Love to Luau
It’s time to fire up the grill and turn on the Hawaiian music—you’re throwing a b-day luau! It’s a kid’s party, so no need to roast an entire pig underground or mash up poi for the occasion. Just a few small details will keep the birthday girl and all her friends happy for the day.
One of the funnest things about a hula party is being able to dress the part.  So, let’s begin there. The easiest place to stop for all things hula is San Francisco’s Aloha Warehouse, in the Buchanan Shopping Center in Japantown. They carry skirts and leis, ukuleles, CDs of Hawaiian music, snacks, and much more. Toys “R” Us has an ankle-long Raffia Hula Skirt for $8.99 for mom or older girls, while Party Warehouse has shorter, kids’ hula skirts for even less. If you have the time to take a class at the APOP Hawaiian Cultural Center in San Francisco, you can learn how to make your own hula clothing, made from plants grown in the Center’s backyard. But for parents’ with even less time, there’s always online shopping, and The Find aggregates online shopping sites from Amazon to the Oriental Trading Company with hula skirts for sale. Another, more interactive option is to make your own hula skirts by having each guest tie a string around her waist, then hanging strips of green streamer paper around it to imitate grass.
Fresh flower leis can be found throughout the Bay Area, from Aloha Leis in Richmond to SoMa Flowers in San Francisco. Or, you can get crafty with the kids and make leis together from flowers, ribbon, colored tissue paper, or shells. Artificial leis are available throughout the year at your local craft store, like Michael’s or Beverly’s.
One sure way to fire up the fun factor is to hire a hula instructor to put some sway in the kiddies’ hips. Edna Cabcabin Moran will come to your home, demo some hula dancing, and teach the littles in a 30- or 55- minute hula session (depending on the age group) about the art form, as well as some simple choreography. To inquire about her availability and rates, contact her at 510-769-7936 or ecm@cabcabinmoran.com.
Finally, the food: The good thing about a luau is, with a  grill and  a little fruit, you can go a long way. Here are a few ideas:
• Use fresh pineapple and mango with your peppers and onions to make a salsa. This can go over any of your meat dishes, from fish to poultry. Yum, yum! Save the pineapple husks and cut them in neat halves. They make delightful little bowls for a tropical fruit salad.
• Grilling barbeque skewers? Save some of those skewers for fruit kabobs. Pineapples, bananas, strawberries, and mangoes are even more scrumptious warmed through! Or combine the two for barbeque pork and pineapple kabobs.
• No kid’s spread is complete without a sandwich option. Ham and pineapple slices make a great combination between slices – just make sure the pineapple is drained.

—Renee Rutledge