Idea No.


Luau Party 9-13yr - Passport Invitations



May 2002


Stephanie in Deltona, FL   United States


Tropical Hawaiian Luau

End of School Hawaiian Luau 9-13 year old  This party was really, really, really fun! It was also relatively easy and inexpensive since there were about 10 girls invited and we did so many things. You might want to downsize the guest list to the bare minimum so you can afford to provide really nice stuff for everyone. 

INVITATIONS: Be simple and cute with these, and don't forget to island-theme them! Print some up, buy a pack from a dollar store, hand-make them, or try the classic pillow invitation. You could also, since this is a luau, send a passport to your guests! On a bright index card, print this phrase; "One ticket to Hawaii on (child’s name) Airlines. Ticket valid Friday at -:-- to Saturday at -:--. Meet at ______. Bring a sleeping bag and pillow and some old makeup." Tie this ticket to an inexpensive, travel-size toothbrush and mail to your guests. 

GUEST LIST: Invite fewer than 8 guests since older girls just want to be with one close circle of friends anyway. Getting along, cleaning up, and being attentive to each guest is easier so, and prizes, food, and favors are cheaper. Narrow it down to the real tight buddies and those who have invited you to their parties.  TIPS: Specify rooms that are off-limits, lights off time, how loud the music can be and how long you are allowed to stay up beforehand. It helps. Also remember that the party goers need their privacy (to gossip and play gags!). Be flexible yet have a plan, be attentive and polite yet not cliquey, and as gracious and understanding a host as can be to guests’ phobias, weaknesses, and quarrels. Go with the flow basically. And have fun.  

PREPARATIONS: Buy décor the week before. Buy prizes, favors and game equipment a few days before. Buy food the day before. On the morning of the big day, bake the cake and cookies or whatever else you are making, and just an hour before the guests arrive lay out the buffet platters. Keep organized by using a daily planner, shopping lists, and memo pads for jotting down little things to do. 

DECORATIONS: Hang up yellow, orange, and green streamers all over the place since you can get a huge roll for $0.75 and streamers always dress a place up. Cover the buffet table with a multi-colored tablecloth and then a huge sheet of astro-turf for a Hawaiian feel. You should reserve one brightly lit and especially decorated area or room, cleared of rugs, lamps, breakables, and furniture, for dancing, snacking, and romping.

Here is where the girls can work out their energy and make a mess to their hearts content. In the bounce-around room is where the CD player should be so the guests can rock to Linkin Park as well as sway to the Hula! Hang up tropical looking curtains and posters. Make palm trees out of construction paper and stick them to the walls. String up colorful templates and patterns too.   Also keep one off-to-the-side room for calm and quiet. In the middle of the room, make a huge pile of ultra soft pillows mixed in with teddy bears and other bedside companions. This can be the peace-room/snuggle heap for those who want to hit the sack early.  

FOOD: Keep a supply of goldfish crackers, potato chips, pretzels, donuts, and cookies on hand for anytime snacking. But for the dinner buffet, we go a little above that. Include fresh fruit platters- pineapple rings, dainty bunches of grapes, halved strawberries, wedges of melons and mango, and cantaloupe slices are some fruits that are colorful and savory together. Tortilla chips and a spicy, savory, colorful avocado dip can really dress up a buffet as well. Chocolate covered pretzels, cheese balls, buttery crackers with choice of toppings, Oreos, and Jell-O are also definite must-haves too. This wide range of eats is vibrant and irresistible.

A coordinated and exotic main course would pineapple bacon baked beans, and a couple of bacon pineapple pizzas to really top things off! Breakfast is a simple biscuit, sausage, toast, and grape juice affair. And beverages should include fruity drinks and shakes.  The birthday cake should be pineapple upside down cake. This is a really savory and delicious classic cake that has many variations, but is basically simple to make. It really doesn’t require frosting. But top each serving with a dollop of fluffy marshmallow crème flavored to your taste; banana or vanilla bean essence can be added, for example. And banana cupcakes are a favorite party luau treat too. 

GAMES/ACTIVITIES: 1) start off with an icebreaker activity. Sit around in a circle and introduce yourself. Also confess to the other guests your favorite joke, why you would love to go to Hawaii, and something you admire in the birthday girl. By the time the last person has confessed, the guests should be all smiles and anticipation. 

2) Try an easy craft to start them off. Supply fresh, silk or cloth flowers, a variety of colorful beads and charms, glitter, sequins, glue, fishing line, and pipe cleaners. Each guest can make a Hawaiian headband or necklace, it’s their call. It might be a quickie activity or a prolonged one depending on how much the crafters talk and joke in-between. It really doesn’t matter. They might need some help, but it’s not likely they’ll need supervision, which leaves guardians free to check on the food and take a break. 

3) Rent an instruction video on the Hula. Play it over and over so everyone gets a chance to learn some basic moves. It’s really a story to be told, so each girl can sculpt their own dance. It’s an enlightening activity into another culture of music, dance, rhythm, and laughter in the tropics. 

4) Right about now, the girls should be feeling antsy. After a learning pastime, a circle activity, and a craft, they should be ready to chill, let loose, and hit the pool! If you don’t have one, find a public pool in your city or ask a friend to lend you the use of theirs. They can play sharks and minnows, Marco polo, water tag, water volleyball, soda pop, besides having splash wars and floating around on rafts and tires. Host swimming races and diving contests, as well as wacky water relays to ease the competition. This will take forever if there is as much laughing and fooling around as there is in my pool!  NOW IT’S TIME TO EAT DINNER EVERYBODY!

5) When everyone had dried off, play some traditional party games. Limbo, bingo, truth or dare, pass the parcel, any variation of pin the tail etc, hot potato, freeze tag, TV tag, telephone, and hilarious handkerchief, tug of war, potato sack races, and blindman’s bluff for starters. 

6) Before hand, pick up a couple of old magazines. Time, Teen People, Better Homes and Gardens, whatever, but get a good range. Scatter them over the floor; provide gluesticks, stickers, markers, glitter, and construction paper. Then let the guests loose to make their own collages. Give small candy prizes for wackiest, cutest, sweetest, wildest, hottest, hippest, neatest, most personalized, so on- and most Hawaiian of course! The collages go home as party favors- they’re really great! Remember, a collage can be about a certain theme, like a luau, or about a person, like you, and all the things you’re into. 

7) Using mom’s cheapest, oldest make up kits, glam up the guests, island style! Blindfold them and give them a makeover they’ll never forget! From hairdos to pedicures to temporary tattoos, do everything you can to spice up the image! Take lots of photos throughout the party, but especially now! Then hold a pajama fashion show to tout your new looks! 

8) Now it’s pretty late. Pop in a movie like Holiday in the Sun, Magnum PI, or another island flick. Then next, in goes a girl power film like Josie and the Pussycats, Bring it On, or Save the Last Dance. Drew Barrymore and Mary-Kate and Ashley movies are safe bets to entertain a preteen crowd also. 

9) Here’s how to make some last minute Tissue Paper Flowers that will bring sweet dreams, for those late night busy bees: Cut a few pieces (about 4-6) of tissue paper (crepe paper) about 8 x 10 inches (the exact size doesn't matter).  Put the paper in a pile and fold it like an accordion. Tie the center of the folded paper with a green pipe cleaner (or twist tie). Gently pull each piece of paper towards the top center of the flower, separating each sheet of paper from the others (forming the petals of the flower).

10) The straggling midnight owls can work off their last steam by making personalized sponge paint pillows. You provide the sponges, glow in the dark paint, and old pillowcases. They do the work, and then lay back on their luminescent masterpieces and sleep. 

11) Morning activities should be kicking back, watching cartoons, opening birthday presents at last, and talking about last night. This will take a long time, believe me! When guest leave, hand out goody bags 12) Clean up time! Carefully and neatly dispose of everything you can never use again

13) Don’t forget to send out thank you notices, and to scrapbook your memories! 

GOODY BAGS/PRIZES: Goody bags could include a sheet of acid free luau stickers, some tiger-striped pencils, chintzy but dazzling costume jewelry, a handful of gummy worms or a pack of bubblegum, a bookmark, even a pair of cute ankle socks! Be original with your prizes as well as your goody bag loot. Accessories, cosmetics, certificates, posters, movie passes, and candy make for great prizes.

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