Hawaiian Luau Party (40 & 1yr) Hawaiian BBQ
Janette in Thousand Oaks, CA
My baby girl was born on her Daddy's Birthday in July. This year, he turned 40 and she turned 1 on the same day. Given that they were both having a special birthday on the same day in the summer, we decided a Hawaiian Luau would be a really fun celebration.
I created the invitation with computer software. The front had a picture of my husband and daughter in their Hawaiian clothes. The inside said, Father and Daughter Share the Same Birthday, Wear Your Hawaiian Clothes and Celebrate the Tropical Way. If you can't find Hawaiian clothes in your local store, I highly recommend MauiShirts.com. They have some wonderful patterns and the quality of the shirts/dresses is excellent. We live in Southern California, and we have a swimming pool, with a nice patio area.
For decoration, I installed a pool fountain that is easily installed into the pool intake, where you normally have the pool sweeper installed. You can find these at Leslie's Pool Supply or online at various pool suppliers. This is a great way to make a swimming pool even more beautiful and festive for a party. For the pool, I also purchased 50-60 floating silk flowers, which also added to the tropical theme. This was an evening party, so we purchased about 8 tiki torches and placed them around the perimeter of the yard. These are easily found at Home Depot, Target, etc. . . during the summer months. As the sun went down, this gave the yard a very festive, Polynesian ambience. Additionally, the torches had the secondary benefit of providing light for the backyard when it became dark around 8pm.
I used simple white paper for my table coverings, which provided a blank slate for the table decorations. I purchased Hawaiian Dendrobium orchids from Costco and ti leaves from my local florist. You can make a very nice display or centerpiece by placing ti leaves on your table with about 20-25 orchids lying on the leaf. Additionally, you can use fresh whole pineapples from Costco, as part of your display, as well as dashboard hula dolls, which are easily found online. I found a Hawaiian E-bay story and purchased my dashboard hula dolls through this company. I used a couple hula dolls for table decorations, but also purchased an extra one for a door-prize. If it happens to be summer time, you will have a wide array of Hawaiian decorations to choose from at your party store or Oriental Trading Company. I won't go into detail about all the ones I used for the party, as these are very commonly available and personal preference and situation will dictate what you buy and decide to use. There was a table set-up at the entrance to my yard, where my 4 year old greeted the guests with Aloha and give out leis to the women and shell necklaces to the men. I purchased the leis and necklaces from OTC. I also had Hawaiian nametags for all the guests. Online you can find a Hawaiian Name Converter, which will convert any name to its Hawaiian counterpart.
The guests started arriving at 4pm. For appetizers, we served coconut shrimp (Costco), fresh fruit (Costco) with pina-colada fruit drip, wonton chips, as well as regular and coconut covered macadamia nuts (Costco). I served a non-alcoholic pina-colada punch (cream of coconut, pineapple juice, chunked pineapple, vanilla ice cream, lemon-lime soda) that my guests raved about. You freeze these ingredients and serve the punch as a soft slush. For the punch table, we had tropical parasols for the drinks, which you can buy cheaply at OTC.
Dinner was served around 5pm. For dinner we served teriyaki chicken, which we BBQed in the yard. We marinated the chicken for about 18 hours. Additionally, we served macaroni salad, green salad, fried rice, and Hawaiian sweet rolls. This menu was in keeping the Hawaiian plate specials. If you've ever eaten at an L&L Hawaiian BBQ, this is basically what you get: grilled meat, macaroni salad, green salad, and rice. I highly recommend Costco for the staples of your meal. We bought the chicken there. We used boneless, skinless thigh meat. Thigh pieces cook fairly quickly on the grill when you're cooking for a large group. Breast pieces take longer to cook, and many people, especially the kids, don't want a full breast. A thigh piece is a good size for a child and if the adults are hungry, they can take more than one. I bought the Hawaiian sweet rolls at Costco. Additionally, you can buy a large container of organic spring mix for a green salad. I used the spring mix and added macadamias, coconut, and pineapple. I served this with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing and the flavors were really nice together. I bought the fried rice (house blend) at Pick Up Stix, which is a Chinese food chain here in Southern California. I was impressed with how delicious the rice was. The rice was a meal in itself because it contained large pieces of shrimp, chicken, beef, and veggies. My mom provided the macaroni salad, which she made at home.
For tableware, I used acrylic shell bowls, which you can find at Party Max or online. You can buy large ones to serve larger side dishes, and smaller ones for nuts, candy, dressings, or sauces.
Since this party was for adults and children, entertainment was provided to appeal to both groups. Our babysitter has a friend with trained dogs that she takes to hospitals to entertain the patients. We had this person do a dog show that lasted about 30 minutes. The dogs were dressed in Hawaiian clothes and they performed a 30 minute show demonstrating their various tricks. This act was mainly for the kids to enjoy.
After the dog show, we had live music (a three piece band) and then we opened the pool up for swimming. We were surprised at the number of adults who decided to go swimming. We initially expected it to be just the kids that would want to swim. We heated the pool up most of the day, and it was a very nice 86 degrees. If you need some good Hawaiian background music, an online music service (eg Yahoo Music) is a great way to get a great variety of Hawaiian songs without the expense of buying CDs. If you have a monthly subscription, you can download unlimited songs. I have an MP3 player that attaches to speakers. You can load up your player and create a special playlist for your party and hook it up to your speakers. There's some really fun luau music on Elvis Blue Hawaii album. Also, the Lim Family has some really nice traditional Hawaiian music, and don't forget Wipeout and Hawaii 5-O by the Ventures. If you search under album titles with the word Hawaii in it, you can find a lot of nice luau music to download for your MP3 player. Around 7:30pm, we brought out the cake. This was purchased at Costco. Costco provides a Lei design as part of their summer cake designs.
The band lead everyone in Happy Birthday" for my husband and baby girl. We served coffee using a stainless party coffee maker/dispenser (real nice for a large group) and we finished up the evening listening to more live music and swimming. We had the band quit at 8:30pm so as not to frustrate the neighbors but a lot of people stayed until about 9pm.
We planned a couple games such as Pass the Coconut but we didn't end up doing games since so many people decided to swim. Pass the Coconut is sort of like musical chairs but you stand in a circle and pass a coconut around. The one left holding the coconut when the music stops is out. You keep doing this until you have one person left who is your winner. There is also a very funny Hawaiian drawing game where people with their eyes closed have to draw and island hula girl palm tree coconut etc. . . The one with most things correctly spaced/oriented wins the prize.
As the guests left we let the kids pick some Hawaiian toys out of a Hawaiian Luau Treasure Chest which I purchased at OTC. It comes with 100 pieces. The kids were allowed to pick 5-6 prizes and fill up their Hawaiian decorated paper bag (also purchased at OTC). I also purchased a couple activities for the kids but these weren't used because so many ended up swimming. There's a cute tropical fish craft and a hula girl coloring kit you can purchase at OTC. If you don't end up using your crafts at the party you can have the kids take them home. "