Luau Party Ideas

When you think of Hawaii, you probably picture warm tropical breezes, pineapples, surfing, and of course, a luau. Throwing a luau birthday party is a lot of fun, with colorful decorations and fun Hawaiian-inspired games. If you want to have a fantastic luau for your child’s next birthday, here are some ideas to get you started.

Birthday Party Ideas - Luau Party

Luau Party Invitations

Making a luau-themed invitation can be as simple or complex as you’d like. Hawaiian flowers, tiki statues, and surf boards can all be used as inspiration. Remember to say “Aloha!” and your guests will be in the party spirit from the moment they see your invitation. If you’d like, invite your guests to come dressed in their island finest.

For a simple invitation, simply cut out Hawaiian-inspired shapes out of cardstock, such as a surfboard or flower, and include all the party information. If you’d like to take it up to the next level consider some of these fun options:

  • Put your invitation in a plastic bag with sand, small shells, and maybe a piece of buried gold treasure (candy).
  • Make an airline ticket style invitation, inviting your guests to join you on a tropical getaway.
  • Send your invitations as a message in a bottle.

Luau Party Decorations

When you’re decorating for your luau party, use bright colors and lots of nature-inspired decorations. You could use a backdrop painted to look like an ocean, or pink, orange, and yellow balloons to represent the colorful flowers found in Hawaii. White tablecloths strewn with artificial flowers make a pretty presentation, or use shades of blue to represent the warm ocean waters. Use green crepe paper to make grass skirts for the tables and chairs.

For an after-dark party, tiki torches can be found at most garden centers in the summer months. Remember to use caution if you have open flames around children. A safer option is to make paper lanterns to use with battery-operated candles. If you have a surfboard, you can put it out for decoration; otherwise wrap an ironing board in a tablecloth for a quick DIY surfboard. Set the mood with some Hawaiian music playing in the background.

Luau Party Decorations

Luau Party Activities

Luau activities will help keep kids entertained during the party. For younger kids, a sandbox is a fun way to pass the time. Make sure there are shovels, buckets, and castle-building materials around. Some other ways to keep kids engaged are:

  • A photo booth with a backdrop, surfboard, and other props.
  • A sand art station.
  • Painting seashells.
  • Stringing leis made from real or artificial flowers, beads, and pre-drilled shells.
  • A hula hoop area—encourage kids to practice, display tricks, and have fun!
Luau Party Activities

Luau Party Games

Kids love to play games at parties, and it’s easy to make many classic games work with your luau theme with a few minor changes.

  • Pass the Coconut: Play Hot Potato, but with a coconut (or ball decorated to look like a coconut). Pass the coconut around the circle to music. Whoever is holding it when the music stops is out.
  • Hula Freeze Dance: Hand out some grass skirts and get ready to hula. When the music starts, everyone begins to hula, but when it stops, everyone must freeze until the music begins again. Anyone who moves is out!
  • Limbo: The limbo is often associated with luaus and is a lot of fun for kids. Have two adults hold either end of a broomstick, and the kids line up to take turns trying to bend backwards to go under without touching the stick. If the stick is touched, that child is out. The stick gets lowered with each round until only one child is left.
  • Hula Hoop Races: Split the children into several teams, and have each team stand in a line, holding hands. At “go” give the first child in line a hula hoop. They then have to pass the hoop down the line, without letting go of their teammates’ hands. If they let go, the team has to start over. The first team to get the hoop to the end of the line wins.
Luau Party Games

Luau Party Food and Drinks

While a traditional luau often involves a pig roast, you may not want to serve a full pig for your kid’s birthday. Fortunately there are a lot of delicious Hawaiian-inspired foods to choose from that will leave everyone full and happy. Fresh fruits, kabobs, and tropical drinks will have all the kids coming back for more.

  • Ham and pineapple sliders are a delicious and hearty stack. Use raw pineapple, or grill pineapple slices for an even sweeter treat.
  • Tropical fruit salad, including watermelon, papaya, and pineapple, is a great snack. You can serve it in a hollowed out or carved watermelon, on a tray, or make fun fruit skewers.
  • Serve fruit smoothies made with coconut milk, bananas, pineapples, and other fresh fruits. Make sure to have a supply of paper umbrellas on hand to put in drinks for a fun presentation.
  • Make ocean-themed sandwiches by using fish shaped cookie-cutters. Peanut butter and jelly-fish sandwiches and tuna salad are fun kid-pleasers.
  • Freeze gummy fish, sharks, and other ocean-themed treats in ice cubes to add color and fun to water or juice.
Luau Party Food

Luau Cake / Luau Cupcakes

The centerpiece at the birthday party is always the cake. There are many fun ways to decorate a luau cake. Graham cracker crumbs make excellent “sand” to top a cake, and you can buy pre-made sugar flowers to top any cake or cupcake. Consider making a shaped cake, such as a flip-flop or surfboard. Other fun ideas you could make include:

  • A tiki statue, decorated with colored candies and nuts.
  • A hula girl, using a dome-shaped mold and doll top sold for cake decorating.
  • A volcano, using the dome shaped mold, with red frosting spilling out the top.
Luau Party Cake

Luau Party Favors and Goody Bags

Hawaiian tradition dictates that your guests should all receive leis upon arrival, which makes for a fun memory of the day. Grass skirts can also be fun to wear at the Luau party and take home later to enjoy while playing dress-up.

You can use buckets to send home small party flavors including shell-shaped chocolates, sand toys, and bubbles. Shell-lined picture frames can be used to house the pictures taken at the photo booth for a lasting memory.


Luau birthday parties blend the Hawaiian party traditions with tons of birthday fun. There are lots of ways to customize a luau to match your birthday child’s interests, making it a great party idea for boys and girls from young children to teenagers.




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