Cheap & Fun Luau Birthday Ideas

Purchase extra lei for guests and for decorating.
Purchase extra lei for guests and for decorating. (Image: pineapple and lei image by William Berry from

A luau birthday party should involve several key elements to make it a success; these include bright colors, hula skirts, lei, Hawaiian music, tropical food and fruity-flavored drinks. Creating a tropical Hawaiian atmosphere for the guests can be done easily on a budget. Fun food and crafts will keep the birthday party guests entertained and feeling like they are at a real island luau celebration.

Airplane Ticket Invitations

Creating an invitation that resembles a boarding pass is a fun way to invite guests to a birthday party. Designing and printing the invitations yourself at home is a cheap alternative to ordering them. There are templates available online that you can print on any color card stock paper from your printer. You can also browse examples online and design your own on a rectangular piece of card stock paper. You should be able to make three invites out of each piece of paper.

Put guests in the mood for a tropical getaway with the invitation.
Put guests in the mood for a tropical getaway with the invitation. (Image: voyage image by F/32 from

Games and Crafts

Depending on the ages of your guests, games and crafts may be appropriate at the party. Limbo is an inexpensive game that is great for any age; all you need is a long stick or board. A hula hoop bracket contest is another fun idea. Purchase two hula hoops and have guests face off in pairs, allowing the person who wins each round to advance until there is a winner.

For young girls, set up a craft activity station making wire headpieces. Use floral wire, floral tape, ribbon and artificial tropical flowers for this craft. Cut the artificial flowers so that you have many individual flowers with about 1 inch of stem. Measure a piece of floral wire to fit around the guest's head and twist the ends to secure. With this headpiece frame, attach flowers with floral tape and by twisting them on; the floral tape is green and very similar to regular tape, designed specifically for this sort of craft. Add long ribbons to the back by tying them on and letting them stream down.

Choose tropical artificial flowers like the hibiscus for the headpieces.
Choose tropical artificial flowers like the hibiscus for the headpieces. (Image: tropical flower image by Julianna Olah from


Decorate the party area with tropical-themed items. Balloons are an inexpensive decoration. Tie bright-colored balloons to twine about 6 inches apart and string them up. Buy a few pineapples and coconuts and set them around on different tables. Finish up with tiki torches and white string lights.

Decorate the edges of food tables with material that resembles raffia hula skirts. Real raffia skirts can be expensive; alternatives are to use green streamers or strips of cut brown craft paper. If you have extra lei, cut them into long strings and tape them around the edge of the table.

Seashells make good decorations.
Seashells make good decorations. (Image: sea shells image by Yuri Bathan from


Your menu will depend on how much you want to spend. An oven Kalua pork butt roast recipe is a good idea if you want to serve lunch or dinner to your guests. It is an inexpensive dish that will serve many people. Rub a 5 lb. pork butt roast with 1 tbsp. liquid smoke flavoring and 1 1/2 tbsp. sea salt. Wrap the roast tightly with foil and cook at 350 degrees for five hours, until the meat reaches 160 degrees. Shred the cooked meat and serve with a pineapple and mango salsa or on buns.

Serve fruit-themed tropical drinks in alcoholic, juice, smoothie or slushy form with paper cocktail umbrellas.

Grilled pineapple is great for a luau.
Grilled pineapple is great for a luau. (Image: pineapple image by CraterValley Photo from

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