Hawaiian Theme Ideas

Theme Ideas: Hawaiian Luau

This Hawaiian Luau theme article forms part of series that explores different themes. This series is designed to save organisers of fundraising events from having to reinvent the wheel all of the time – our primary focus here at the Fundraising Directory! You can see other themes here.

Whether it’s ‘The Brady’s in Hawaii’ or ‘Pearl Harbour’ that’s more your cup of tea, say ‘Aloha’ to our fabulous list of ideas for your next Hawaiian Themed event.


Think bright colours, beaches and hibiscus flowers for starters and then there’s a whole lot more to add to that:

  • tiki’s
  • palm trees
  • coconuts
  • cocktails
  • surfboards
  • pineapples (or any tropical fruit really)
  • ukuleles
  • Hawaiian shirts
  • Any common Hawaiian words like ‘Aloha’, Luau

Any or all these would make a great addition to your invitations.


A Hawaiian event is relatively easy to decorate and you can often buy ready to use themed party packages online. These are great if you’re going with a general Hawaiian theme but there are a large number of movies and TV shows made in or about Hawaii so that’s an alternative option too. Here are a few ‘must have’s’ when it comes to decorations:

  • Palm trees (real, plastic or inflatable – it doesn’t matter which!)
  • Fairy lights will always add to the atmosphere of any party
  • Tiki torches (great for additional lighting and keeping the mozzies away!)
  • Use grass skirts and lei’s as table skirting
  • Candles surrounded by frangipani flowers make an easy table centerpiece
  • Paper lanterns of all shapes, sizes and colours look great.
  • Surfboards – if you can’t get hold of real ones, make some out of cardboard
  • Helium foil balloon letters to spell ALOHA
  • Make a tiki totem using cardboard boxes as your entry
  • DIY some bamboo with cardboard tubes and rope – this would look great to add to your bar area
  • The good old Ferrero Rocher pineapple makes a brilliant centerpiece AND they can be auctioned off later in the night
  • Hollowed out pineapples can make a unique vase for your tables
  • Jars filled with sand and/or shells
  • Signs to direct your guests to the bar, the food and of course the limbo!


Finally, a chance to bust out the coconut bra!! 😉 One of the great things about a Hawaiian theme is that the costumes really easy too. I don’t know too many people who don’t have either a Hawaiian shirt of a sarong in their wardrobe.  Sell lei’s and beaded necklaces to make a few extra dollars, or at least supply them for those who pike out on dressing up. Other costume ideas:

  • Hula girl/woman
  • Surfer
  • Tiki
  • Matching his and hers Hawaiian suits
  • Pineapple
  • Banana
  • Safari suit
  • Parrot
  • Snow globe
  • Add a camera, a bum bag and some socks and sandals to your Hawaiian shirt and you’ve got a Hawaiian tourist


  • Coconut bowling
  • Pineapple ring toss
  • Beach ball relay races – where you must carry the beach ball between your knees
  • Limbo
  • Dress up relay – where participants have to put on various items (flippers, swim ring, floaties, goggles and snorkel and maybe even a Hawaiian shirt) race to their next team member, undress and pass everything on for the next person to put on and so on.
  • Hula hoop competition
  • Watermelon eating contest
  • Coconut decorating competition


  • Cocktail bar – include mocktails, wine, beer, soft drinks and juice as well as the essential novelty serving ware
  • Create your own signature cocktail for your event
  • Slushie machines can be hired for frozen daiquiri’s and margarita’s
  • Sell ‘Hawaiian’ chicken burgers (with pineapple), as well as traditional sausage sizzle and burgers
  • Hawaiian pizza (but have other options too)
  • Chicken kebabs
  • Fruit salad
  • Coconuts
  • If you have the option, you could have an Imu (underground oven)
  • Pig on the spit.


  • Set up a ‘beach’ for the kids
  • Inflatables
  • Mechanical surfboard
  • Some fair games if appropriate – for example coconut shy
  • Ukulele performance
  • Island dancers
  • Fire performers
  • Karaoke – charge an entry fee for performers with a prize for the winner as decided by the audience.

As always, there’s a number of ways to make some extra cash at your event. Firstly, you can charge an entry fee per individual or family, raffles with some ‘beachy’ or Hawaiian themed prizes and selling food and drinks. As they say in Hawaii, ‘A hui hou kākou’ (until we meet again).

Check out all our theme ideas here.


Originally published 23 May, 2018

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