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Party Planning - Theme Party Ideas - Tiki Island Party Ideas
Party Resource Guide
Presented by Event & Wedding Planners

 It's Tiki Time!

Tiki Entrance Each

Tiki Entrance Each

Luau Party Giant Decorating Kit Kit

Luau Party Giant Decorating Kit Kit

A Tiki-theme is the perfect summertime party. Fire up the grills & tiki torches. Mix up some, Mai Tais, Zombies, or Hurricanes. Enjoy the cool evening breeze under your Palapas hut & relax in the tiki tradition to some retro-cool Exotica music.

The key to pulling off a coordinated event: Evoke your theme throughout the affair. Whether that theme is as general as a season or a feeling, or as specific as a special flower, it should be the subtle thread that ties everything together. Your location, invitations, flowers, menu, cake, and favors should all cleverly reflect one common concept. Then, get as creative as you can! 

Orange Tableware Kiwi Tableware Caribbean Blue Tableware
Red Tableware Brown Tableware Sunshine Yellow
Bright Hot Pink Tableware Purple Tableware Raffia Table Skirting Each

Totally Tiki Personalized Banner 18

Totally Tiki Personalized Banners Each

Tiki Lounge Personalized Banner 30

Tiki Lounge Personalized Banners Each

The Golden Age of Tiki

The Golden Age of Tiki from 1953 to 1970, the time of the flourishing and maturing of Polynesian Pop. The Tiki style that became popular in the 1950s and 1960s was the result of a culmination of trends and events stretching back more than a century. The tiki trend began as GIs returned home after serving in the South Pacific Islands during World War II. The country was recovering from a war and looking to build a bright, new future.

To most Americans, Polynesia was a mysterious, exotic place - as portrayed in books and films including "Tales of the South Pacific" (1947), "Kon-Tiki" (1950) and later the musical "South Pacific." During the 1950s, families flocked to the suburbs and tiki-style patios became popular complete with tiki statues, bamboo fencing, tiki torches, coconuts strung on ropes, grass skirts, pupu platters, and fruity drinks in a rainbow of Technicolor hues and of course - tropical plants and palms.

The style spread to bars, restaurants, motels, bowling alleys and even miniature golf courses. The tiki trend peaked around 1959 with Hawaii's admission to the union, then lost momentum in the late 1960s and by the 1970s, the only folks who thought it was still cool to hang out at Trader Vic's were aging celebrities and tourists. Tiki is unabashedly a faux representation of Polynesian culture.

After a 30-year absence of Polynesian Pop, the drums are beating louder than ever. "Tiki decor has been getting more popular each year for the past five years - 2005 was the best year in 50 years, and 2006 is exceeding that". It is tiki time again!

Until recently, if you wanted a tiki motif you had to search yard sales, and thrift stores. These days however, tiki is all the rage. You can find "Polynesian Pop" everywhere - from specialty stores to online discounters. You can find everything from expensive imported tiki statues, custom carved signs, Palapas, thatches, bamboo poles, retro-Polynesian music to tacky tiki ware.

Developing your Tiki Theme


The motif is the visual representation of your theme, which is created by the use of objects or symbols. If you use the theme "Tiki" you may want to incorporate the use of  Bamboo, Tiki torches, and plenty of carved Tikis to represent this faux representation of Polynesian culture. These symbol may be repeated on your invitations, program, plates, or decorations. Sometimes the use of several different symbols will be used as components of the theme.

While many Tiki places decorate their establishments with Tiki statues, some use a World War Two-era wartime theme, decorating with aircraft & naval items too. For example, unlike the many neo-Tiki places sporting made-to-order decorations, the Bahooka an old-time Tiki joint, clearly looks as if it was decorated over many years, with artifacts culled from all over. There are navy battle lanterns strung up around the bar. However, there are also sufficient Tiki carvings, fishing nets, and more to satisfy even the most ardent Tiki buff. They also have a bunch of intimate booths, each with its own unique set of decorations and fish tanks.

Develop your Tiki motif by using a list of words or items related to the theme. Brainstorm a list to create your pool of ideas. This list is very important for generating ideas that can be applied to all areas of your event. Here are a few things we have used for Tiki themes.
  • Plenty of carved Tikis staring out from various nooks and crannies.
  • Bamboo (woven bamboo matting and bamboo poles, Bamboo Torch Candles,
    bamboo placemats, bamboo charger plates, bamboo wood chimes).
  • Bamboo Poles
  • Thatching - hand woven from fresh palm leafs
  • Palapas - authentic rustic tropical palm thatch structures
  • Raffia Table Skirting
  • Tiki torches everywhere
  • Tropical plants (banana trees, palms & ferns)
  • Tropical fruits and vegetables (coconuts, papaya, mangos, kiwi, limes, lemons & etc.)
  • Bizarre looking human sculptures   
  • Huge carved masks adorning walls.
  • Hammock-style Chairs
  • Hand-blown glass blowfish dangling from the ceiling.
  • Ceiling lamps crafted out of bamboo and tapa cloth.
  • Table tops made out of slices of bamboo sticks, which are then filled in with epoxy.
  • Assortment of stuffed puffer fish, fishing floats.
  • Puffer fish inside a bottle accented with sea shells, tiny starfish and seaweed.
  • Hand-made macramé chandeliers with sea shells.
  • Dim lighting
  • Tropical Wall Matting
  • Carved Shields and Masks  
  • Rattan
  • Reed Fencing
  • Tropical waterfalls
  • Ceremonial Paddles
  • War Clubs
  • Outrigger Canoes
  • and other Tropical and Polynesian Props and maritime artifacts.

Additionally, for our Tiki parties, we have rented cool stuff like: thatched huts, palapa bars, reed fence panels, spears and decorated skulls on poles, large tiki statues, animatronic Gorillas, life-sized fake crocodiles and outrigger canoes.


Decide on what atmosphere or mood you want to create. This is where you want to refer back to the list of words you brainstormed. Add words to the list that will portray your mood. Create a feel and a mood that is uniform throughout.


You'll want to select a color scheme that you will use throughout the theme. Two or three colors work well. Colors will make a big impact so be sure they are ones that will complement your tiki theme. For a tiki theme you might want to use a rainbow of Technicolor hues (blue, green, yellow, red, orange, fuchsia).


Incorporating texture will make things look and feel interesting. Using textures will amplify the atmosphere you are creating. For a tiki theme you could use bamboo, pearls, cottons & linen, beach sand and shells.


Again apply the theme, mood (to communicate the message....the emotions, the spirit of the event), color, texture to mesh your theme throughout your overall event.

Tiki Lighting:

Lighting is one of the important elements of any design. For tiki parties Bamboo & Seashell Torches can be used to line walkways and party areas. Accent tables with Tiki Tabletop Light Set/2.

Gobos can be used to project photo-realistic images (pictures, line drawings, logos) of just about anything onto walls, ceilings or a stage areas. Imagine parrots in flight illuminating the sky of your event room. Used alone, or in combination with other gobos, stunning results can be achieved. Contact your local lighting company for ideas.

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Accent your tables:

Remember the tops of the tables provide you with a very large surface area and covering them with a beautiful tablecloth is the easiest way to change the feel of a room.. It is also the most cost effective way to decorate. Ten tables covered with a themed, solid colored or specialty linen print for example will make a statement that no white tablecloth can make.

RAFFIA TABLE SKIRTS will add to the festive look for your party.

Setting your table with Tiki tableware (plates, cups, napkins, tablecovers & etc.) is one of the fastest ways to set the mood for your Tiki Island or Tiki Lounge Party. 

BAMBOO TORCH CANDLE 11.5" sits beautifully on your tables and make great centerpieces. Trimmed with colorful exotic flowers.

Place exotic flowers in unique containers to create beautiful centerpieces.

Add real fruits and vegetables to centerpieces for unusual accents.

Use candles for mood lighting and to accent a table.

For upscale parties, lighted centerpieces are very popular. A tall glass vase lighted from below with an LED light base. Fill vases with Orchids or lemons & limes floating in water.

Accent food trays & drinks with tropical picks, straws and cocktail umbrellas.

Light up your drinks in 11 OZ LED MARGARITA GLASS or use JEWEL TONE MARGARITA GLASS(20) for fruit cups, shrimp cocktail or an ice cream sundae.


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Tiki Music:

Exotica music is a form of tropical-jazz, pioneered in the 1950s to sound exotic, atmospheric, and occasionally savage, but still wonderfully listenable to a westerner's ear. Exotica is the perfect music to complement a tiki theme party. It ranges from mellow to quite-swinging, but always has an alluring sound. Martin Denny is often considered the father of Exotica. His music is atmospheric and lush with a blend of modern Jazz, and don't forget the bird calls! Martin Denny's rendition of 'Quiet Village' became a smash-hit and spawned the Exotica craze. Other exotica music might include: Arthur Lyman's haunting classic Yellow Bird and Don Tiki's loungy albums.

Tiki Entertainment:

Bring Vitality To Your Theme Concept

While decor still reigns supreme when invoking theme, an interactive element brings vitality to your theme concept.

Besides the tropical flowers, native plants and tiki torches to evoke your theme — bring in traditional native dancers to perform at your Tiki Event, combine with a hilarious audience participation segment where guests can interact and be part of the event, rather than just spectators.

Games & Activities 

This 18" TIKI PINATA is great for your Tiki party, use as a decoration or centerpiece, then as a game. Make sure to blindfold the participants.

It's Limbo Time! See "how low your guests can go"!

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Tiki Drinks:

Most bars you visit these days can't actually make you a true tropical cocktail. The modern recipes have been simplified for ease and cost to the point where they're no longer recognizable. Taste the complex, layered flavor of a true exotic cocktail and you'll never want to go back. Here you'll find some ideas on what to serve at your Tiki Party.

Make sure you use fresh lime.

Some of the Top Tiki Drinks include: Mai Tai, Zombie, Hurricane, Fog Cutter, The Navy Grog, Demerara Dry Float, & 151 Swizzle. I'd say that this pretty much sums up the top Tikis. I'd maybe add Blue Hawaii or Blue Hawaiian (different drinks), which aren't usually such a good drink, but are sort of mandatory for a Tiki theme for the color and novelty factor.

Although Pina Coladas, Daiquiris, Mojitos, and Margaritas are four kinds of drinks that sometimes get lumped in with Tiki, they are really more associated with the Caribbean or Central/South America.

Tiki Torch

Juice of 1/2 lime
1oz Light Rum
1oz Dark Rum
8 mint leaves
1 1/2 tsp simple sugar
2oz Orange Juice

Add lime juice, Rum, mint leaves and muddle (crush with spoon or small baseball bat). Add sugar and a little ice. Shake and pour over crushed ice topping with Orange Juice). Garnish with flaming lime shell over an orange slice covering the top of the mug. Straw stuck through the orange slice.

Reverb Crash

4 Oz Grapefruit Juice
1.5 Oz Passion Fruit Syrup
.75 Oz Fresh Lime Juice
.75 Spoon (Not Oz!!) Orgeat Syrup*
1 Oz Light Rum (Cuban or Virgin Island)
1 Oz Myers's Dark Jamaican Rum

Put in a shaker with half a cup of crushed ice, shake well and put in a Tiki mug - I guess a 14-16 Oz one , add crushed Ice to fill. Garnish with a mint sprig.

* Use more Orgeat if you want - it depends how strong the taste of the syrup is. The idea is to just feel a bit of it. Monin brand is very strong.

Passion Knockout Punch

1 1/2 oz. gold rum (Barbados rum preferred)
1/4 oz. creme de noyaux
1/2 oz. passion fruit syrup
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. fresh orange juice
1 oz. soda water

Shake with plenty of cracked ice. Strain into double old-fashioned glass or small tiki mug filled with crushed ice. Top with 1 oz. soda water. Garnish with pineapple chunk, orange slice, and cherry.

Humidity Punch

A simple drink, but a godsend when the air conditioner breaks.

2 ounces gin
1 ounce Rose's sweetened lime
5 ounces chilled coconut juice

Pour into a coconut mug over ice and stir thoroughly. Serve with a straw.

Zombies by the Truckload

When making drinks in bulk you can't just multiply the amounts equally... so start pouring until you get about 75% full, then add what is needed to taste. your main ingredients should be the rum and pineapple.

When making zombies by the truckload, use the following:

Pineapple juice (unsweetened)
lime juice
orange juice (not too much)
Apricot Brandy
a light rum
a dark rum
Passion Fruit syrup (homemade!) *

*When I make Zombies, I make passion fruit syrup from scratch. Use the Sugar Syrup recipe below, but add the guts of 3 to 5 passion fruits near the end of the boil. then strain. It sure beats the store bought stuff.

Simple Sugar Syrup

I lb Sugar
One Cup Water

Add sugar and water to pan, bring to boil and bottle

 Mai Tai Punch

While the spirit of the drink may be diminished somewhat by doing it this way, it will allow you to introduce all of my guests to the glories of a real Mai Tai without spending the entire evening behind the bar of your own party.

Mai Tai Mix for quick mixing - at the 1.5 liter level it works out.

(equal part lime to Curacao/syrups, to taste)

Makes 750 ml of 'mix'

375 ml Fresh Lime Juice
187 1/2 ml Orange Curacao
93 3/4 ml Simple Syrup
93 3/4 ml Orgeat

You can use 2oz of the mix with 1oz each of your rums.

So, 1/2 of a bottle each of your rums and the entirety of this mix bottle should make a decent punch.

Ti Punch

I think this is probably the prehistoric ancestor from which other modern rum cocktails (including the daiquiri) eventually evolved. The rhyming recipe "One part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong, four parts weak" is so simple, but can make a brilliant, balanced drink that really shows off the character of the rum used-- a whole greater than the sum of it's parts.

My favorite recipe is:

1oz fresh squeezed lime
2oz simple syrup
3oz Martinique Rum
4oz soda water

Mix in a tall glass with ice, stir-- do not shake.

Using soda water is a bit of a change to the classic, but it makes the drink more refreshing. Also, it seems that a Ti punch makes an excellent foil for the funky, nutty character of the young Martinique rum.

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Tiki Food:

The menu might include: Grilled coconut shrimp, Crab canapés, Mussels and Clams, Deviled eggs, etc. Here is a great recipe for Spicy Coconut Chicken Skewers.

Spicy Coconut Chicken Skewers

1/2 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/4 heaping teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
wooden skewers

Combine all ingredients, except chicken and coconut (and skewers of course), in a saucepan and heat while stirring until boiling. Reduce heat to medium/low and allow marinade to reduce somewhat, (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Put chicken breasts in a pan and pour most of the marinade on top, saving a small portion in a container for later. Make sure both sides of the breasts are coated with the marinade and let pan sit in a refrigerator at least 2 hours (I leave mine overnight).

Toast the coconut on a baking sheet or shallow pan in a 350-degree oven, turning the coconut with a spatula periodically so that it is a light brown. (dark brown works too, so don't worry if it's overdone).

Grill chicken breasts until done but tender, brushing with the marinade in the pan. Slice breasts in thirds lengthwise. Skewer each strip on a wooden skewer and brush with the reserved marinade you had set-aside at the beginning. Roll in toasted coconut and serve on Ti Leaf. Makes 12 skewers.

You don't have to increase the marinade proportionately for larger quantities. For today's batch of 50 chicken breasts, I multiplied the above recipe by eight. I also used two 10 oz bags of shredded coconut.

Gourmet Magazine: It's Tiki Time!

Much to my amazement I notice that the cover of the June issue of Gourmet magazine shows a tiki feast ... not a "luau" exactly, but the article is entitled "Tiki Time" and lists such mouth-watering recipes as "Pineapple Rum Cocktails," "Crab-and-Pork Spring Rolls," and "Coconut Coffee Marbled Ice Cream Cake."

The recipes can be found online at:

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Related Theme Ideas

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Surfer Party Ideas Under the Sea Party Ideas
Fresh Ideas for Summer Picnics  

 Theme Parties N More is a wedding & event planning company located in Cypress, TX. Our party & wedding planners have put this website together to provide our visitors with ideas for planning their events, this includes links to products that can help you to make your event extra special. In accordance with the FTC Guidelines we are disclosing that some of the vendors that we link you to, pay us a commission when you purchase products from them, but some of the vendors do not provide us with any compensation.

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Tiki Tower

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Tiki Tabletop Light Set/2

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Giant Island Head Standees Set/2

Giant Island Head Standees Set/2




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