It's time to head on down to Bourbon Street and get your Mardi Gras costume ready! Mardi Gras is a day for eating rich foods and partying before the ritual fasting that takes place during the season of Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday. Take your party from a 10 to an 11 by trying these unique Mardi Gras ideas for themes, decorations, foods, activities and costumes.
Theme Ideas for a Mardi Gras Party
When it comes to Mardi Gras, you can't go wrong with purple, yellow and gold. You might also add decorations like strings of lights and beads to make your party really come to life. If you want your Mardi Gras party to make a splash, try these themes.
Fat Tuesday (Traditional)
A traditional Mardi Gras party includes purple, gold, and green decorations. Consider serving Cajun-style rice, sausage, and seafood spiced with fresh black pepper and ground cayenne. You might set out gold candle holders, and string up purple and green Christmas lights. Create banners in purple and gold to hang on the walls. Place beads and masks everywhere around the house for people to grab. You could even create a special Mardi Gras centerpiece out of a mask for your table.
Masquerade of Mystery
Mardi Gras is all about the mask! Make it your focus with a masquerade of mystery party. Have everyone wear a fun and elaborate Mardi Gras mask that covers just their eyes or even their whole face. You can take the fun and mystery to a whole level by adding fun and elaborate purple, green and gold masks all through the house. Make it a formal affair complete with floor-length dresses, color boas, tuxedos and top hats. Keep foods simple with fun finger food with a Louisiana twist like mini crab cakes, crawfish dip and mini muffuletta sandwiches, a sandwich made with Sicilian sesame bread.
When it comes to a Roaring '20s Mardi Gras party, it is all about the outfit. Have your guests come in their best flapper dresses, suits, feathery head pieces and feather boas. Use masks and lots of feathers in purple, gold and green to give your décor a dramatic flair. Drape beads and boas around lamps and on tables around Champagne bottles. Put paper masks on the walls. You might even include signage like "Welcome to Bourbon St." Serve shrimp creole, slow-cooked ribs and jambalaya dip. Top the night off with martinis and some King Cake shots.
Mardi Gras is rooted in France, so consider a French theme for your Mardi Gras get-together. Decorate with the French and Mardi Gras flag, and add a French flair to your cuisine like French bread, cheese and wine. Hang banners saying "Célébration du Mardi Gras." Cover your tables with purple patterned fabric and sprinkle beads along with slips of paper with fun French phrases.
Light Up the Night
Go carnival style by encouraging your friends to wear outrageous outfits in bright neon Mardi Gras colors. Hand out green and purple glow sticks and write fun messages in black light ink. Rather than traditional party lights, use black lights to light up your party. Keep with Louisiana style foods but use fun colorful trays that will glow in the black lights making your king cakes looking particularly delectable.
Food Ideas for a Mardi Gras Party
No matter your theme, food is an important part of the celebration. To change up your party or just to give it a unique twist you can try adding these to the menu.
- Jambalaya - Jambalaya is a spicy, hearty and filling meal full of shrimp, sausage, rice and seasoning that can be made in a cast-iron skillet, guaranteed to kick up the heat in your party.
- Gumbo - Gumbo is a strong flavored stew that is filled meats, seafood and veggies served with rice.
- Seafood - Crawfish, shrimp, mussels, and scallops are fan favorites when it comes to Mardi Gras dishes.
- Side Dishes - Fried okra, rice, hush puppies, potato wedges, macaroni and cheese, grits, collard greens and cornbread make great side dishes.
Alcoholic beverages are not in short supply at most Mardi Gras celebrations, and there are plenty of Mardi Gras drinks you can make for this special celebration. Also plan to serve rum, vodka, and cocktails mixed with fruit juices.
Pecan pie and crème brûlée are a great way to end a Mardi Gras meal. You might also offer your guests some King Cake or traditional beignets.
Party Decoration Ideas for Mardi Gras
Go beyond just your normal balloons, streamers, beads and masks when it comes to your party décor. Think about unique elements that you might add to really make your party rock.
- Fleur-de-lis - Symbolizing light and life, add a fleur-de-lis in gold to your cakes or print them on your banners. They are also great additions to your Mardi Gras invitations.
- Crowns - With royalty abound, make your table decorations out of crowns or dress up your napkins with crown holders.
- Comedy and tragedy masks - Cut these out of purple and gold foil and sprinkle them on your food table.
- Peacock feathers - Add a few peacock feathers to a purple vase to have a fun and festive feel.
- Umbrellas - Turn your umbrella into a Mardi Gras mobile using beads and masks or just get a couple Mardi Gras colored umbrellas to spice up your festivities.
Activities To Entertain Mardi Gras Guests
If you are looking to keep guests engaged, you'll want include interactive games like casino games or pass the beads. However, you can have a more laid-back party with dancing and crafts. You can also have Mardi Gras coloring pages available for the kids.
Liven up the party and encourage guests to dance by putting on some fun tunes. Choose great dance tunes or even some classy, classic jazz. A few tunes and CDs to start your party with include Carnival Day by Dave Bartholomew and Mardi Gras Mambo by The Meters.
Provide guests with plain masks which are available to purchase from craft and party stores. Also provide feathers, paints, stick-on jewels, beads and a variety of embellishments where guests can decorate their own masks. Alternatively, use a Mardi Gras mask template that is ready to print in full color and have guests add their own embellishments.
Mardi Gras Scrapbook Pages
Help guests remember the evening by having a table set up so they can create a Mardi Gras scrapbook page to take home and fill with photos after the party. This can be a great keepsake for your party for years to come.
Ideas for Dressing for a Mardi Gras Party
Half of the fun of a Mardi Gras party is the outfit. There is no right or wrong way to dress for a Mardi Gras party, but most keep in the purple, green and gold color scheme. Add elements like feathers, tutus, tassels, top hats, big glasses, big bow ties, beads, and more. There are a few ideas costume ideas that go really well with Mardi Gras party, but remember having wild costumes with crazy elements is part of the fun. You never know, you might win the costume contest.
- Royalty - With a crown and a cape, you are ready to shine as the Mardi Gras king or queen. Several party stores also sell royalty costumes for both Mardi Gras kings and sexy queens.
- Jester - A popular choice by many, the jester is a fun trickster. You can make your own jester hat and cape, or you might buy an outfit online.
- Flapper - Flapper dresses in purple, green or gold and a feathery head dress along with your mask is a sure winner at any party. Top it off with some fishnets and a colorful boa and you are ready to wow them.
- Voodoo - Create a voodoo magic costume by using makeup to turn your face into a skull. Add a black top hat with a black overcoat. Bones and skulls along with some green and purple accents, really give you that magic feel.
Mardi Gras Merriment
You don't have to live in New Orleans or France to have a fun Mardi Gras party. With some careful preparation and a group of friends, you too can celebrate Fat Tuesday the right way.