Mardi Gras is just around the corner, which can only mean one thing: those who aren’t attending the big, extravagant celebration are most likely throwing their own Mardi Gras themed party. While some go and experience the national holiday where it originated from, that might not exactly be an option for others, whether distance, time, being able to afford such a trip, or any other obstacle prevents them from attending. In this case, throwing a bash of their own is the next best thing. If this happens to be your case, look no further. Here is how you can host the best Mardi Gras themed party that can look as if you and your guests are experiencing this festive holiday first-hand.
The first thing that’s noticed about a themed party is the setting. It’s not going to feel like Mardi Gras if all that are hung up on your walls are a few balloons and streamers won’t do this national holiday justice. The first thing that should be considered is the colors that are associated with it. Make your house or apartment a color bomb of purple, green and gold, which symbolize justice, faith, and power respectively. You can even use the colors as a way to confetti your centerpieces. Throw them in with candles (preferably battery-powered) to add that extra sparkle to the confetti bombs.
Another tradition to keep in mind is a masquerade, which was first used as a way for parade-goers to basically escape everyday reality. Set up a few stacks of different colored masks in different corners of the room so that all guests can participate. There’s no saying you can’t obtain a flashier mask for yourself considering you’re hosting this gala. And there’s no saying your masks can’t be a cake topper, either!
And, of course, no party would be complete without a photo booth to keep the memories alive. All it would take is obtaining some Mardi Gras themed props (which can easily be bought in bulk) and setting up a backdrop for you and your friends to strike a pose as if your Mardi Gras themed party has taken you down Bourbon Street. It can be something as simple as a bedsheet, or a background that still sparkles the pink, green and gold beads.
Beads, beads, beads
Once the tradition of the big, extravagant parades came in the picture of Mardi Gras, so did the throwing of purple, green and gold beads. The original thing being thrown were Zulu coconuts, but that soon dissolved after the fear of someone getting hurt with them came into question (if you’ve seen any cartoon ever, you already know how that will end). Though one non-tradition includes women flashing their breasts to obtain them, having a handful, maybe even piles of them can save the disturbance of creepy dudes having an excuse to ask someone to yell “Hey, show your boobs!”. This way, all you have to do is ask.
You don’t even have to wear the trinkets either. If there are too many of them to even hand out, create your own coasters on circled pieces of felt to maintain the color that helps keep this festive holiday alive. That’s a fun DIY project in itself, and it shows the love and effort that a host can put into a party.
Food & Drink
This probably goes without saying, but you can’t throw a party without food. And, if you’re of age, you certainly can’t throw a party without alcohol. Especially a Mardi Gras themed party. This is the perfect opportunity to really channel into the southern roots of New Orleans (which, in all honesty, is its own culture). All the seafood you could possibly imagine including crawfish boiled to perfection, shrimp, and grits, and gumbo bring you and your party guests to this upbeat city without leaving your home. It certainly wouldn’t be right if the colorful King cake wasn’t served. Going back to the throwing of beads tradition, the original items that were distributed were Zulu coconuts. Why not prepare dishes made with it too?
As for beverages, there are so many directions you can take whether you want to channel your inner mixologist or more of a beer person. Especially for a Mardi Gras themed party. Set up a Bloody Mary bar and serve city famous cocktail like Peach Bellinis, Mint Juleps, even Mardi Totem Poles. The colors of Mardi Gras make the perfect excuse to create your own Jell-O shots. Typically, a cake flavored vodka is the way to go, this way the flavors don’t have to be mashed together, and it can easily go with the food coloring layers on top of one another. If mixing isn’t quite your style, serve a taste of Louisiana with the many choices of Abita beer.
Music & Entertainment
The only thing that stands out more than the annual celebration held in New Orleans is the music scene that compliments the city, even before Mardi Gras became their national holiday. And, since Mardi Gras is held around Carnival season, it’s a no-brainer that the tunes should match the festivity surrounding it. And a Mardi Gras themed party is no exception. They’re most associated with many forms of jazz; smooth, big band, the list goes on. Though jazz technically isn’t the main genre of music associated with the festival, Mardi Gras was celebrated with a ballroom waltz accompanied by a brass band that adds that extra rhythm in the earlier years. Soon after, the Zulu Club introduced second line music incorporating. Either way, it never hurts to put a little bit of Louis Armstrong and Trombone Shorty to your party playlist. And, to really put the party-goers in the parade without actually being in it, you could turn on the parade on television. Depending on the sound system you have, it can really make it seem all the more real.