What could be better than a colourful Hawaiian Luau to entertain your friends and family this summer. Traditionally, Hawaiian luau costumes are based on two of the Polyonesian island gods and fortunately for partygoers, one was male, Kamapua’a and the other female, Pele – such as life has ever been!
Luaus are colourful and fun parties and the costumes would naturally reflect this; here are some tips on creating your own Hawaiian Luau costume;
The staple costume for a traditional luau is a grass skirt and these are not exclusively for women and it is quite usual for men to wear a grass skirt. Raffia is the most commonly used material for a grass skirt but increasingly paper is being used as it holds the bright coloured dyes better. Choosing a brightly coloured skit does however tend to dictate the colour of your Hawaiian leis and headband the natural raffia solution offers a plain canvas.
For men, Kampapua’a is usually depicted wearing palm leaf amulets and a crown of leaves. A tus is commly worn together with the traditional Hawaiian leis to represent the fact that Kampapua’s could transporm himself into the body of a pig and this is the derivation of the pig being symbol of the luau. If the thought of wearing a grass skirt is sending shivers down your spine, opt for a long palm leaf skirt – shorter versions are also available for women.
The goddess Pele is usually depicted wearing a crown of flowers along with her grass skirt or sarong. For your costume, consider wearing either a coconut shell or sea shell bikini top although you may wish to add some lining and dress fastening tape to avoid accidents!
All traditional Hawaiian leis, floral crown headdresses, wristbands and anklets are typically based on the native tropical blooms including hibiscus, orchid and bougainvillea flowers all beautifully coloured. These colours are carried through an entire range of co-ordinated floral costume accessories. These same blooms are also now more commonly available in decorative swags and as table centres making great luau buffet table and bar decorations.
The ultimate Hawaiian God costume will require a Tiki Mask. Made from either wood or plastic these perculiar looking masks when adopted in conjunction with a grass or palm leaf Hawaiian skirt create a classic look for the god of the luau. As with all masks, a degree of care and responsibility will be required as any mask will restrict vision.
For those not wanting to wear traditional luau costume, most online costume retailers have a selection of general beach wear, surfing wear, colourfully printed sarongs or mermaid costumes.
Alternatively dress as a Hawaiian tourist in a beach shirt complete with Hawaiian leis and video camera. And for the more zany party-goer (well that’s all of us then) there are any number of humorous costumes are available including Man Eating Sharks, Pigs, Padded Pineapples, Big Kahunas, Luau Larry and Aloha Gorillas and more.