Luau Party

Aloha, party people — hele mei hoohiwahiwa! Break out the leis and grass skirts because it's hula time.

Mai Tai Cocktail
Mai Tai | Photo by Allrecipes.

A luau is a festive Hawaiian and Polynesian celebration filled with delicious food and lively music. Hosting a luau party at home takes a little attention to detail. But with the right touches — everything from attire to food to decor, you'll be all set.

Luau Party Attire

The luau party dress code is, naturally, island gear: colorful printed shirts, board shorts, a mu'umu'u, or a grass skirt — anything that says "hang loose" is sure to be in-style.

Luau Party Decor

  • Leis: fake are fun, or splurge on real ones.
  • Pineapples & coconuts: double as food and decor.
  • Macadamia nuts: serve them as is, or bake into cookies.
  • Tiki torches: best after sundown.
  • Straw hats: take the party from blah to bold
  • Paper drink umbrellas: add some flair to mixed drinks
  • Grass skirts: for guests or tables — or both.

Luau Party Food


Mai Tai
Mai Tai. Snacking in the Kitchen


Spam Musubi
Photo by Joanna.


Chef John's Classic Macaroni Salad

Main Dishes

Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker
Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker. DIZ


Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Kathy

Fun and Games

  • Coconut races. With a coconut between their knees, see which guest can get from point A to point B the fastest. Ready? Set? Go!
  • Hula contest. Hula hoop, that is. Prizes for the longest hula run — and most creative hula hooping. (Who can go from their neck to their wrist without dropping it?)
  • Lei horseshoes. It's like horseshoes, except with leis. Pound a couple of wood stakes in the ground and take aim. Or better yet, use people as the target — see who can get the most leis around one person's neck.

Luau Party Tunes

  • Hawaii Five-O The Ventures
  • The Hukilau Song Don Ho
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow Facing Future
  • Can't Help Falling in Love With You Elvis Presley
  • Surfin' Luau Annette Funicello
  • Luau Lei The Surfers
  • Blue Hawaii Elvis Presley
  • Aloha Hula Hits Unlimited
  • To You, Sweetheart, Aloha The Waikikis
  • Beach in Hawaii Ziggy Marley

How to Talk Like a Local

Ae: yes

Hoapili: close friend

Ho`olaule`a: celebration

ho`okipa: hospitality

Honi: kiss

inu: drink

Ku`uipo: sweetheart

lama pa'ipa'i: cocktail

lolo: crazy

Mai e `ai: come and eat

`ono: delicious

Some Handy Phrases:

Hele mei hoohiwahiwa: Come celebrate.

`O wai kou inoa?: What is your name?

Aloha Au Ia 'Oe: I love you.

A hui hou kakou: Until we meet again.

Pomaika`i: Good luck.

Mahalo: Thank you.

Check out our collection of authentic Hawaiian Food Recipes.

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