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What to Play

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What to Play

Luau Party Games
Luau Music

Luau Party Games

Thereʼs more to a luau than just good food and music. As a host, one of the things you worry about is whether your guests are having a good time – and if theyʼll leave right after getting their fill of mai tais and chicken long rice. To keep everyone entertained, try adding some serious fun into the mix with unique games and activities. From traditional Hawaiian games to popular games with a Hawaiian twist, itʼs a great way to break the ice and get the party started.

PASS THE COCONUT
Like the popular game of “hot potato,” but using a coconut, have everyone sit in a circle. Play Hawaiian music or strum an ukulele while participants pass a coconut around. Stop the music and whoever is holding the coconut is “out.” Continue until there is one person left.

ʻULU MAIKA
Similar to lawn bowling, ʻulu maika is a traditional ancient Hawaiian game that requires concentration and coordination. Place two wooden or metal stakes in the ground, 6 inches apart and about 15 feet away from where the players are standing. The goal is to roll your stone smoothly between the two stakes.

KONANE
The Hawaiian version of checkers, Konane requires two players to play. Using a wooden board (or cardboard) with 64 impressions, fill each impression with alternating black and white stones. Opponents take turns jumping over each otherʼs pieces – up, down, left or right – and removing them from the board. The person with the last jump is the winner.

HULA HOOP ʻTIL YOU DROP
Line everyone up and see who can go the longest or do the most hoops in a timed contest. For an even more challenging competition, double or triple up hula-hoops on the final two participants.

HAWAIIAN PICTIONARY
Make a list of Hawaiian places or things and write each one down on a sheet of paper, then mix them in a hat or bag. Each team assigns an artist who pulls a sheet out and draws clues for their team members to guess. They have two minutes to guess correctly or the opposing team has a chance to steal. Play up to 10 points.

HAWAIIAN LIMBO
How low can your guests go? Using a broom or any long stick, have two people on opposite ends hold the stick up at various heights, starting from high and ending with low. Play your favorite Hawaiian music while participants try their luck at this back-bending classic.

KUMU HULA SAYS…
Similar to “Simon Says,” pick someone to be the Kumu Hula, or hula teacher, to play the caller. They must say “Kumu Hula says…” followed by a hula move and directions. If they give directions without saying “Kumu Hula” says, anyone who does the move is eliminated. Play this until only one person is left and crowned the winner.

• Huli: rotate while swaying hips
• Hela: point right foot forward and sway to the left, then point left foot forward, and sway to the right
• Haʻa: stand with knees bent
• Ami: rotate hips counterclockwise without moving shoulders
• Imua: go forward
• Iluna: go up
• Ilalo: go down
• Ihope: go back
• Kaholo: two steps to the left, two steps to the right
• Lava: stop

PINEAPPLE BOWLING
Set up five to ten pineapples “pins” about 15 – 20 feet away from each team. Take turns trying to knock down the most pineapples by using coconuts as bowling balls.

ALOHA BINGO
Customize bingo cards with luau or beach-themed stickers, clip art or words. Use seashells to mark your card as each item is called out. The first person to get Bingo must yell “ALOHA!”.

ALL THE POI YOU CAN EAT
Place a small bowl of poi in front of each participant. With two minutes on the clock, they must eat as much as they can – without using their hands or utensils. To make it kidfriendly, use tapioca, rice pudding or yogurt as substitute with purple food coloring.

HULA SKIRT RELAY
Each team gets a full hula outfit including a grass skirt, coconut top and lei. One by one, each member has to put on the full outfit, run to a checkpoint and back, then pass the outfit on to the next player in line. Alternatively, you can also use beach clothes for a beach theme.

SAND BUCKET TOSS
Using a sand shovel, dig ping pong balls out from the sand and toss them into a bucket 5 – 10 feet away. The person who fills their bucket up first is the winner.

BANANA CHIP POKER
Set up a few poker tables around the area. Instead of regular poker chips and cards, use island-themed cards for playing and banana chips for betting.

Luau Music

Come for the food. Stay for the music. When it comes to parties, everyone knows music plays a big role in setting the mood. Kick your luau off with live entertainment and professional hula dancers or take it down a notch with subtle Hawaiian melodies played on slack key guitar or ukulele. You could also put together a mix of your favorite island artists or stream live music from popular radio stations in Hawai’i. No matter whatʼs playing, just make sure the beat goes on. Here are a few traditional songs that we recommend for your luau party.

• Taumua Kuo Siumafua
• Bula Laie
• Luau Song
• Hukilau Song
• Pearly Shells
• He Hawaii au, au a ia
• Waikaloa
• Hawaiian War Chant
• Aloha Oe

Here are other recommended Hawaiian songs for your luau party:

CLASSIC

• Don Ho
• The Brothers Cazimero
• Kalapana
• Cecilio & Kapono
• Makaha Sons
• Gabby Pahinui
• Keola Beamer
• Jerry Santos
• Kapena
• Kaʻau Crater Boys
• Peter Moon Band

SLACK KEY
• Gabby Pahinui
• Danny Carvalho
• Makana
• Mike Kaʻawa
• Led Kaʻapana
• Dennis Kamakahi
• George Kahumoku
• Sonny Lim
• Jeff Peterson
• Aunty Genoa
• Daniel Ho

CONTEMPORARY
• Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole
• Na Leo Pilimehana
• Kealiʻi Reichel
• Hapa
• Amy Hanaialiʻi Gilliom
• Willie K
• Brother Noland
• Danny Couch
• Natural Vibrations

UKULELE

• Jake Shimabukuro
• Troy Fernandez
• Herb Ohta Jr.
• Kimo Hussey
• Derek Sebastian
• Ernie Cruz Jr.
• Brittni Paiva
• Bryan Tolentino
• Don Baduria

POPULAR
• Sean Naʻauao
• Jack Johnson
• Ekolu
• Fiji
• Justin
• Keahiwai
• Opihi Pickers
• Raiatea Helm
• Ten Feet
• Three Plus

OLDIES BUT GOODIES
• The Beach Boys – Surfinʼ USA
• Elvis – Blue Hawai’i
• The Surfaris – Wipeout
• Hawai’i Five-O – Theme Song
• Don Ho – Tiny Bubbles

The perfect enhancement to any tropical party is selecting a wide variety of luau music and the right luau music will take your luau party to a whole new level and add to the authenticity.

Hula and musical festivities have always been an integral aspect in the luau celebrations. In Old Hawai’i, before the introduction of Western mediums like the guitar or iconic ukulele, Hawaiian luau music consisted mostly of drums and other handmade instruments. A staple in most musical performances was the deep-voiced pahu drum, which got its dark resonance from its shark-skin drumhead. The ipu was a gourd-like drum often accompanying the pahu. The ipu differs from traditional drums because the player either uses a horizontal surface or the palm of their hand to create sound. Hula performers also took part in the musical process with several instruments that were incorporated into their dances. Several rattles were commonly used; the ‘uli’uli—a gourd filled with tiny beads or seeds, and adorned with brightly colored feathers—and the pu’ili—a bamboo rattle that dancers struck upon their shoulders or upon other pu’ili—are probably the most recognized. Dancers also took smooth stones between their fingers and used them in castanet-fashion to create an instrument called ‘ili ‘ili.

While many traditional types of Hawaiian music and the art of hula continue to perpetuate the local culture in the islands, modern Hawaiian luau music has grown into a wide variety of genres. Stringed instruments like the slack key guitar, ukulele, and bass have become popular in modern bands. Singers regularly incorporate English and Hawaiian into their songs, which cover topics from love to a deep appreciation of the land and Hawaiian traditions. The amalgamation of ancient and modern musical instruments and styles is a testament to the ever-evolving culture of the islands. You can find a number of hawaiian luau music cds online or you can create your own playlist of luau music.