Luau Time

Bring island flair to your own backyard

The next time you host a cookout, transport your guests to a tropical paradise by creating a veg version of a Hawaiian luau. Luaus are usually huge outdoor buffets held to celebrate significant events, such as weddings, graduations, and special birthdays, and the festive fare makes great, easy-to-prepare party food. So light some tiki torches, download some slack-key guitar music, and invite guests to celebrate summer, Hawaiian-style.

Set the Scene

MUSIC Play Hawaiian slack-key guitar artists such as Makana, or favorites such as Israel "Iz" Ka'ano'i Kamakawiwo'ole ("Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World").

LIGHTING AND FLOWERS Decorate with tiki torches and tropical flowers, such as birds of paradise, protea, orchids, and hibiscus.

TABLE SETTINGS Top with banana or ti leaves, use grass skirts for table skirts, and set places with bamboo mats and utensils.

PARTY FAVORS Seek out leis, hibiscus flowers for hair, grass skirts, Hawaiian print shirts (shop for them in thrift stores), and fresh coconuts for drinking the water from the shell.