch.
As mentioned before, have a live band. Guests can also join in with the maracas or a bongo.
Have a sing along, like to Don Ho songs. Even a little sit-down dancing.
Watch the movie South Pacific.

If you ask friends, staff, or participants for ideas, you will get lots more!

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