Throw Back Thursday – History of the Tiki Party

For this week’s throwback post, a little history of the Tiki Party. This exotic tropical party is a perfect outdoor party during the warm summer months. Next time you are enjoying a delicious Mai Tai in a ceramic Tiki mug, consider how this fun party theme came to be so popular.

Tiki god for luau

Origin of Tiki

In Polynesian mythology, the tiki Gods represent the first human being on Earth. The carved tiki Gods often serve to mark the boundaries of sacred or significant sites.






Don the Beachcomber – circa 1950s

Tiki in America

In 1934 Don the Beachcomber (Don Beach) opened a Polynesian-themed restaurant in Hollywood California. They served Cantonese cuisine and tropical rum punches with decor featuring carved tiki’s, masks, flaming torches, rattan furniture, flower leis and brightly colored fabrics. People loved the exotic vibe and fun rum drinks. Soon others, like Trader Vics in Oakland, CA, began to copy the Polynesian theme. After WWII interest in the south pacific took off as returning soldiers wanted to recreate the tropical vibe in their suburban backyards.

Still going strong today

Tiki bars and tiki parties have been popular ever since. If you’re ready to create your own tropical experience, we have everything you need to throw a Tiki Island Party including ideas for decor, fashion, entertainment, cocktails, playlists and favors. Be sure to send your fabulous tiki party pictures to us for the Sparkler photo gallery.


Cover image: Trader Vic’s postcard from the 1960′s – Mike Roberts, photographer