When I was 11, I was fortunate enough to go to Hawaii with my family.
The people were incredibly friendly and happy – wouldn’t you be if you were always greeted with a lei? The ocean views were magnificent, and a volcano just isn’t something you see every day. When I was in the Aloha State, I was able to attend a real luau, and between the hula dancing and the tiki torches, I now feel totally qualified to give advice on throwing a tiki party.
I may not be 11 anymore, but it’s not like I’ve got serious grown-up cash to throw at all the tiki trimmings. Here are some tips for bringing the magic of the islands to your own backyard (or, in a pinch, your living room) without busting the bank.
What to Spend Your Money On
When throwing a party, it’s always a delicate balance between getting the theme across and going overboard. These are some key items to make your luau pop that can all be found at dollar stores or party stores.
- Leis: Festive flowers (OK, so they’re plastic) are incredibly cheap and colorful. Use them to greet your guests at the door, just as they do in Hawaii when you hop off the plane. Or lay them out as simple table and chair decoration.
- Little umbrellas: Nothing screams tropical vacation like an umbrella in your drink. Use these umbrellas for drink accoutrement or as food picks to tackle those appetizers!
- Grass skirts: You may think a grass skirt is only for hula dancers in coconut bras, but these skirts also make great table decorations. Pin them around the edges of your table for a festive look.
- Straw hat: Think beyond the hat! Use your hat as a chip-and-dip bowl. Your salsa has never looked so exotic!
- Tiki torches: Total necessity. As they say at Nike, Just Do It. (Unless, of course, your tiki party is indoors, where open flames bigger than candles aren’t such a hot idea.)
Food and Drink
Your backyard is transformed into a Hawaiian paradise and now it’s time to tiki your taste buds! (Tiki is also a verb, right?) I’ve got one word for you: pineapple. Check out these amazing recipes that would be perfect for your tiki soiree:
- Pineapple on A Stick: All party food seems to be on a stick these days – why not do the same with pineapple?
- Pineapple Party Punch: A perfect use for those little umbrellas!
- Individual Pineapple-upside-down Cakes are the perfect end to a great evening.
If you can’t get to Hawaii (and with airfare lately, who can afford it?), bring Hawaii to you! Put on that hula music and test out your moves – it’s tiki time!
Get Tiki With It!
We’re just getting started! Here’s a few more recipes to help make sure your party is tiki-licious!
Pineapple on A Stick (featured)