How to have a retro Hawaiian luau party

How to have a retro Hawaiian luau party (2)

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Have a luau! Here’s how to put on a real Hawaiian party (1961)

by Anne Mohr – Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa) July 23, 1961

Why not go native at your next party with a Hawaiian luau? It’s now officially as American as a New England clambake.

Complete with all the trimmings — roast pig, tropical fruit salads, a Hawaiian punch, watermelon and a strictly native decor — a luau makes for informal, offbeat summertime fun. It lends itself to a unique backyard barbecue or a fun-on-the-beach party.

Originally a traditional Hawaiian feast held on occasions such as the first birthday of a child or a wedding, the feast gets its name from the taro leaf.

A luau is literally a taro leaf, but in island parlance, it has come to signify a native feast. The taro leaf is used to wrap much of the food in the Hawaiian feast.

Vintage Tupperware plastic containers from the 1960s (7)

Today, luaus have spread throughout the states, and blend ideally into America’s pattern of casual, outdoor entertaining.

The center of any luau feast is the roast pig. The uniqueness of roasting the pig yourself makes for much of the fun of the party and usually turns it into an all day affair.

A 75-pound pig takes about 10 hours to roast, and should be done over a large barbecue or pit. However, pigs can be purchased especially prepared for luaus by commercial establishments and can also be pre-baked…

The rest of the menu can be varied, but should include tropical fruit salad with plenty of fresh pineapple, naturally, a Hawaiian or fruit punch, and watermelon, along with potato chips and dip.

Keep the scene tropical with an informal and colorful atmosphere that blends with the luau spirit. You can decorate your patio with colored lights and streamers, with accents of fresh flowers. Music will do much to keep the mood of the party, if you don’t have a friend who plays the ukelele or guitar, stack the record player with island music.

Hawaii - 1958

Keep service to a minimum by serving cafeteria-style from a table that can be decorated with a green cloth or paper tablecloth. Use colored paper plates, cups and napkins.

For a table centerpiece, fill a horn of plenty or a native hat (which can be purchased at a novelty or drug store) with coconuts, bananas, melons, pineapples and other fresh fruits, and dot with fern or palm leaves if possible.

Eat at low tables and sit on the ground. Make sure your guests come native too — with beachcombers, clam diggers, Bermudas, shorts, muumuus or “aloha” shirts, the costume of the day.

Leis are a must for your guests. You can make paper leis or use floral leis. The gift of a lei expresses joy, welcome or farewell, and when placed around the neck of a guest or friend, is customarily rewarded with a kiss on each cheek. Fresh leis from Hawaii can be obtained by local florists…

Hawaiian-style luau treats with fresh fruit and nuts

See more Hawaiian luau party tips and menu ideas from the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s

Hawaiian luau menu ideas from 1970

Say aloha to ho-hum parties… plan a luau! And when you’re making your plans, turn to Kraft. You can rely on Kraft’s good food ideas for an unusual and exciting menu.

1970 Hawaiian luau food


1/2 cup Kraft Barbecue Sauce
1-1/2 lbs. large shrimp, cooked
1/4 cup Kraft Pure Apple Jelly
Pitted ripe olives
Fresh pineapple chunks

Gather ’round and whet your appetite on these tasty, zesty morsels. Combine Kraft Barbecue Sauce (simmers in real cookout flavor) and jelly; heat, stirring until well blended. Add shrimp; mix lightly. Cool; marinate overnight in refrigerator.

To serve, arrange shrimp, olives and pineapple on wooden picks. Makes approximately 3 dozen appetizers.


1 cup (8-1/2-oz. can) bamboo shoots, drained, sliced
3 hard-cooked eggs, cut in wedges
3/4 cup Kraft Oil and vinegar Dressing
2 cups (1-1b. can) bean sprouts, drained
4 cups (1/2 lb.) fresh spinach
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1 cup Kraft Mayonnaise

This salad tastes so special, you won’t want to wait for your next luau to serve it again. Combine bamboo shoots and 1/4 cup dressing; marinate several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Tear spinach in bite-size pieces into shallow salad bowl. Arrange bamboo shoots, eggs, bean sprouts and radishes on top. Chill. Combine Kraft Mayonnaise (smooth as velvet) and remaining dressing; mix until well blended. Serve with salad. 8 servings.


One 1-1/2-lb. ham slice, 1-inch thick
2 tablespoons Parkay Margarine
1 1-1b. jar Fresh-Chilled Valencia Orange Sections
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped candied ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 medium sweet potatoes cooked, peeled

Now serve up this magnificent ham, Hawaiian style. Score fat; brown meat in margarine on both sides. Drain Fresh-Chilled- Valencia Orange Sections; reserve juice. Combine juice, honey, onion, ginger, curry powder and cornstarch; mix well.

Pour over ham steak. Cover; simmer 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Add orange sections and sweet potatoes, cut in 1-inch slices; heat thoroughly. 6 servings.

1970 Hawaiian luau food recipes


1 10-oz. jar Kraft Pure Concord Grape Jelly
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 28-oz. bottle ginger ale
1 pint lime sherbet

Drink a fruit punch toast to your island evening. Combine jelly and lemon juice; mix until smooth and well blended. Stir in ginger ale. Serve in punch cups or glasses; top each with scoop of sherbet. 8 to 10 servings.

21 old-fashioned fruit punch recipes (1969)


4 cups Kraft Miniature Marshmallows
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
4 eggs, separated
Green food coloring
1 teaspoon lime rind
1/4 cup sugar
Coconut Crust

Here’s a pie with the real sunshine flavor of the islands. Melt Kraft Miniature Marshmallows (jet-puffed to stay soft) with lime juice in double boiler; stir until smooth. Beat in egg yolks; cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add few drops food coloring and lime rind; mix well. Chill.

Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold into lime mixture; spoon into Coconut Crust. Chill. Garnish with fresh lime slices and mint, if desired.

Coconut Crust: Combine 2 cups flaked coconut and 14 cup melted Parkay Margarine. Press into 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 300°, 25 to 30 minutes, or until evenly browned.

Thristy? Try this tropic refresher!

Pineapple juice tropic refresher drink from 1950

New mealtime delights with pinapple

Libby’s freshest-tasting pineapple ever – from our own plantations in Hawaii

1952 recipes with pineapple

Art Linkletter invites you to… Dole Hawaiian house party

Dole Hawaiian house party recipes from 1956

Lime jello plus pineapple rings in a tube

Fresh fruit taste is the difference in Dole of Hawaii

Pineapple jello can

Vintage jelly roll salad – made with gelatin & pineapple in a can (1961)

If the above treat made with pineapple rings wasn’t quite right, how about a version with marshmallows?

Vintage jelly roll salad - made with gelatin & pineapple in a can (1961)

Swingin’ Diamond Head Sandwich – Fun Fare for the “Go Group!”

Swingin Diamond Head sandwich recipe - Luau party from the 1960s

Come to the Dole Hawaiian Harvest at your grocer’s

Dole Hawaiian harvest - pineapple recipes from 1955

Some enchanted eating – Chicken Wakiki

Hawaiian-style pineapple mayo recipes from 1958

For your party: Hawaiian chicken & luau coleslaw recipes

1964 Mazola Hawaiian Chicken and Luau Coleslaw-001

Luau table is the children’s party version of traditional Hawaii outdoor feast.

How to have a retro Hawaiian luau party (1)

For fruit… tantalizing Hawaiian dressing!

Cool summer recipes from 1955 - For fruit tantalizing Hawaiian Dressing

Luau party table setting

Luau table is a children’s party version of a traditional Hawaiian outdoor feast. Seated cross-legged on cushions (pin-covered in bright plastic) at low-table (3/4″ plywood 3′ x 6′ on 10″ legs), children have before then an eye-catching array of party favors: Japanese parasols, tops, yo-yos, fans, and, also to take home, their own sweetmeat tree.

Stylized fish table mats are cut from Pellon, table covering is a paper imitation of a Hawaiian stained tapa bark. Over all hangs a cluster of bright Japanese lanterns.

childrens party hawaiian ti

Spectacular pie!

A surprising new way to combine pineapple, gelatin and cream cheese into the easiest fancy dessert you’ll ever make!

Easy vintage Dole pineapple pie recipe

Tropical mold recipe

It’s a whimsical mountain, Mt. Pineapple Cream.

1967 Jello pineapple cream recipe - tropical

Show-off cake in 15 minutes with Libby’s Pineapple and Angel Food

1956 Pineapple angel food cake

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