Decorations are everything when it comes to a tiki-themed party. You want to create just the right tropical ambiance and laid-back vibe. When you do a tiki-themed party right, you won’t have to go away on vacation to experience the luxurious island life.
But before getting started, you must know the difference between tiki and luau. People often get the two confused. While they have similarities, they also have big differences.
What’s a Tiki Party?
A tiki is a carved figure, usually wooden, in humanoid form that often represents a deity. Tiki culture dates back to ancient Polynesia. Tiki parties make use of the decorations and tropical fauna found on the Polynesian islands. It’s a party theme that first became popular in America after World War II, taking off in the 1950s and 1960s. An example of the popularity is the Disney Polynesian Village Resort, first opened in 1971.
What’s a Luau?
A luau is specific to Hawaii and features traditional foods and entertainment. The entertainment often consists of traditional Hawaiian hula and music. The food typically includes a roasted pig, poi, diced raw fish (poke), tomato and salmon salad (lomi-lomi salmon), beer and a coconut-based dessert (haupia).
Ideas for a Tiki-Themed Party
A tiki-themed party typically borrows from South Pacific culture. This includes everything from food choices to using tiki torches. Here are some ideas to get party planners started in the right direction.
If held at night, tiki torches are a convenient way to immediately give a party that South Pacific feel. You can also give each guest a flower lei as they enter the party. Grass-skirt table clothes, colorful runners and bright dishes create a festive atmosphere. Planners should also encourage guests to wear color shirts, shorts, hats and shades – and even a grass skirt, if they’re feeling bold.
Tiki-themed party food is fantastic, and now you have the excuse to put your own spin on it. Here’s a list of some tiki-themed party ideas. At least some of these should be present at every tiki party. Especially some type of pineapple.
- Kebabs (vegetables, fruit and your choice of favorite beef or chicken)
- Pulled pork sandwiches
- Fruit tray
- Everything pineapple: pineapple-bacon wraps, pineapple-meatball skewers, pineapple salad, etc.
- Burgers with teriyaki sauce and pineapple
- Coconut shrimp
Tropical drinks offer many, many options. That’s why tiki bars are so popular! If you like piña coladas, Mai Tais, rum punches, Singapore Slings and Blue Lagoons – plus many other choices – this is the right party to plan and attend.
Every tiki-theme party should give people the chance to dance and to limbo. It also should include beach-related fun, including waterslides, volleyball, kite flying, frisbees – whatever there’s room to accommodate.
It’s never too early to start planning for a fun tiki-themed party. Because of the distinctive look of the decorations and unique food, it’s one of the easier parties to plan when you want to create a certain vibe. And with tiki-themed parties, that vibe is laidback and fun.