Say Aloha to a Birthday Luau

By: Michelle Normand

Aloha.

My daughter Maggie (age 6) wanted to get in on the current luau craze by having a hula girl birthday party. The fact that her birthday is in late November made me hesitate but I love a good birthday party challenge so we went for it anyway. Follow the steps below and you can have a hip-Hawaiian-bash any time of the year.

Step 1: Activities

We started by planning a craft; hula skirts. Armed with a about $20 and an idea we went to the craft store to find streamers, flowers, and ribbon. The ribbon was cut into strips long enough to fit around a child's waist (with room to tie). Next, we took 1 roll of green and 1 roll of yellow crepe streamers and cut them into 2 ft strips.

When the kids arrived they simply grabbed some streamer strips and taped them to a piece of ribbon. Next they took a few small faux flowers and used double sided tape to stick them to the ribbon as well. Viola, a grass skirt is born.

Step 2: Games

Rummaging through our CDs we were able to put together a mix of upbeat tropical tunes. If you want to save time there are plenty of Luau CDs for sale at party stores and on the internet. I was trying to stick to a tight budget so we used our own music and the CD burner on my computer. This music mix became the base for most of our party games.

My daughter was in charge of the limbo stick. She decorated a piece of PVC pipe from the hardware store using stickers and more streamers. My 4 year old got involved as well and it really turned out great!

Once the craft was completed we turned on the tropical tunes and had a game of Freeze Hula Dance. That was followed by several rounds of Limbo. The kids enjoyed this so much we almost ran out of prizes. Then we put the music back on and had hula hoop contests. My goal: keep them moving!

Step 3: Food, Glorious Food

Is there anything more satisfying than turning off the lights and watching all those little eyes sparkle as they stare at the birthday cake? I know the cake was a deal-breaker when I was a kid so the pressure was on to come with something great.

My idea was to adapt the classic doll cake and make her into a Hawaiian beauty. I didn't want to purchase a special doll-cake mold so I used a 2 quart Pyrex bowl instead. A bundt pan would be another possibility. I used a doll pick (upper body only) from a craft store for my hula girl; much easier than trying to shove Barbie's legs into a cake or even worse...amputate them.
The next step was to decorate the cake with green frosting and drag a fork down the frosting to make it look like a wavy grass skirt. Flower shaped candies were placed around the waistline and a small silk flower was pinned to the doll's hair. I made a delicious bikini top out of fruit leather and then sprinkled crushed graham crackers onto the platter to look like sand.

Mission accomplished. My daughter's party was a huge success and we didn't break the bank to do it. Everyone had a blast and the cake was definitely the highlight of the whole event. In the end I think you have as much fun getting ready for the party as you have during the party!

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