How to Throw a Tropical Tiki Party

Take your guests on a tropical vacation right in your own backyard! Here are some tips on throwing an unforgettable soiree.

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Tropical Tiki Party Pop Up Tohdj21 Pu4552 E08 05 1b
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When it comes to shindigs, there’s nothing like a good backyard luau. These tiki-inspired parties are easy to throw and a blast to attend. Whip up a few tropical drinks, pop some shrimp on the grill and before you know it, your patio will feel a lot more like paradise.

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5x7 Tiki Time Birthday Invitation

Start with invitations

The invitations let your guests know what they can expect from your party. Set them up for a good time with festive invites. This template from Mauve and Gamboge is on-theme without looking cheesy, customizable and you can print as many as you need right at home. Or save a few trees and send this invite as an evite!

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Table setting in a restaurant at a tropical party

Go with lots of tropical decor

The key to a successful tiki party is all in the ambiance. Guests should feel like they’ve landed on a tropical island! Create the right vibe with a colorful table runner, monstera leaf trivets, grass-skirt tables and a couple of tiki torches. (Get yourself a 4-pack of torches here.) Decorate yourself, too. Silly Hawaiian shirts and tropical prints are a must!

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Beautiful floral Hawaiian Lei in the hands of a close-up woman

Lei everyone

As soon as guests enter, give them a flower lei to wear. You can buy faux flower leis in bulk—they don’t cost much but they have a big impact! Plus, these fun accessories can help even your most subdued guests get in the tiki mindset.

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Nutty Hawaiian Exps Tohdj21 89920 E08 05 5b 1
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Keep the drinks flowing

No tiki party is complete without a few tiki drinks. You can start off with a classic mai tai, or try something new and whip up a delish Nutty Hawaiian. This guava coconut rum cocktail is another fun recipe to try. Whichever cocktail you go with, serve it in ones of these bamboo cocktail glasses with a biodegradable bamboo-printed straw and lots of garnishes. Don’t forget to protect your table with these adorable summer fern costers.

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Set up a snack table

In our opinion, a party is only as good as its food. Pique appetites with some yummy island-inspired snacks like this gorgeous pineapple salsa. Take the chips-and-dip combo to the next level by serving the salsa with some lime tortilla chips instead of plain ones. Then, fill out the rest of your snack table with some Hawaiian eggrolls, easy coconut shrimp and a loaf of cheesy Hawaiian bread.

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Serve up some island mains

For a crowd-pleasing meal, serve this luau-worthy Kalua pork. This delicious recipe is hands-off thanks to the slow cooker and goes great with some Hawaiian fried rice and cabbage. Cilantro lime shrimp and Huli Huli chicken are also great choices that’ll likely be gobbled up before you can get them off the grill. For more tropical ideas, check out these authentic Hawaiian and local-Hawaiian foods.

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Don’t skip the sweet treats

Be sure to set out some desserts, like this light and fluffy tropical coconut pie. If coconut isn’t your favorite, no problem. Pineapple-kiwi pops, a lime cheesecake or any of these other tropical desserts will keep to your theme just as well.

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Hula Dance Your Way To Happiness

Get dancin’

For entertainment, what’s better than hitting the dance floor? Just queue a tiki-themed playlist and sway the night away. You can even learn some traditional hula moves for an authentic touch.

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Shot of two kids doing the limbo at an outdoor festival
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Entertain the kids

If you have kiddos attending your party, be sure to keep them entertained. Let them have fun with a limbo stick and a few other activities, too. These printable coloring sheets are filled with cool tropical images. Download and print as many as you want, then spread them on the kids’ table with some markers and crayons.

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Paper Umbrella Garland Tohdj21 Pu4552 E08 05 10b
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Set up a photo booth

Make this party one to remember with a fun photo booth. To make the adorable cocktail umbrella garland pictured above, simply cut some fishing line roughly the length of your wall. With a glue gun, affix a cocktail umbrella to the fishing line by the cardboard knob on top and continue adding umbrellas to the line, gluing so that they lie in varying directions (spaced about 8 inches apart). Repeat these steps as many times as needed for your desired number of garlands and hang them with clear tape. Voila! The perfect photo backdrop.

Have guests snap pictures with fun props like these from Etsy and encourage tech-savvy pals to use a party hashtag so everyone can share in the fun after the sun has set on this party.

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Pineapple Favor Box printable

Send them off with a pineapple

At the end of the night, send your guests home with a fun favor. These print-at-home pineapple boxes are perfect for packing up a small treat for friends to take home. Fill them up with simple sweets like mango marshmallows or coconut candies.

Erica Young
Erica is a cleaning and home décor expert. She knows exactly how to tidy a filthy kitchen and straighten out a mixed-up pantry! When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, buying more bins she doesn't need or bingeing her latest TV show obsession.