Surfer Girl Luau - Coconut Bowling
Connie in Simi Valley, CA, USA
For our little sister's 21st birthday my other sister and I decided to throw her a surprise "Surfer girl-luau party". (As she loves to surf, we thought this would be the perfect theme. She was away at school and would never see the surprise coming. We planned it around when she would be coming home for spring break.) For the invitations we bought standard plain invites decorated with butterflies, and included all of the info at the top printed out from the computer (as I did not want to do all that writing.) We asked everyone to dress in "loud" hawiian prints and to each bring thier own beach chair. We decided to have it at our church multipurpose room as we wanted to make it a surprise. We went out and bought a ton of hawiian and tropical fish looking items and decorated the room with them. We started with neon colored butterfly plates cups and napkins from the dollar store and decorated the rest of the room to match them.
We decorated the book shelves in the room with big blue paper table cloths- to look like the ocean, and taped up inflatable fish and plastic snorkle sets to them that we found at the dollar store. We also attached plastic leis and fish netting with crabs and lobsters, and umlit luminaries on top of the bookshelves that we borrowed from a friend. We had banners set up that said "Hang ten" and "Welcome to Paradise" over the birthday chair and the food table. We set up the food tables and cake table with neon colored table cloths and neon balloon bunches tied to pinapples as centerpieces. We skirted the tables with grass skirts and put fish confetti on top. We used a three foot infltable kiddie pool on the floor to hold ice and drinks. And used sand pails and shovels to hold the ships and snacks. Because it was a "surfer-girl" party, we borrowed a frinds surfboard (my sister could not afford to buy her own yet), and put it in one of the corners.
We made a photo-op corner by covering the existing soda machine with a blue tablecloth and putting a paper palm tree over the front. We hung a paper sun from the ceiling and put the surfboard there. We had people stand in front of it for photos with the birthday girl. We also took one of the photo's we had of my sister standing on the beach in her wetsuit with a surfboard and had it framed in a autograph frame. When guests arrived we had them sign the plain white matte with a special birthday wish for our sister. (Another idea is to put a clear plastic page protector sheet over the picture to be signed because inevitablly there will always be somone who signs on the picture part instead of the intended matte.) We handed out leis (Oriental trading Co), and we decorated the "Birthday" girls beach chair with lei garland and a bright beach towel, and funky- strawed cup. Since the seating depended on everyone bringing thier own beach chair- our family's chairs and hers were the only ones we had to set up. For the food we ordered hawiaan pizza and had chips, fruit, and macadamia nuts, brownies, veggies, and popcorn.
For cake my sister made a sheet sized pinapple upside down cake, and I ordered a cake from the grocery store bakery with a beach and surfers on it and a birthday message. Our guests could decide when we served up the cake which one they wanted to sample. We also had trick candles on the surfer cake for her to blow out.
The best part about the party were the games. My sister and I came up with some great party game ideas, and spun the entire party around the games. (Lots of help from existing ideas off this website). The first game idea was a scavenger hunt-with riddles as to where party outfit items were hidden. The items to find were all parts of the birthday girls party outfit. First was a grass skirt (to go over her real skirt) and coconut bra (over her shirt), as well as a shell necklace, and lei, flip flops, lei wrist bracelets, flowered hair clip, lei anklets, flowered headress, and huge play sunglasses. It was a hoot to see her dressed up in her party outfit. The idea of the game was that there were two teams. Each team had six riddles with a total of twelve items to find all togehter. Each item had a different riddle ad to where it was hidden. Since we had the party at our church, there were lots of hiding places.
My sister is great at writing riddles amd they were all real funny and kooky. Example: I am made to sway upon the form of a comely maiden in places warm while the music makes a charming tone but today I sway where flags have flown (grass skirt / flag pole)- (the item and corisponding hiding place.) The teams raced each other to find all their items first-(each was numbered and they had to find them all in the correct order number and color for their team.)As they found an item they had to bring them back (race back) one at a time and "dress" the birthday girl. It was hillarious because at one time she only had one flip flop on (since we had made each matching item a different riddle number for each team.)It started off a little shakey and we had to explain it again and start over, but when it got rolling it was really fun.
The next game was coconut bowling with three pinapples and a coconut, (really fun but a little dangerous as people tended to want to lob the coconut, and the pinapples turned up a little worse for the wear afterwards.) We also had musical chairs with our beach chairs. Which was great beacause everyone's beach chair was a different size and height. I bought a funky luau music cd and had that playing during the "musical beach chairs" and throughout the party. We also made up a beach- surf word search and had people work on that as we were waiting for the birthday girl to show up.
Since we had invited entire families and not just adults we had a huge basket with game prizes in it filled with play sunglasses, candy, silly string, mardigras beads, water guns, bubbles, and all kinds of other fun things. The kids especially loved the grab basket of prizes. Everyone went home with something. In addition to the game prizes we handed out party favors of little surfboard bookmarks and flip flop magnets (Oriental trading Co.). Inside the bags with the favors I had printed a message off of Word on the computer that stated: "Thank you for coming to Priscilla's 21st Surfer Party" with a clip art picture of a surfer girl. Guests got to take home a lei, a favor, and any candy or prizes they had aquired.
My sister was so surprized as we had told her that the church was throwing a party for another one of the girls (who's birthday it was the same week,) and my mom had her show up to the party with a gift for the other girl to make it look more convincing on the way over. That way we didn't have to blind fold her. We handed out "clapper" toys to the kids and when she walked into the room we had all the kids wave their clappers and say "Surprise!"
Afterwards in the thank you's my sister included a photo of herself with everyone individually in front of the photo-op surfboard corner. It was a great day. It was a ton of work and a ton of shopping to find all the good deals. We also kept a continuous list of items and ideas to check off-which was hidden in word on the computer under a secret name so our sister wouldn't find it easily when she came home. It was worth all the work for the look on our sisters face. She will never forget her 21st birthday, and we are still getting compliments on how much fun everyone had!