How to Throw a Luau

A luau is all about casual, outdoor fun. With just a few basics, your guests will have a great time and feel right at home.

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Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Casual, tropical fun

Luaus are a casual way to enjoy summer with friends. Keep it simple and encourage lots of play with these fun ideas.

Colorful invitations

Send your invitations out at least two weeks in advance. Make or buy simple invitation cards. Stick with bright, cheerful themes.

Give your party direction

This simple sign was made with thin project boards and letters printed on craft paper. We simply cut them out and glued them to the board. The boards were nailed to an old 2' x 4' and inserted into a bucket of sand.

A simple menu is best

Luaus are an active kind of party. Make it easy for your guests to take their food on the go with small bites on picks or skewers.

Tropical is the flavor of the day

Offer a variety of specialized drinks for the occasion. Where applicable, make large batches and put them in a pitcher so the need for a "bartender" will be minimized. Consider a quick sign to inform your guests of the options.

Keep guests refreshed

Make sure everyone stays hydrated in the summer sun with plenty of water. We made simple labels to replace the originals.

Pineapple Whip

This super simple treat is a sure hit. Add two 15-ounce, drained cans of pineapple chunks, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup heavy cream and a pinch of salt to a food processor. Blend until smooth. Process in an ice cream maker until slushy. Whip one cup of heavy cream to soft peaks, then fold the whipped cream into pineapple mixture. Serve immediately or freeze for an ice cream effect.

S’mores are a hit

If you will have a fire at your luau, be sure to set up a s'more station. Include graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate marshmallows and coconut for a Hawaiian flare. 

Recycle station

Make it easy for your guests to help you recycle by creating a clearly-designated spot for all recyclables.

Get ready to limbo

To make a limbo game, cut a 2" x 10' PVC pipe in half with a box saw (1) Cut a 1/4" x 4' dowel into 12 equal 4-inch pieces. (2) Drill 6 holes with a 1/4-inch bit every 5 inches, starting from the top of each PVC pipe. The holes should go through both sides of the PVC. Insert a dowel piece into each of the holes. (3) Fill two galvanized buckets with sand. (4) Insert the PVC into the sand with the dowel pieces at the top.

Adding the pole

Cut a 1-inch piece of PVC pipe to about 6-7 feet long. Lay it across the dowels at the top of the pole to begin play.

How Low Can You Go?

Take turns going under the limbo bar, lowering the bar with each round. If you knock the bar off, you're out!

Hula station

Even if you don't have hula dancers on hand, a hula station is a great way to get everyone moving and have loads of fun.

Simple Fun for Kids

Make or buy tiki masks for the kids to keep. Even if you buy them, consider removing the elastic from the back and attaching a stick to the bottom for easy use.

Music sets the stage

Put together a playlist of authentic Hawaiian music and ukulele classics. If you have a friend with the right skills and a ukulele, invite them to come play for everyone.