Tropical Luau Party

Hawaiian Luau 4yr - Airline Ticket Invitations




Karen in Geismar, Louisiana, USA


July 2002


Special Mention

My son asked for an Hawaiian party for his 4th birthday so I threw him a Luau.

For the invitations, I made them resemble an airline ticket / boarding pass. At the top I listed the airline as AIR HAWAII and downloaded a comical sun wearing sunglasses for the airline's logo.  It said BOARDING PASS FOR HARRISON'S 4TH BIRTHDAY PARTY.  Then I listed the date, flight # (IAM4), the carrier (AIR HAWAII), the destination (our street address but listed Waikiki, Hawaii instead of our city & state), arrival time, class, attire (Hawaiian) and meal/beverage provided (Luau Spead & Tropical drinks).  I then drew a tropical scene on the front of each envelope.  It was nothing fancy and looked more abstract so don't worry if you're not an artist! 

For the decorations:  I started months in advance to hit all of the sales; especially in the winter!  We had tiki torches and Hawaiian mask candles that were made of Citronella to keep the mosquitoes away.  I held the party at 6:00 to beat the heat and to have the night time, tropical feel.  We had 2 huge industrial fans that kept a tropical breeze blowing while Hawaiian music from Don Ho and other artists played.  I strung tropical lights that spelled out ALOHA, had tropical birds, palm trees and hibiscus flowers; as well as the standard multi-colored "Christmas" lights.  My husband borrowed 2 surfboards from his friend and he hung one on an overhead beam and stood the other upright by the door.  I found a multi-pack of children-sized floats and put them around the outdoor lights and in the trees.  Leis were also in the trees, shrubs and all along the fence.  Inflatable fish hung from the swing set and the patio.  My Mom found these great Hawaiian totem pole candles that were on sticks but were top heavy so I broke some of the stick off and stuck them in oranges, red and green apples and kiwis. 

Pineapples and coconuts kept the helium "Happy Birthday" balloons from flying away off of the gift table.  I used a decorative fish net for the table cloth and had more fruit to weigh that down.  I brought all of my tropical plants outdoors to give it more of an island feel.  I also continued the decorations inside with tropical fruits, leis & hibiscus flower candles floating in water.  I purchased a grass skirt to wear to the party but discovered minutes before the party that I had purchased, in haste, a children's size 2-4.  Since it wouldn't fit anyone there, I decided to use it as decoration and hung it from our fireplace mantle.  For the windows that faced the patio and outdoor area, I painted the same tropical scene that was on the invitation envelopes with window chalk and wrote Hau oli la hauna, which means Happy Birthday in Hawaiian.       

For the food:  I had shrimp fried rice and eggrolls from a local Chinese restaurant, I ordered Hawaiian pizza from PaPa John's & my husband and I made shish-ka-bobs.  The shish-ka-bobs had on them pineapple, red onion, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, green bell pepper and chicken that I marinated in three different sauces:  teriyaki, Hawaiian guava & mango sauce & Caribbean jerk.  Everyone raved over those.  My mother-in-law is Filipino and made her famous Poncit, which is similar to fried rice but noodles are involved instead of rice and it has a strong garlic and ginger flare.  Yum!  Fruits also were served with a wonderful pina colada fruit dip & white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. 

The cake was the best part.  Since all luaus have a roasted pig and we could not have a real one, I decided to make the cake look like the pig!  I baked two cake mixes (I used the one that is the party mix which is white with multi-colored spots inside) but instead of putting it in a normal baking pan, I baked it in a mixing bowl so when flipped upside down would resemble the pig's head.  I bought pink strawberry icing in the can and iced it with that.  I used red food coloring to darken the already pink icing to draw on the closed eyes.  I used a large marshmallow secured with a toothpick and stuck that into the cake for his snout then iced it pink.  Underneath the nose, I cut the backside off of a small red apple and laid it under it so it would appear that the pig had the typical apple stuffed in it's mouth.  At the opposite end, I used a curled, pink pipe cleaner to look like the pig's tail.  I broke a piece off of one of my tropical plants and put that around the cake along with silk tropical flowers:  hibiscus & plumeria.  It came out great and everyone had a fit over the cake.  It was simple to make and was so comical. 

Games we played:  limbo, hula-hoop contest to see who could keep it going the longest and my favorite, coconut bowling.  I had all of the contestants climb up the slide and roll the coconut down the slide to knock down the three pineapples.  Only one child knocked down all three but if you have a tie, just make the kids do another round(s) until there is a winner.  The kids enjoyed this game so much that an hour later, they were still playing.    My husband made tropical drinks garnished with fresh fruit and tropical umbrellas after dinner for the adults while the kids took turns trying to break the sun pinata. 

For the goody bags, I found clear bags with Hawaiian flowers on them and stuffed them with sunglasses, bubbles (You know, Tiny Bubbles...), lifesaver's tropical candies, snack size pineapple chunks, straws that had hula girls on them and a bag of macadamia nuts.  The party was a huge success and everyone from the kids to the adults had a blast.  It lasted for well over 5 hours and all of the Moms think I should go into business planning parties!

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