Minimalist Tiki

The living dead came to party at The Mai-Kai’s Hulaween 2019 luau

After 10 years, we know what to expect from The Mai-Kai’s infamous Hulaween party: A night of kooky costumes, rockin’ tunes and many cocktails consumed in the legendary Polynesian restaurant’s Molokai bar. The 2019 bash, held Oct. 25, lived up to those standards.

Slip Mahoney cranks out the rockin' tunes.
Slip Mahoney cranks out the rockin’ tunes.

PHOTOS: Jump to the gallery below

The 11th annual Hulaween, themed “Luau of the Living Dead,” featured South Florida’s favorite roots rock band, Slip and the Spinouts, playing three raucous sets. The dance floor was hoppin’ all night as guitarist/vocalist Slip Mahoney led his three-piece band through classic covers and his own original tunes.

The evening kicked off with The Molokai’s always popular happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. as the 100+ seats filled up fast. Many Shrunken Skulls, Shark Bites and other ominous tropical concoctions were enjoyed by the costumed celebrants.

The bar was decked out in creepy cobwebs and other decor while the signature Molokai Girls got into the spirit while keeping the food and drinks flowing. Halloween tunes got everyone warmed up for the first set by the Spinouts, which also included bassist Noah Hall and drummer Tony Tomei. It was the band’s ninth Hulaween appearance.

Modern Caribbean Rum
Axl and Slash are in the house. Now the party can really start.
Axl and Slash are in the house. Now the party can really start.

By the time the band launched the closing number of their first set, Two Worn Out Boots, the dance floor was packed and the party was already in high gear. Other stand-out originals included 13 Miles and Seven Nights to Rock. These and other songs can be downloaded as mp3 singles from the band’s website. You can also buy CDs and T-shirts from the official Slip and the Spinouts store.

After the band’s second set, it was time for the always creative costume contest, with $600 in cash and prizes to the winners. The Mai-Kai’s manager, Kern Mattei, and marketing director, Pia Dahlquist, presided over the creepy chaos of the costume parade.

Hulaween was once again sponsored by Appleton Estate Rum, the venerable Jamaican brand that not only provided prizes to the winners, but also rewarded attendees with many rounds of free Mai Tais (featuring the signature 12-year-old Rare Blend).

Manager Kern Mattei awards the costume contest grand price to the  clear-cut winners, Mr. and Mrs. Scissorhands.
Manager Kern Mattei awards the costume contest grand price to the clear-cut winners, Mr. and Mrs. Scissorhands.

After careful consideration, the judges narrowed down the costumes to the top three prize winners, plus a fourth runner-up:

* First: Edward and Mrs. Scissorhands ($300 in cash, a bottle of Appleton Estate 21 rum signed by master blender Joy Spence, and a Hulaween 2019 poster signed by artist Mike “Pooch” Pucciarelli).

* Second: Axl and Slash ($200 in cash, Appleton merchandise, signed Hulaween poster).

* Third: Caveman ($100 in cash, Appleton merchandise, signed Hulaween poster).

* Fourth: Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

Hulaween 2019: Luau of the Living Dead - artwork by Pooch

Pooch, the Hulaween 2019 artist, was in attendance as a very convincing Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski. You should still be able to pick up signed copies of his event poster, adapted from the 2005 painting “Big Bob’s Dream Vacation,” in The Mai-Kai Trading Post.

When the smoke cleared and the band finished its third set, it was time for The Molokai to return to its normal guise as a turn-of-the-century seaport saloon attached to a 63-year-old national historic landmark. The ghosts of Hulaween will retreat to their happy haunts until 2020, but it’s never too early to start planning your costume.

In the meantime, check out the restaurant’s many upcoming events, including the 63rd anniversary customer appreciation party on Dec. 28 featuring a special Mystery Drink presentation by Tim “Swanky” Glazner, author of Mai-Kai: History and Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant.


Hulaween 2019 photo gallery
(Click on thumbnails to see larger images or to view as slideshow)

Photos by The Atomic Grog and The Mai-Kai

Hulaween 2019 photos on Facebook
The Mai-Kai | The Atomic Grog


More Hulaween recaps, photos
* 2018: Back from the Dead: Hulaween turns 10 with another ghoulish gathering
* 2017: Monstrous mayhem at the ninth annual Hulaween party
* 2016: A hauntingly good time at The Mai-Kai’s 8th annual Hulaween party
* 2015: The undead get lively at The Mai-Kai’s seventh annual Hulaween
* 2014: A ghastly good time at The Mai-Kai’s sixth annual Hulaween party
* 2013: Partygoers raise hell at The Mai-Kai’s fifth annual Hulaween
* 2012: Hulaween was hoppin’ all night at The Mai-Kai
* See all the past Hulaween coverage
More photos on Facebook: 2011 | 2010 | 2009

More on The Mai-Kai on The Atomic Grog
* The Okole Maluna Society: The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide
* Demerara rum flows at The Mai-Kai’s magical retro event featuring The Atomic Grog
* The Mai-Kai updates bar menu, adds classic ‘lost’ cocktail
* The Atomic Grog explores Tiki cocktail history through the menus of The Mai-Kai
* The Mai-Kai is here to stay: 10 reasons why we love the historic South Fla. restaurant
* The Mai-Kai turns 60 with special history presentations, celebration
* New giant carved Tiki added to The Mai-Kai’s outdoor garden
* ‘King Kai’ leads procession of new Tikis into The Mai-Kai
* More Mai-Kai history | All Mai-Kai posts

The Mai-Kai on the Web
* Official site | Trading Post | Twitter
* Facebook: Official page | Friends of The Mai-Kai group
* Instagram: Restaurant | The Molokai bar | Trading Post
* Mai-Kai history: Book and official website | Facebook page
* Google Maps: Explore The Mai-Kai in 3-D

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