Idea No.

9281

Back to School Luau -13yr- Discount Décor

Award

Date

August 2004

From

Hattermann in Valdosta, GA

Special Mention

Teen Tropical Luau Party

Luau Back To School (or birthday) Party  Our daughter, Elizabeth, and a very close friend turned 13 over summer vacation.  In order to rekindle friendships and include everyone, they opted to celebrate by having their boy/girl luau in our backyard at the end of the first week of school. 

The two planned the party during the summer when they had time.  They enjoyed surfing the web for images (pictures) and ideas that were appropriate to use in order for them to create their own "unique" invitation which included a very colorful "ALOHA" with flowers (Hybiscus). 

Within the invitation, they included the traditional, who, what, when, where, and why with a R.S.V.P. and  "No presents necessary" note at the end of the invitation. In the invitation, they also wrote that Hawaiian type colors and prints would be fun to wear.  As parents, we wanted the girls to have fun but keep the party low budget and fun for the teenagers without running into the materialistic nonsense that so many parents fall trap to.  With this in mind, we went to work. 

A few weeks before the party, we started scanning the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores for any tropical ideas.  Much to our surprise, we discovered leis (still in original packages), Hawaiian girl lights and packaged dancing hula girl napkins.  We snatched them up for a total of $10.00. 

Next, we researched luau  parties on the internet and then recreated the sceens for the night by painting back drops of Hybiscus flowers on vines, flamingos (taping tomatoe sticks on the body for feet), the words LUAU and ALOHA, and the sun.

Other decorations included low-cost grass skirts that were made from paper, flowers for the hair that were picked up at a dollar store and then cut into individual blossoms, and any colorful or tropical bowls, trays, and fake fruit that we already had at the house.  We purchased 6 Mylar balloons with the tropical theme and strategically placed them around the back yard dance area.  Each balloon was tied to a piece of artificial fruit for the anchor.  We used our card tables, lawn table, and chairs.  The tables were used to hold the food and chairs were set in a large circle for the kids to be able to talk and have fun (13 year old's still enjoy being together in a big group).  To make the evening extra special, we used Tiki torches (the kind you can purchase for a little of nothing).  No purchase was necessary for these because we already had 6 of our own and we borrowed 12 from a friend.      

The teenagers love music at parties, so we recruited our 17 year old and a few friends as the DJ/chaperones for the night.  They played Luau music, plus a mix of popular teen music and Beach Boy Hits.    We didn't know just how much "organized" fun the kids really wanted, so we provided a tug-of-war rope (made from three old jump ropes tied together), a few beach balls, a football, and a luau stick (made from an old 5' PCV Pipe) that the girls decorated with colorful crepe paper that was left over from a previous party.   Before the party started, dorito chips and salsa, pretzels, and trail mix (all purchased wholesale) were placed on the tables.

As the time drew near, we lit the torches and taped a huge LUAU PARTY sign onto a big tree in the front yard so that parents could easily find our house.  The party goers were met by us, the parents, this was a good idea because we got to meet some parents that were dropping off there kids.  As the kids entered, they were given a colorful fusche or orange blossom that had a bobby pin attached to be put in their hair and then directed to the back patio for the birthday girls to put the leies on each guest.  As the music was being played, the kids were offered fruit punch and then encouraged to create tattoos at the tattoo table by drawing tattoes on themseves and their friends using washable markers.  If some didn't know what to draw, examples on a piece of paper were provided on the table.  For those that weren't feeling artsie, rub-on tattoos were also available (I had picked them up at the dollar store).  

As parents, Dennis and I didn't know just what kind of chaperoning would be appropriate so we decided to observed from a distance unless we felt the kids were starting to get bored, wonder off from the others, etc.  Throughout the evening, we made very brief appearances as they brought out bowls of canteloupe, watermelon, strawberries, and grapes.  The melons were cut crossway  and scooped out (rinds were cut in a zig-zag and the fruit had been placed back inside). The girls had told me earlier that they didn't think that fruit salad idea was a good one and that pieces of fruit would be popular with everyone.  They were right!   

Later in the evening, the kids had pizzas that were purchased whoesale, heated and served in the shape of rectangles instead of the traditional triangles.  This worked out well because it was easy for the kids to pick up and they pieces were smaller and not so awkward. 

Toward the end of the party, we served a cookie cake that was made from premade cookie dough.  I decorated it using premade frosting that had writing tips.  Since we noticied that the kids hadn't really played Limbo or Tug-of-War and that the party was close to be over, we suggested for a good old boys versus girls game be played.  We assigned anyone that didn't want to play to hold the stick or be the one to say go and call the winning team. 

This worked out well because the kids had such a good time playing, they didn't notice their parents walking into the party to "sneek a peek" before they took their child home. In addition, the parents got a chance to bond for a few minutes with other parents about the new school year, new teachers, the school schedule, etc.  The kids were less intimated with adults being around and everyone had a chance to have a great time.

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