Idea No.


Jimmy Buffet Luau -40yr- Beachcomber Hat



August 2005


Lisa in Blackstone, Massachusetts


40th Fortieth Party

I have a very large family and we always celebrate when someone turns 40 by having a big house party. For my husband’s 40th, I wanted to do something a little different. Since we are both big Jimmy Buffet fans, I decided to go with a Buffett/Luau theme. His birthday is at the end of January, so this should make it even more fun and help break up the long New England winter for everyone.  Since he will be expecting a party anyway, rather than try to make it a total surprise, I decided to let him think we will be having a party for him at someone’s house. I have really rented a hall complete with a DJ and caterer.

To get him to the hall, and get him in the tropical mood, I am making him go on a Jimmy Buffett themed scavenger hunt throughout town. Most of the items he must find are mentioned somewhere in the lyrics of a Buffett song. I am printing up letters on the computer, (on tropical print paper), telling him each stop he must make and what item he must find there. His first letter will send him to the closet in search of his Hawaiian shirt and beach comber hat, which I will have ready for him. The rest of the letters will send him to various stores and restaurants for sunflower seeds, juicy fruit gum, coconuts, a cheeseburger, a salt shaker, and a 6 pack of corona. His final stop will be at the hall, where his last letter will be an invitation to his party.

All of the guests are being sent invitations in the shape of Hawaiian shirts and are asked to wear their luau best. As favors when they arrive they will each receive a silk lei and also a flower hair clip for the ladies. I have also purchased lollipops for each place setting shaped like flamingos and monkey faces.  I have planned extensive decorating, as most of the items were purchased from the oriental trading company, it was relatively inexpensive.

The guest tables will have alternating plastic table covers is hot pink, lime green, orange, yellow and blue. The centerpieces are plastic hibiscus print plates that I will fill with sand. Inside of that I will put a flip flop shaped candleholder surrounded by starfish, sand dollars and seashells. Other decorations include grass fringe table skirts for the food tables. Hanging tissue parrots, palm trees, inflatable fish, hibiscus print parasols, and lei garlands.

For mood lighting I have a 7 ft lighted palm tree, string lights shaped like Hawaiian shirts and shorts, battery operated hibiscus lights, and candles in various tropical designed tins.  The entertainment will be provided by a disc jockey who will play a mix of Jimmy Buffet/island music and regular dance music. 

For the food I have decided to go with some luau type foods as well as some of my husbands favorite traditional foods.  I will have coconut shrimp, tropical fruit salad, and Caribbean jerked chicken. For traditional foods, we will have baked ziti, Swedish meatballs, green salad, rice, and various cold sandwiches. Dessert will be various individual pastries and chocolate chip cookies, (my husbands favorite).

The male and female guests with the best Hawaiian outfit will each receive a Corona send more limes T-shirt. We will also have a hula-hoop contest, a limbo contest and a pass the coconut race. All of the prizes will go along with the party theme as well. I have a set of margarita glasses with flip flop shaped glass tags and a tropical themed serving tray to go with it. I also will have a 6 pack of Corona beer with a set of Hawaiian shirt bottle cozies, and several Jimmy Buffett CD’s.

To help commemorate the evening I will place disposable cameras on the guest tables, and also have them sign a hula monkey stuffed animal to give to my husband. It has taken a lot of planning, but I am having so much fun that I can’t wait until January!

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