Luau Arts and Crafts

Adults and keiki alike love the crafting activities offered at just about every luau

Adults and keiki alike love the crafting activities offered at just about every luau

When you book your Hawaiian luau, you know you’re in store for an evening filled with unforgettable entertainment and delicious food. While it’s easy to imagine the food and the evening entertainment, what comes before dinner may be a bit of a mystery. No doubt you’re looking forward to the hula and fire-knife dancing accompanied by exotic music and storytelling, but most luaus also offer some fun, hands-on activities before you sit down for dinner.

Venues like the Diamond Head Luau and Ka Moana Luau on Oahu provide plenty of activities to fill the time as you wait for the buffet to be open. The Luau at Nutridge Estate even lets guests get their hands dirty helping build the imu, or underground oven, where the highlight of the feast—kalua pig—is cooked! We often associate the term “arts and crafts” with summer camp activities involving macaroni pictures and gluing together popsicle sticks to create weird and useless gifts to bring home. At a luau, the Polynesian arts and crafts are a whole lot different. There’s no cheap paste or safety scissors anywhere to be seen, and what you do put together has actual cultural meaning behind it.

Typical Luau Arts and Crafts

Lei-making is a fun hands-on luau activity

Lei-making is a fun hands-on luau activity

So, what kind of handmade projects are typical to engage in at an island luau? There are quite a few different things that will have you immersed in the local culture, such as making a traditional lei out of fresh flowers. A fun activity for both adults and children, making your own lei is a way to connect with the Polynesian culture of aloha. As a symbol of love and friendship, your lei should be given to someone special.

Lei-making is one of the most common craft activities at a luau, but there are others that are just as traditional. Another typical hands-on project teaches you how to weave a headband or a basket using leaves of native plants. Spending some time before the luau festivities enjoying the arts and crafts adds a great cultural dimension to the experience. The point of the arts and crafts at your luau is to expose you to a different side of the Polynesian culture, one that’s still alive and thriving.

Get a Tattoo*


Tatau at Polynesian Cultural Center

Stick with the temporary tattoos

While you won’t be able to take part in sticking your fellow luau guests with ink-dipped sharks’ teeth like an old-school Polynesian tattoo artist, temporary tattoos are a fun addition to the arts and crafts portion of the luau. These temporary decorations are inspired by designs worn by Polynesian voyagers, for whom the art of tatau is an important part of their culture.

With everything to see and do both before and after the feast, it’s clear that you won’t be bored at any point during your Hawaiian luau.