What to wear to baby luau - hospitality gift?

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We are making our first trip to Hawaii in November in honor of our grand-niece's first birthday. Her father's family are native Hawaiian, and are hosting a 1st birthday luau. What would you suggest is the best thing to wear to the party (I am 54)?

Also, my nephew-in-law is one of ten children. I want to take the right 'host' gift for the family. Can you give me some ideas? (We live in Pennsylvania - I was thinking of a big basket of foods, etc. that are either native to, or common in our part of the country...???)

Thanks very much for any additional thoughts you can pass on to a greenhorn who wants to do the right thing.

What is a customary gift for baby?


-- lois grabowski (grabowl2@labs.wyeth.com), August 21, 2000


Aloha Lois,

I'll try and answer your questions.

Attire will depend on where the party is held. If it's your normal "at the house or beach" type of luau, you could wear almost anything casual. If it's at a hotel, then you'll need to wear shoes 8)) We've gone to baby luaus where people were wearing anything from surf shorts, tee shirts and rubber slippers to dress slacks, coats and nice shoes at the same luau.

More than likely for the guests, the guys will be in shorts with a nice aloha shirt with slippers and the women will be in nice muu muu or dress. The closer you are to the family, the more you're gonna help with the cooking and cleaning so the more casual you will end up dressing. Best thing is to find out where it'll be, find out how much you can help, and ask your niece what to wear. If you need/want to dress nice, you'll probably end up at Liberty House or some small boutique to buy a muu muu and aloha shirt.

For the baby luau, a lot of people give money to help with the costs in addition to the baby gift. ($10 - $25 per adult depending on how well you know the family.) Baby gifts are the regular type of clothes, stuffed animals, pampers, etc. Sometimes people go in together and get a big item, i.e., people from the office throw in $20 each. Your other relatives and you folks?

As for the gift for the host family...mmmmmmmmmm...Let's see, you're in steel country. All I can think of is Rolling Rock, Deer Hunter, and Terry Bradshaw/Franco/Steel Curtain (---got my age?). People hunt deer on the neighbor islands and smoke it or make jerky to use a pupus while drinking. Do you have a deer meat specialty? We have Rollng Rock over here now so that's not a good one and the Steelers have Chris Fuamatu- Ma'afala. Hate to say this, but again you might want to ask your niece what her in-laws might like.

Additional thoughts? Try everything even if you think you're gonna die. It's always fun for the locals to see the "haole" fresh from the mainland eat raw fish or poi or opihi for the first time. Maybe you'll love it. Like I mentioned before, try helping with the luau as that's where you get to meet the people/family and have the most fun and laughter. Lastly, have a good sense of humor, be game, and you'll have a real luau experience which few mainlanders get.

Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll try to help

Aloha and mahalo (thanks), Roy

-- Roy Inouye (roy@bothi.com), August 21, 2000.

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