Hawaiian dress up days are a fun way to break up the routine at school, work or other events. Getting decked out in floral prints, grass skirts and leis can make any ordinary day feel like a luau. If you’re looking for ideas on how to celebrate Hawaiian dress up day, you’ve come to the right place.

Here’s a quick overview of what we’ll cover in this guide: The origins of Hawaiian dress up days, popular costume ideas for adults and kids, decorations and food to help set the Hawaiian theme, Hawaiian dress up day activities and games, tips for participating in a Hawaiian dress up day.

The History and Popularity of Hawaiian Dress Up Days

Hawaiian Dress Up Days have become a popular trend in recent years, with people from all walks of life donning vibrant Hawaiian shirts, leis, and grass skirts to celebrate the spirit of the islands. But how did this trend originate, and why has it gained such widespread popularity?

The Hawaiian Shirt Trend

The iconic Hawaiian shirt, also known as an Aloha shirt, first gained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s. These colorful, floral-patterned shirts were initially designed by native Hawaiian tailors, who drew inspiration from traditional Hawaiian quilt designs and the natural beauty of the islands. The shirts quickly became a hit with tourists, who saw them as a symbol of the relaxed, carefree lifestyle associated with Hawaii.

Over the years, the Hawaiian shirt trend has experienced highs and lows in popularity. However, it experienced a resurgence in the 1990s, thanks in part to celebrities like Tom Selleck and Magnum P.I. The shirts became a fashion statement, worn not only by tourists but also by locals and people around the world who wanted to capture the laid-back, tropical vibe.

Hawaiian Themed Parties and Luau’s

Another factor that contributed to the popularity of Hawaiian Dress Up Days is the rise of Hawaiian-themed parties and luau’s. These festive gatherings often feature tropical decorations, Hawaiian music, and, of course, guests dressed in Hawaiian attire. The allure of escaping to a tropical paradise, even if only for a few hours, has made these events a hit with people of all ages.

Whether it’s a backyard barbecue, a birthday party, or a corporate event, a Hawaiian-themed party offers a chance to relax and have fun. Guests can express their creativity by wearing Hawaiian shirts, floral dresses, or even hula skirts. It’s a celebration of the Aloha spirit, with everyone coming together to enjoy good food, music, and company.

Hawaiian Dress Up Days Spread to Schools and Offices

What started as a trend among tourists and partygoers soon made its way into schools and offices. Many schools now have Hawaiian Dress Up Days as part of spirit week or as a fun way to celebrate special occasions. Students and teachers alike get the chance to express their individuality and show off their creativity by wearing Hawaiian-inspired outfits.

In the workplace, Hawaiian Dress Up Days offer a break from the usual routine and allow employees to let loose and have some fun. It brings a sense of camaraderie and boosts morale, as colleagues bond over their shared enthusiasm for the tropical theme. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to showcase your unique style and bring a touch of the island life to the office.

Hawaiian Costume Ideas

Costumes for Women

When it comes to Hawaiian dress up day, women have a wide range of options to choose from. One popular choice is the traditional Hawaiian hula dancer costume. This costume typically includes a grass skirt, a colorful bikini top, and a flower lei. Another option is the muumuu dress, which is a loose-fitting, brightly colored dress that is perfect for a tropical-themed party. For a more modern twist, you can also opt for a Hawaiian-inspired sundress paired with a flower crown and sandals. Remember to accessorize with tropical-themed jewelry such as seashell necklaces or wooden bangles for the perfect finishing touch.

Costumes for Men

Men can also get creative with their Hawaiian costumes. One classic option is the Hawaiian shirt, which is known for its vibrant patterns and relaxed fit. Pair it with some khaki shorts and flip-flops for a casual look. For a more formal attire, you can go for a Hawaiian-inspired suit, which features a matching shirt and shorts or pants. Complete the look with a straw hat and a pair of sunglasses to channel the laid-back Hawaiian vibe. Don’t forget to add a flower pin to your lapel or a flower lei around your neck to add a pop of color to your outfit.

Group and Family Costume Ideas

For group and family costume ideas, consider coordinating your outfits to create a cohesive look. You can all dress up as a Hawaiian beach party by wearing matching Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts, and flower leis. Another idea is to dress up as different elements of Hawaiian culture, such as hula dancers, surfers, or even tropical fruits like pineapples and coconuts. This will not only make for great photo opportunities but also create a fun and memorable experience for everyone involved.

Costumes and Accessories for Kids

Kids can join in on the fun with their own Hawaiian costumes and accessories. For girls, a cute grass skirt paired with a colorful top and a flower crown will make them look like little hula dancers. Boys can dress up as mini surfers with Hawaiian shirts, board shorts, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to add some Hawaiian-inspired accessories like flower hair clips, anklets, or even temporary tattoos to complete their look. Encourage their creativity and let them have fun with their outfits!

Hawaiian Themed Decorations

Tropical Plants and Flowers

When it comes to creating a Hawaiian atmosphere, tropical plants and flowers are a must-have. These vibrant and colorful additions will instantly transport you and your guests to the beautiful islands of Hawaii. Some popular options for tropical plants include palm trees, hibiscus, orchids, and bird of paradise. You can place them strategically around your venue to create an immersive and tropical ambiance.

Grass Skirts and Tiki Masks

No Hawaiian-themed party is complete without grass skirts and tiki masks. Grass skirts can be used as table skirts or worn as part of your costume. They add a fun and festive touch to the overall decor. Tiki masks, on the other hand, are traditional Hawaiian carvings that represent various gods and deities. They can be hung on walls or placed as centerpieces on tables to enhance the Hawaiian vibe.

Beach Backdrops and Props

To create a realistic beach setting, consider using beach backdrops and props. These can include palm tree cutouts, inflatable palm trees, beach umbrellas, and even a mini-sand area. These props will help set the scene and make your guests feel like they are truly in paradise. You can also add some beach-related items such as beach balls, surfboards, and seashells to add more visual interest to the decorations.

For more ideas and inspiration, you can visit websites like Party City or Oriental Trading which offer a wide range of Hawaiian-themed decorations to choose from.

Hawaiian Themed Food and Drinks

When it comes to hosting a Hawaiian dress-up day, one of the key elements to consider is the food and drinks. Creating a menu that captures the flavors and spirit of Hawaii will transport your guests to the beautiful islands. Here are some delicious ideas for Hawaiian-themed food and drinks:

Tropical Fruits and Smoothies

No Hawaiian-themed party is complete without an abundance of tropical fruits. Pineapple, mango, papaya, and coconut are some of the iconic fruits that can be incorporated into various dishes. You can serve fresh fruit platters, fruit skewers, or even create a colorful fruit salad with a tangy citrus dressing. For those who prefer something refreshing to sip on, consider offering a variety of tropical smoothies. Blend together a mix of fruits such as banana, pineapple, and passionfruit with some coconut milk or yogurt for a delightful and healthy beverage.

Seafood Dishes

As an island paradise, Hawaii is renowned for its fresh and delicious seafood. Incorporating seafood dishes into your Hawaiian-themed menu is a must. You can serve grilled shrimp skewers, teriyaki-glazed salmon, or ahi poke bowls. Ahi poke, a traditional Hawaiian dish made with marinated raw tuna, is a crowd favorite. To add a touch of authenticity, consider using local and sustainably sourced seafood. Your guests will surely appreciate the flavors of the ocean that Hawaii has to offer.

Hawaiian Desserts

End your Hawaiian dress-up day on a sweet note with some delectable Hawaiian desserts. Haupia, a coconut pudding, is a classic Hawaiian treat that can be served in individual cups or as part of a dessert buffet. Another popular dessert is malasadas, which are Portuguese-inspired fried doughnuts coated in sugar. These delightful treats are often filled with various flavors like guava or chocolate. For a lighter option, you can prepare a refreshing pineapple sorbet or a tropical fruit tart using the abundance of fresh fruits available.

Remember, the key to creating an authentic Hawaiian-themed menu is to incorporate the flavors and ingredients that are synonymous with the islands. By offering a variety of tropical fruits, seafood dishes, and traditional Hawaiian desserts, you’ll be able to provide your guests with a culinary experience that will transport them to the beautiful shores of Hawaii.

Hawaiian Dress Up Day Activities and Games

When it comes to celebrating Hawaiian Dress Up Day, there are plenty of activities and games that can help create a fun and festive atmosphere. Whether you’re organizing a school event, a themed party, or simply looking to have some tropical fun with friends and family, these activities are sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Limbo and Hula Contests

No Hawaiian Dress Up Day is complete without some friendly competition. Organize a limbo contest, where participants try to bend backward and pass under a pole without touching it. It’s a great way to test flexibility and have a few laughs. Another popular game is the hula contest, where participants showcase their best hula dance moves. Encourage creativity and award prizes for the best performances.

Hawaiian Music and Dancing

Music and dancing are essential elements of any Hawaiian celebration. Create a playlist of traditional Hawaiian songs or hire a live band to perform. Encourage everyone to join in and learn some basic hula dance steps. You can even organize a group dance where everyone can participate and have a great time. The lively beats and infectious rhythms will get everyone up and moving!

Luau or Beach Themed Crafts and Activities

For a more relaxed and creative approach, organize some luau or beach-themed crafts and activities. Set up a crafting station where participants can make their own leis using colorful flowers or materials like tissue paper or yarn. You can also provide supplies for making paper or cardboard palm trees, tropical masks, or seashell jewelry. These crafts will not only keep everyone entertained but also give them a chance to take home a Hawaiian-inspired souvenir.

Additionally, consider setting up a photo booth area with props like grass skirts, leis, and oversized sunglasses. This will allow everyone to capture fun and memorable moments throughout the event. You can also include some traditional Hawaiian games like “Pass the Coconut” or “Tropical Bingo” to keep the excitement going.

Remember, the key to a successful Hawaiian Dress Up Day is to create an immersive and engaging experience for everyone. By incorporating these activities and games, you’ll ensure that your event is filled with laughter, joy, and a true Hawaiian spirit.

Tips for Participating in Hawaiian Dress Up Day

Are you excited for Hawaiian Dress Up Day? It’s a fun opportunity to embrace the vibrant culture of Hawaii and dress up in colorful attire. Whether you’re participating in a school event, office party, or simply celebrating with friends, here are some tips to make the most of your Hawaiian Dress Up Day experience.

Keep it Respectful of Hawaiian Culture

When participating in Hawaiian Dress Up Day, it’s important to be respectful of the Hawaiian culture. Hawaii has a rich history and a deep connection to its indigenous people. Avoid cultural appropriation by avoiding caricatures or stereotypes. Instead, opt for authentic Hawaiian clothing such as aloha shirts, muumuus, or sarongs. If you’re unsure about what is appropriate, do some research or consult with someone knowledgeable about Hawaiian culture.

Make it Silly and Fun for All Ages

Hawaiian Dress Up Day is all about having fun, so don’t be afraid to get silly with your outfit! Embrace the colorful and playful nature of Hawaiian fashion. Consider adding some fun accessories like flower leis, grass skirts, or even a coconut bra. Remember, the goal is to create a lighthearted and enjoyable atmosphere for everyone involved, regardless of age or background.

Incorporate Learning About Hawaii

While Hawaiian Dress Up Day is primarily about having fun, it’s also a great opportunity to learn more about the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. Encourage everyone to do a little research about Hawaii’s history, geography, and cultural traditions. You can even organize activities or games that teach participants about the Hawaiian language, hula dancing, or traditional Hawaiian food. By incorporating learning into the festivities, you can make Hawaiian Dress Up Day both entertaining and educational.

For more information on Hawaiian culture and traditions, you can visit the official website of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. They provide a wealth of resources that can help you better understand and appreciate the Hawaiian culture.


Hawaiian dress up days are a fun way to celebrate beautiful Hawaiian culture. With the right costumes, decorations, food and activities, you can bring a tropical vibe to any event or occasion. This complete guide covers everything you need to know to have an authentic, respectful and entertaining Hawaiian day. So get ready to break out the floral prints and grass skirts for a festive Hawaiian dress up day!

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