Blow bubbles to your favorite Don Ho classics. Pass out bubbles in party favors or place cards.


Dear Tom and Ellen:
It's my parents 50th wedding anniversary and we are planning a hawaiian-themed party right after Christmas for them. We don't want gifts, but would like our guests to have the opportunity to leave cards and/or money for our parents to go to Hawaii next year. What do you suggest for a hawaiian-themed tree to pin money to? Or do you have a better idea? Thank you!! I really need help.

Dear Caren:

Some Ideas for your collection of money, cards for your parents' trip to Hawaii next year.
There are lots of ways to do this.
1. Buy a real pineapple (one or more) at the store, and have people put the "cards and/or money" in it or around it or pin it on with toothpicks
2. If this is a Hawaiian-themed party, must be going to have some other sort of cut-outs - hula girl or a palm tree or a fish. Tape the money on the palm tree or hula girl.
3. Use one of the centerpieces in honey comb, or a table tree for people to hang gifts, cards on the branches.
4. If someone is really creative, draw a big Palm Tree on a piece of poster board, and pretend it's real! Play pin the money on the frond.
5. Put a Hawaiian flower garland up across one wall, and attach the envelopes like people often do when they display their Christmas cards on a string.
6. Use a regular Christmas tree. After a few Mai Tais, no one will notice what kind of tree it was, anyway.
6. Or, have a greeter at the door with a hula skirt and coconut bra saying "Aloha" and collect the envelopes with money and good wishes. They can be presented to the guests of honor on a plastic Ti Leaf.
Hope this is helpful
Tom and Ellen


Dear Tom and Ellen:
I want to plan a luau, but don’t have any idea what I need to do make it authentic? Help!

Casey, Kansas City, Mo.

Dear Casey:

Planning a luau means making it fun for your guests. The best parties are the ones that have the right mix of people, fun party invitations, great decorations and lots of food and drink. Ellen and I have been in the tropical party business for years and we love to create a theme for our own tropical parties. Decorate the room with inflatable palm trees, greet your guests with leis and play some Blue Hawaii music. Get the party going with fruity mai tais. We have included our special recipe guaranteed to please.

Don’t forget the luau food—fresh pineapple salad topped with a splash of Grand Marnier or orange juice, roasted pork tenderloin for a new twist on the backyard pig roast and plenty of liquid refreshments. We have included all the recipes for you! Most of all have fun—we do every day.
Tom and Ellen

Dear Tom and Ellen:


I am having 25 guests over for a tropical themed bash for my husband’s birthday. I have no idea how much food or drink to have on hand. Please give me some help. I don’t want to run out and ruin the fun.
Helen, Minneapolis, MN

Dear Helen:
Don’t worry! There are some simple formulas for party planning that will make sure your party is a hit. First figure out the hours of the party—it may go on all night. So plan accordingly. .

Plan ahead and make a list. It will make the day of the party a snap. Have your guests bring their favorite tropical dish to ease the work load. Or plan all the food and drink yourself—it doesn’t have to be a last minute headache. Ice should top the list of party essentials. Have one of your friends man the blender and whir up special concoctions. Use our Tropics Express recipes. It will free you up to keep track of the party food. Buy a couple of bags and fill an ice chest with drinks. Be sure to check all the ingredients before the party. Offer some alternative beverages and nonalcoholic drinks that are fruity and fun...

Fill a ring mold with water and edible flowers or orange juice, crushed pineapple and maraschino cherries. Add the frozen mold to a spiked punch. If you use juice top with sparkling soda for a fizz. Let guests serve themselves.

Separate the drinks and food in the party layout. It will ease congestion. Make sure you stock up on party pineapple napkins or other tropical inspired party goods.

Consider serving hearty portions—allow 6-8 ounces of roasted pork (or other meat) per guests. People tend to eat more when enjoying the party atmosphere. Or if you are serving a party platter of cold cuts—you may want to plan on 2-4 ounces per guests. Ham kabobs skewered with chunks of pineapple grilled and served as a main dish hot off the grill. Enlist a friend to preside over the fire. Give them a hula girl or bikini clad figure on their apron and they will gladly help out. Everyone will get a laugh and the food keeps coming while you are free to mix and mingle. Have guests skewer their own kabobs—offer bowls of ham cubes (cut into 2-inch cubes), tomatoes and pineapple chunks. Set the bowls on ice.

The amount of food depends on the time of the party. Consider what other foods you are serving to round out the menu. Incorporate some color in the menu plan—a fresh vegetable tray with a creamy dip like our recipe served in sweet Hawaiian bread will surprise guests—it is served hot. Offer a simple pasta salad dressed up with marinated artichokes, olives, tomatoes and cheese for an alternative main dish salad. It is good to have a combination of hot and cold foods. It means you won’t be doing a lot of last minute work. You can always pick up convenience foods at the deli. Allow about a half cup of salad person.

Offer a touch of sweet to round out the party—macadamia nut cookies or a birthday cake complete with pineapple or coconut. Make a molten lava cheesecake full of rich decadent chocolate and frozen for a frosty birthday cake. Top with party sparklers for a real birthday surprise! Or bake sugary (use a mix and add the nuts for the gourmet surprise) macadamia cookies cut in the shape of palm trees, geckos, turtles or surfers. Your guests will love the favor. They can take a sweet wrapped cookie home for a tasty reminder..

Pass out bubbles as party favors or place cards. Everyone can blow bubbles to the Don Ho Classic—Tiny Bubbles and wish your husband a happy birthday as you toast to another great party.

Have Fun!
Tom and Ellen.



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