When having a party a lot of expenses can be cut by using homemade decorations. A luau is a feast of tropical proportions and celebrates the sun, the beach and life itself. It is a happy party and we are going to make decorations that reflect that feeling of being in the sun and island. We are going to decorate as if we have a swimming pool, but will give you an option if you don't.
Making the Flowers
There must be flowers everywhere. Go to the nearest thrift store or dollar store and get all the flowers you will need to make leis and to decorate. For the leis, take apart the big flowers and string them together with a needle and thread making a lei. Using different colors and types. You can also use vines for leis for the men if you want. Make bunches of flowers and greenery wherever you can. If you have bushes around your pool put bunches of flowers in them. Any potted plants or palms that you may have bring them around and concentrate them in the specific area you are having the gala. The more colorful flowers the better.
Candles, candles, and more candles. Float candles in the pool in glass containers made for that. Sit them out all around the area being careful not to put them near anything flammable. Arrange them on table tops with sand, seashells and colorful glass marbles or stones to reflect the light. Put luminaries around the pathway leading out to the party. Tiki torches are a must and can be had for a few dollars. If you don't want them lit you don't have to, just having them up is the thing.
Using planks of wood maybe 12 by 6 or so that have been beaten up and looks a bit like drift wood. Support it on 3 cinder blocks on either side and set the cups and drinks out. Big tubs of ice should be sat around with other drinks in them or near the drink station. Decorate the station with tropical fruits in big platters. Pineapples, guava, mangoes. This will suffice for a bar.
Instead of a Pool
If you don't have a pool, center your seating area around a children's wading pool. Make it covered around the edges with sand and sea shells. Decorate it with floating candles and flowers. If you can find one, get a cheap fountain that is battery-powered to go in the middle. Make sure you have it where no one will trip on it coming into the party.
A luau is about fun. Have fun with games, and songs and flowers. Pull out all the stops and use old straw hats decorated with flowers. Get yards of flower fabric to make mu mu's. Use plastic table table skirt,green if possible, and cut it in fringes. You can cut to fit around the waist and have hula skirts. Close together with a safety pin. And have fun.