Idea No.


Surprise Luau -40yr- Hawaiian Trivia Game



May 2005


Sherry in honey brook, pa usa

Special Mention

Surprise Party

My brother wanted to have a surprise 40th for his wife, and decided on a luau.  I helped him plan it, and it was a TREMENDOUS success.  Here is what we came up with: 

Invitations were printed on hawaiian themed stationery, 5X7 sheets, with a poem about Kim, and the surprise luau.  Guests were asked to wear aloha attire. 126 were invited, and 120 came, and all of them had aloha shirts on!  They entered through the raffia door curtain, and received a nametag (border of hibiscus flowers) with their name in Hawaiian, the phonetic pronunciation (got this off a website), and their English name on it.  The ladies and girls received an imitation silk flower and bead bracelet, and a hibiscus hair clip; the boys got a friendship/surfing bracelet, and the men got a golf/shark hat with hibiscus band. 

There were 9 banquet tables around the perimeter of the room with appetizers, coffee, desserts, the cake, gifts, entrees, bar, and one for the kids' food. (The party was catered with a roast pig as the centerpiece). The seating for the guests was in the middle, and there were leis on each chair (imitation silk).  Each table was covered with green plastic tablescloths, had a 10 balloon cluster in the middle attached to green or gold balloon weights, two tissue paper pineapples, and two dashboard hula girls.  We sprinkled the tables with imitation silk flower petals.

The food tables all had grass skirting, with colored flower garlands around the top edge of the table, and green plastic table cloths covering the top. My brother had created holders out of pvc pipes for the bamboo poles (1" thick, 8 ft. high - from ebay), so we had poles coming up either side of the table and one stretched across the top.  Each food table had a string of lights between the bamboo poles (suns, palm trees, pineapples, hula girls, flamingos, surfboards,etc.)

The bar was a created to be like a 'hut' with a rafia roof, rafia skirting, and inflatable parrots on either side. The party was held in part of a warehouse that was too huge for an intimate gathering.  So, we stretched 60 feet of rope to 'cut the building in half', and hung plastic table cloths (100 ft. rolls, 4 ft. wide x 2) on the rope so we had a 7 foot high 'wall'. (Pieces of old molding were used like clothline poles to prop the wall up on the other side).

We had 3 banquet tables centered in front of the 'wall', on the ends of the 'wall' were painted beach/palm tree scenes (brown paper and tempra paint). On the wall behind the center table was a 4 ft. X 10 ft.  banner with digital lifesize photos of Kim on the ends, and Happy 40th Birthday in the middle. We hung fish nets all over the warehouse, and attached inflatable fish, flamingos, etc., and carboard fish to them. 

There were aloha signs at the welcome table, the bathroom and the 'photo' spot. We hung a tropical fish flag on one bathroom wall; on the other was a fish net with decorations, we had pastic crabs, lobsters, etc. hanging from the lights in front of the mirror, and even had tropical soap dispensers and coconut scented bathroom spray! 

We played a Hawaiian trivia game that we created (facts from a website), and everyone got a hibiscus pencil to use. Prizes were Kona coffee and macadamia nuts, tropical chapstick, and suntan lotion. There were aloha wrapped mints, coconut candy, and flamingo lollypops, plastic coconut cups (for the kids) and hibiscus straws. 

We played luau music (wipe-out, hawaii 5-0, blue hawaii, jimmy buffet, etc.).  We had two dozen beach balls blown up and scattered around the floor. The kids had fun with those, and with various games (we hired someone to coordinate these).

The majority of our decorations and giveaways came from Oriental Trading (best prices and selection).  The table cloths and cardboard fish from Party City. This ended up being more like a reception than a birthday party, but it was really fun. Hope some of these ideas are helpful to others.

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