How to Throw the Most Indulgent, Over-the-Top Mardi Gras Party (Slideshow)
How to Throw the Most Indulgent, Over-the-Top Mardi Gras Party
If you love the indulgence and insanity of Mardi Gras but can’t make it down to Louisiana, luckily you can still throw a killer Mardi Gras party at home. Because this is a holiday all about excess before the somber occasion that is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, you should take everything to the next level.
Create the Perfect Guest List
Of course, you can’t have a party without guests, but who you invite to your over-the-top Mardi Gras party is of the upmost importance. You’ll want your friends who are always down for a good time and aren’t afraid of a stiff drink. Don’t be afraid to invite a lot of people (even if your home is small). The population of New Orleans more than doubles during Mardi Gras, so if the city can handle it, so can your home.
Decorate in Traditional Mardi Gras Colors
If you know anything about Mardi Gras, you know that its colors are gold, purple, and green, representing power, justice, and faith. Use these bright, bold colors in your Mardi Gras party décor. Because this holiday (and party) is one of excess, don’t be afraid to deck every inch of your home in these hues. Line your walls with faux New Orleans storefronts, hang spiraling streamers from the ceiling, and get cups, plates, and utensils in these colors.
Fill Your Home With the Symbols of Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is filled with deep symbolism, so as a part of your over-the-top decorations, don’t forget these key elements. Scatter colorful dubloons across your tablescape, hang the masks of comedy and tragedy on your wall, and channel the spirit of flambeau carriers with lit torches. Just be careful not to mix too much fire with alcohol.
Create a Party-Ready Jazz Playlist
If there’s something New Orleans is known for more than its massive Mardi Gras bash, it’s jazz music. To get your guests on the dance floor, play the music of Trombone Shorty, Preservation hall Jazz Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Dr. John. Trust us: this electrifying jazz ain’t just “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
Dress Up (and Encourage Guests to Do the Same)
Mardi Gras is all about expressing yourself through bold costumes, so dress to the nines and have your guests do likewise. Sparkling bikini tops, feathered headpieces, bow ties and top hats, skeleton ensembles, and fringed flapper dresses are all fair game. You can’t be too crazy or too bold for this celebration.
Greet Your Guests With Beads
No Mardi Gras party would be complete without beads, of course. The plastic beaded necklaces that are thrown out during the Mardi Gras parade are delightfully cheap, so when your guests arrive give them plenty of strands to wear around their necks. Throughout the night, keep tossing out beads for your guests to catch, or give them up as prizes for a great shot poured, a particularly awesome dance move, or for really any reason.
Eye masks are a true icon of Mardi Gras. At your party, supply basic gold, purple, and green masks and supplies for your guests to jazz them up. Set out a crafting table with glue guns, different colors of feathers, sequins, glitter, jewels, and fake flower blooms. Hold a contest to see who can create the most elaborate mask, and the winner can either receive a prize or be crowned Mardi Gras royalty.
Serve New Orleans-Inspired Cuisine
Creole food is unique in American cuisine, and it’s based right in the heart of Mardi Gras country. Fill your Mardi Gras party menu with New Orleans’ favorite dishes, such as jambalaya, fried oysters, catfish, étouffée, and beignets. Remember: this party is all about excess, so make sure your buffet is fully stocked and that your guests’ plates are overflowing with food.
Don’t Forget the King Cake
King cake is a Mardi Gras tradition. Basic in its flavors (cinnamon and honey) and its ring shape, the top is decorated in Mardi Gras’ traditional gold, purple, and green colors. What makes king cake so unique is a small, plastic baby hidden in it. Whoever finds the baby is supposedly blessed with luck in the coming year. No Mardi Gras party would be complete without this dessert, so be sure to bake one up or buy one.
Mix Up New Orleans-Inspired Cocktails
We all know why you really want to throw a New Orleans party: to drink, of course. Load up on plenty of liquor, beer, and wine for your guests to have one last proper shindig before the reflection of Lent. Have a stocked bar filled with Mardi Gras favorite cocktails, including the Hurricane, Sazerac, and Grasshopper.