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How to Throw a Tiki Party in Your Backyard

Take your guests on a tropical vacation right in your own backyard! Here are 10 tips on throwing an exotic and unforgettable soiree.

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Friends party drinks healthy gatheringRawpixel.com/Shutterstock

When it comes to summer 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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Tropical party invitationPrettyLittleInvite via Etsy

Start with the perfect invitations


The invitations let your guests know what they can expect from your party. Set them up for a good time with ultra festive invites. This fun template is customizable, and you can print as many as you need right at home.

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Table setting in a restaurant at a tropical partyShutterstock / Lemusique

Don’t hold back on 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 colorful garlands, outdoor string lights, grass-skirt tables and, most importantly, tiki torches. (Get yourself a 4-pack of torches here.) And don’t forget to decorate yourself, either. Silly Hawaiian shirts and tropical prints are a must!

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Beautiful floral Hawaiian Lei in the hands of a close-up womanShutterstock / kosmos111

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.

Get a party pack of leis for less than $15 right here.

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Refreshing Cold Tiki Drink Cocktails with Pineapple Cherry Orange GarnishesShutterstock / Brent Hofacker

Keep the drinks flowing


No tiki party is complete without a few tiki drinks. Start with the classic mai tai, a mix of sweet, sour and, of course, a good dose of rum. This guava coconut rum cocktail is another fun recipe to try. Don’t forget to garnish these tropical drinks with a slice of pineapple, a few cherries and a cocktail umbrella!

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Cilantro lime shrimpTaste of Home

Serve up some island bites


A party is only as good as its food. Pique appetites with some yummy island-inspired snacks. Cilantro lime shrimp will be gobbled up almost before you can get them off the grill. For a crowd-pleasing dip with an exotic twist, serve tropical guacamole. This delicious recipe features fresh pineapple and a squeeze of zesty lime.

For more tropical ideas, check out these 77 recipes.

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Friends Dancing Limbo at BeachWilliam Perugini/Shutterstock

Get dancin’


For entertainment, what’s better than shaking your booty on the dance floor? Your guests will love a classic limbo contest set to some Caribbean-flavored tunes. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, hire a fire dancer to put on a show. You can easily find local performers here.

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4 printable coloring sheetsElettraArt via Etsy

Entertain the kids


If you have kiddos attending your party, be sure to keep them entertained. Let them have a turn with the limbo stick, but have 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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Flamingo Photo Propssupersweetparty via Etsy

Set up a tropical photo booth

Make this party one to remember with a fun photo booth. Hang a grass curtain or photo backdrop against a wall and have guests snap pictures with fun props like these from Etsy. 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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FROZEN PINEAPPLE-KIWI POPSTaste of Home

Don’t forget the sweet treats


Before the party is over, be sure to set out some desserts. Everyone has a sweet tooth at the end of the evening. Keep to your tropical theme with some fruity or island-inspired recipes. We’ve got 50 recipe ideas to get you started.

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Pineapple Favor Box printablePressPrintParty via Etsy

Send them off with a pineapple


When you’ve had enough of limbo-ing, 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 treats like chocolate-covered macadamia nuts or coconut candies.

Erica Young
Erica is a freelance lifestyle writer with a bachelor's degree in Journalism. Her favorite recipes are quick, easy and something her kids will actually eat. When she's not writing you'll find her organizing a closet, roaming the aisles at Target or nursing her third Diet Coke of the day.

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