Beat the Winter Blues with some Tiki Time
Winter weather got you and your friends down? Boost everyone’s spirits with a little reminder of summer…break out those flip-flops, sunglasses, and grass skirts and throw a Tiki party! With an easy mix of retro chic/kitschy decorations, rum-based cocktails, and delicious Asian-fusion food you can transport yourself and your guests to a warmer, happier place. (It’ll be all the more fun if it’s snowing out!)
Your Party Plan
Tiki culture and parties were born out of Polynesian themed restaurants popularized in the 1930’s, like Trader Vic’s and Don the Beachcomber. They created a unique paradise-like atmosphere of island culture far from home for their guests. It’s easy to do the same this winter in your home for your friends!
Crank the Heat
No matter what frigid things the weather’s doing outside, the weather inside should be warm and sunny. Ask guests to wear their beachy best. Most men love any excuse to wear a pair of shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, and ladies have lots of options including, sarongs, sundresses, and floral skirts. Plan to pick up some inexpensive grass skirts, leis, and sunglasses too.
Polynesian up your Pad
- Just about anything tropical, nautical, and summery works! Some easy ideas include fresh or silk flowers; pineapples and coconuts piled on tables; and banana leaves to line platters. Add accents like fishnets and fishing poles, rattan, and bamboo
- If you have them, place surf boards and boogie boards around the party space. Bonus points if you happen to have a ukulele!
- Hang strings of lantern lights (or really any party lights will do) the more the merrier here.
- Seek out tropical or Tiki themed paper plates, cups, and napkins at your local party store as well as brightly colored floral tablecloths.
Tip: Don’t forget the mini umbrellas and bendy straws!
Gotta Have Tikis
Tiki decorations are inspired by ancient Hawaiian wood carvings that were used as idols with different meanings (i.e., fertility, war, or peace). Draw or paint your own ancient idols on cardboard or heavy-duty construction paper. Hang them on the wall, string them together to make banners, or loop them around speakers to pipe music from. Make easy Tiki lanterns using brown paper bags with battery-powered candles flickering inside.
Set Up a Tiki Bar
Trust us, it’ll knock everyone’s flip flops off, and it’s super-easy to recreate quickly on a budget. Cut some grass skirts in half to hang from the ceiling above a bar or table. Add in some strings of lights or flower garlands. Cover the tabletop with a tropical print, and surround the table base with bamboo fencing or rattan found at a home improvement store. Done!
On The Menu?
Go for Asian-fusion food with sweet and spicy flavors. Think small bites like coconut chicken or shrimp, potstickers, bbq spareribs, or our recipe for Crispy Wontons with Dipping Sauce or Mini Crabcakes with Spicy Aioli. More substantial fare could include fish tacos or our recipe for Pulled Pork Tacos with Mango Salsa.
Rum-based cocktails, like Trader Vic’s original Mai Tai are a must and sure to get the party started right! Mix up a batch in a punchbowl, or break out that blender to make frosty frozen drinks. Offer summery beers tucked into ice filled beach buckets or coolers. Sweet treats to eat can include mini cupcakes or cookies decorated with shredded coconut or skewers of tropical fruit. Want to go all out? Go for a volcano cake!
Let the Fun Begin!
Greet guests with a big Aloha, grass skirts, and leis at the door. Crank some funky surf or Tiki music –there are great mixes available online (check out Drew’s Famous Tiki Bar Party Music or Vegas Vic’s Tiki Lounge for inspiration). To keep the theme going, play a classic island movie like Elvis in Blue Hawaii. (Any surf or island movie will work: Go for Jaws if you’re into a little party sarcasm!)
If kids will be at the party, keep little hands busy with easy crafts like creating their own paper Tiki masks, making tissue paper flowers, or stringing silk flowers into leis.
To take things up a notch or two?
Host a Hula Dance-Off: Either vote or let the loudness of the cheers (or laughter!) determine the winner
Sunniest Costume Contest: Anything goes here
Limbo… How low can ya go? Use a bamboo pole to test guests’ flexibility
Tip: Keep your camera ready for this one! Lots of excellent photo opps.
There’s nothing like a Tiki party to make people happy…especially as a fun surprise in the dead of winter!
What’s your favorite Umbrella Drink?