This was a fun party to decorate for. We had received a catalog for the Oriental Trading Company just as we decided to go ahead and try to have the party again. They have all sorts of great tropical stuff and thier prices are pretty good. We ordered a dozen beach balls, a net with shells, tons of hangind decorations and a parrot pinata.
Of course, that wasn't enough. We also went to the local Party City and got even more stuff to "fill in the gaps."
We added a couple more tiki torches around the backyard and our scene was nearly set.
Our backyard is only 40'x30' and we have a big two-story fort with swings and a slide. It takes a good third of the space so we have to deal with it whenever we have a crowd back there. I have always enjoyed Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room and have been looking for an excuse to do something like that in the backyard for ages. This was just that excuse. I found bamboo sticks at Home Depot and began covering the posts with them. I tied them with the thickest "natural" rope I could find. Then I hung grass table skirts all around the structure and nailed two tiki-gods to the ends. It turned out so good that my daughters told me I wasn't allowed to take it down after the party.
The food was going to be a real problem; at first we had wanted to do kabobs. We did a "test BBQ" a couple of weeks before and I was not happy about the amount of time and effort it took to make them. I love cooking, but I don't like being stuck in the kitchen or at the grill. And with so many people coming, I didn't want to do a "make you own kabob" station because of the mess.
I asked the members of WWRecipes.com for help. A couple of people suggested I do "stickless kabobs." I got two BBQ Woks from Home Depot. These are four-sided bowls with lots of small holes that you put in your BBQ. I was able to dump the mixings for kabobs in them and then "stir fry" them until they were done. I did chunks of chicken, beef, red onion, green bellpepper, pineapple, and cherry tomatoes. Nobody minded that the sticks were missing.
The other main course was Ka'luau Pig. The day before (so it would cook for almost 24 hours), I put 8 pounds of pork shoulder roast in a BIG crockpot with 4 ounces of liquid smoke and two cups of apple cider. I put the pot in the garage to cook because I had been warned that it would make my house smell like a BBQ. They were right. When it was done, the meat fell apart with just a light push from a spoon. I put this in one side of a double chaffing dish with some of its juices to keep it moist. The other half was filled with instant vegetable rice (boil the water, dump in a back of frozen mixed vegetables, cook, then put in the instant rice). It was easy and had nice colors. Finish off with a big salad, frozen fruit salad from the local Smart and Final store, a big platter of cheese and crackers and we had a huge feast.
Everyone raved about the pork. It's funny how such an easy recipe can be such a smash.
The kids enjoyed breaking the pinata and filling up on candy. The parents enjoyed assorted beers and hurricanes.
People stayed well past the official end of the party. As it got dark, the kids retreated to the tiki hut and the parents sat around munching the last few bits of food and trying to make at least a small dent in the copious beer cooler.