Tag Archives: luau party

Pirate Photo Prop

Pirate Photo Prop

Pirate Photo Prop

Use one of these very reasonably priced photo props at  your next kids birthday party and you’ve got party fun taking the pictures and your party favor all taken care of!

There’s a photo prop for just about any kids party theme you can think of– pirates, princess, surfer dudes, safari, luau, farm, football, race car driver- just scroll through all the pages on Amazon and you won’t believe how many of these things there are  to choose from.

Have a helper to upload and print out the results so they’re ready to hand out as your party favor when your guests leave. Make sure you’ve got the glossy photo paper on hand for printing the pictures. And if your guests are young, your helper can help keep order as they get their pictures taken.

Alternatively, use the pictures as your thank you notes instead of party favors. Print the photos out on the glossy photo paper and use mounting corners to attach the photo to the front of your blank note card (so it can be removed and saved by the parents).

As either a party favor or as personalized thank you notes, these photo props are a fun addition to your kids birthday party.

Hula Dancer

Luau Decor

Hula DancerIt’s easy to turn your party venue into a tropical paradise with luau birthday party decorations for your luau party. Be your venue indoors for a winter respite or outdoors during the good weather, it’s an easy birthday party theme to decorate for.

First off, make your grass skirt for your food table, with the able assistance of your birthday child. Cover the top of your table with brown butcher paper, secured with tape,  and measure the circumference of the table (or at least three sides thereof if your going to have it up against the wall). Cut a length of butcher paper equal to that circumference plus 4 inches. Draw a line on the long edge 5″ down from the top and set your birthday child to cutting narrow strips into the paper up to that line to make your ‘grass’. Tape the finished ‘skirt’ around the edge of your table.

Top your grass skirted table off with paper bag luminaria with palm tree or pineapple cut outs copied/traced from clip art. If you can find coconut scented votives, all the better for your tropical luau atmosphere. Sprinkle big colorful tissue paper flowers around your table top between your platters of food and hang more of them above the table. Your birthday child can help you make these as well, and the two of you can have some fun doing it together.

Don’t forget the plastic leis for everyone as they arrive.

Making your own decorations for your luau themed party is fun and will get your birthday child involved in the party prep.


Games to Print

PrinterThis is a birthday party games resource every parent should have in their bag of tricks. Whatever your theme, you’re very likely to find a game you can tweak to fit that theme at python-printable-games.com.

Not free, but reasonably priced, this website is a treasure trove of games that you print out for your crowd. Even if you don’t buy, their games may give you great ideas that you can then put together on your own.

Got great birthday party ideas but just not quite enough to fill your party agenda? These printable games may be just what you need to round things out for the kids. Paper and pencil thinking games are also a terrific way to calm things down and the perfect follow up to an energizing activity, so you can stay sane. It’s always a good idea to follow an active game with a more sedentary one to help the kids stay in control.

At python-printable-games.com you’ll find games specific for luau parties, pirate parties, slumber parties, and camping themed parties. In addition, they’ve got non-themed games like “Lie to Me” and “Tangled Tongue Twister” and a “Been There Done That” game that looks like fun for teens.

Keep this website in your arsenal of resources for party games. If nothing else, having one extra game all printed out and ready to go in the event your timing is off and you’ve got too much time before parents come for pick up can be a godsend!

Dance Off

DancingExpending energy is ALWAYS a good thing at a kids birthday party, and dancing does it really well. Doesn’t matter if they’re little or big, it works. Outdoors or inside- doesn’t matter.

For the little ones, freeze dancing is an old standby and that’s because they love it and it shakes out their sillies. Adjust it to your theme with the music you use (download it if you can): the bar scene music for your Star Wars party,  Satie’s ‘Carnival of the Animals’ for your Jungle or Safari Party, a royal trumpet for your Princess party, Don Ho for your luau party.

The big ones are a bit more difficult, but you can still make it work. Use their favorite music, it might cost you a few 99 cents on iTunes but it will be worth it. No matter if your party is mixed gender or all girls- just don’t try this with all boys.

How do you turn it into a contest for the older ones? You give each child a ballot to vote for the best dancer, and they can’t vote for themselves. Give them 2 or 3 abbreviated music numbers to dance to, and they vote after each. Make a ballot box out of a liquor box with a slit for their vote cut into the top and graphics from the web pasted onto it. After the last vote, have the kids choose an election monitor to count the ballots. Have a small prize for the top three winners.  Move on to your next activity, which might just be something requiring more thought than energy- to take advantqge of all that energy they just burned off.

Your party games don’t really have to be games at all- just something fun to do that you turn into a game with a little competition. Works every time!


Racetrack Game

Racetrack A fun game for up to 6 kids at a time- take them to the races!

Make it matchbox cars for the boys or horses for the girls, they can even race cars against horses in this game and it will still be a fair race.

Their game pieces (the cars and/or the plastic horses) can be their take home party favors.

You can get fancy, but only if you want to, and make a 6 lane race track out of plywood and paint. But, all you really need is a roll of wide white paper and markers. If you can’t find a 24″ wide roll, use the 12″ wide and tape 2 piece together the long way to get 24″. Make your track about 6 feet long.  Mark out your 6 lanes, the start and the finish, and divide the remaining space in each lane into 12 spaces (I’ve used just 10 here in the illustration):


If using a paper track, place it for the game on a hard surface like the floor- not on a rug where it will tear much more easily.

You need two different color dice- one to determine whose turn it is NEXT and one to tell how many spaces they can move. I suggest making all 2’s and 4’s (on the dice that determines how far they can move) be ‘backwards’- meaning they have to move their game pieces backwards 2 or 4 spaces, instead of forwards. If these are the rolls at the start- that game piece stays in the starting gate until their next turn.

Start the game off with the player in Lane #1 rolling the one die that determines who gets to roll. That player then rolls both dice, moves his  or her game piece and passes the roll to whichever player’s number was rolled by the dice that determines who rolls next. Repeat as necessary until one of the game pieces crosses the finish line- the winner.  If they’re enthusiastic, let the winner stay in the game with the next bunch of players.

Include this as one of your party games for your carnival birthday party, but it can also be adapted to a variety of party themes by changing the game pieces: dogs for a Scooby-Doo party, other plastic animals for a safari or jungle party, plastic kittens for a Hello Kitty party, monkeys for a luau party- you get the idea.

Watermelon Shark

Watermelon Shark

Watermelon Shark

Photo courtesy of and with permission from the Mom in High Heels blog

Get a good sharp knife and get to work. This is actually healthy fare for your pirate birthday party or pool party or luau party, and the kids will go nuts when they see what you’ve done. My thanks to the Mom in High Heels blog for posting this creation where I could find it to pass along.

Just like a great looking cake, give this guy center stage by bringing him into the party at a time when he’ll command everyone’s full attention. That way, you’ll get your due for your creativity and the time spent- I’m hearing about an hour to make.

You’ll find complete instructions for making this scary fruit guy here. In addition to your watermelon, knives and spoons to scoop out the melon, you’ll need two marbles for the eyes and a couple of toothpicks to attach the dorsal fin.

The instructions suggest adding swedish fish candies to the scooped out watermelon balls. I’d prefer to see other fruits and melons added in, some cut into other sea creatures like the starfish you see in the picture- I’m betting they’re pineapple. There’s plenty enough sugar in the melon- no need to add candy too.

It’s not often you can serve party food that’s actually healthy and that the kids will really eat AND get a kick out of the way it looks. This watermelon shark may be mean looking, but he’s a winner for your pirate birthday party or your luau party or pool party. Do check out all our party food ideas here.

Get out those Holiday Lights

Party LightsDecorate with what you’ve already got instead of spending more money on stuff you’ll rarely use. And those holiday lights you’ve got in the attic might be just the thing for your party.

Obviously, if your party is in the evening when it’s dark, stringing up lights make perfect sense. If you’re inside, draw the blinds so the lights show up better during the daylight hours. For an inside party, you can use the 3M tacky tape that’s easy on your paint to attach the lights up at the ceiling.

Incorporate the lights into your theme with additions added to the light strings- just being careful to keep all flammable materials far enough away from the lights. For example,

  • Add homemade paper lanterns as in the picture for your luau party
  • Add black jolly roger flags (paper ones are just fine) to an all white light string for your pirate party
  • Tie on tissue paper flowers to dangle from your light string for a tea party or any ‘girlie’ party theme
  • Add in small, double sided paper crowns cut out of sparkly or gold paper for your princess party
  • Make and tie on snowflake cut-outs for your winter party theme
  • Gold and silver or colorful shiny stars (double sided and different sizes) hanging from the light strings will be a great addition for any teen party
  • Tie colorful balloons onto the light string- and they needn’t be helium if tied on close to the string.
  • Double sided print-outs of baseballs or bastketballs or soccerballs can be tied on for your sports themed party
  • Double sided print-outs of animals can be tied on for your safari jungle party

Kids being kids, if you’ve got blinker lights, it’s probably all the better.

Kids being kids, they’re not there to critique your decorations. Your decorations are there to get the kids in the party frame of mind so they have fun and participate in all the good activities you have for them. Fun lighting using what you’ve probably already got will do just that. K.I.S.S. – keep your decorations simple and you’ll be more relaxed come party time.

Volcano Cake

Volcano Cake

Photo from foodnetwork.com

Thanks to foodnetwork.com and Sandra Lee for this fantastic volcano cake you can make for your kids luau party. Even if your party isn’t for a birthday celebration, this cake is such a show stopper you’ll just have to include it at your luau.

This is much simpler than it looks to make as it’s ‘semi-homemade’, using two boxes of red velvet cake mix, canned frosting and purchased decorator icing.

The ‘smoke’ is a bit of dry ice in a votive candle holder at the top of the cake. Since you’ll no doubt have to buy more dry ice than you’ll need for the cake, place it around elsewhere at the party for more fun smoke (with  little signs that say ‘don’t touch’).

You will need 2- 8” cake pans, 2 -10” cake pans and a 6” bundt pan. You can probably borrow any pans that you don’t already have.

Decorating this cake with all the different colored lava flows of icing should be fun to do with your child and is a good way to get them involved in the party prep.

No luau is complete without it’s volcano!

Tiki Totems

Tiki MaskGreat for a luau party, but if your guests are the right age for it, let them make your party decorations. Perfect for kids age 9 to 10 and preteens.

Use brown poster board for the totems – I found it at Amazon.

Once turned into a tiki head, roll the posterboard into a cylinder, tape or staple it closed, and have the kids place their masterpiece wherever they want at your party. A few rocks placed inside the cylinder will keep it upright and in place.

Print out examples of tiki masks to give the kids ideas for their own creations.  As you look through these printable masks, you’ll notice that eyes and mouth are always black and open, so black markers are a must. I’d also suggest construction paper in red, black, white, dark blue, dark green, and scissors to cut out the shapes they what to use – almost like a mosaic. Glue will also be required. Or, provide paints for creating the faces.

Decorate your tiki making table with one or two tiki totems you’ve made that also show the kids how to do it. Keep yours simpler than the printouts so they don’t get discouraged before they even start.

If your group isn’t a good age for this craft, either make a few tiki totems yourself for your luau decorations , or do it with your birthday child as a fun project before the party.

Hula Lula Luau

HulaChallenge your young luau guests to do the hula- and it WILL be a challenge! Best for a teen luau party, but it also works with younger kids, especially the younger girls.

There are some terrific hula videos on YouTube that you can set up to play on your laptop on a table at your party.  Spring for either a grass skirt or a sarong that the kids can put on when they step up to take your hula challenge. You could even decorate this table- a green plastic tablecloth fringed to resemble a grass skirt with plastic flowers about.

In checking out these videos, I learned that there is apparently a big difference between the Hawaiian and the Polynesian or Tahitian hula – the latter being much faster and more like belly dancing and MUCH more difficult. The music is also different (at least in these videos) – heavily percussion and with a quick tempo.

If you’ve got an older or pretty athletic group, I’d recommend using the Tahitian hula video – you’ll be amazed at how good this gal is. And the music for the Tahitian hula will definitely attract the kids to the activity, so have the volume turned up enough for it to do the job. You may only get the girls, but you may also be surprised and the guys may jump in too – there’s often at least one exhibitionist in every crowd and sometimes all it takes is one. Teenage guys, more comfortable in their skin and their bodies than younger ones, may also jump right in, but will certainly be an appreciative audience for the girls even if they don’t.

Younger kids will do better with a slower Hawaiian style hula.

Make sure to have a camera on the table with the laptop as some of the pictures will be priceless – especially if the guys participate.