How to Throw a Mardi Gras Party

Millions of people flock each year to New Orleans to celebrate one of the biggest events in the city: Mardi Gras. This holiday revolves around parades, costumes and the occasional alcoholic beverage. The problem, however, is that many of us can’t afford or don’t have the time to fly down to the Big Easy for main event. While you may not be in New Orleans for Fat Tuesday fun, you can bring the parades to your living room or backyard with a rental projector, some creativity, and a few simple props.


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    Find out the date of Mardi Gras this year. In New Orleans, the Carnival season begins on King's Day (January 6th), and continues through Mardi Gras Day. A quick online search will let you know when to expect Fat Tuesday this year.
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    Plan a date for your party. Since Mardi Gras is always on a Tuesday, you will probably want to host your party the weekend beforehand.
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    Create your guest list and send out invitations.
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    Mardi Gras revelers usually dress up, especially on Fat Tuesday. Make your Mardi Gras party a masquerade, and ask people to wear masks and costumes. You can pick a theme like a 17th century ball (the attire of choice for many of the Mardi Gras balls in New Orleans), favorite celebrity or even characters from comic books or movies. Or, you can simply ask that your guests come in their favorite costume without giving the party a specific theme.
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    Consider coordinating a costume contest for your guests.
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    Plan the food. Traditional food during Mardi Gras includes hot slow-cooked dishes like gumbo, red beans and rice, chili or jambalaya. Finger food is always welcome, as well as any food that is purple, green or gold. A King Cake is traditional.
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    There are many ways to decorate your home or event hall for the party. You can hang purple, green and gold streamers and beads along fences or the stairs. Add a Mardi Gras faux chandelier to the ceiling. Have fun -- that’s what Mardi Gras is all about.
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    Don’t forget to order your screen and projector, and have it set up beforehand. You can let the sound from the parades play, or download some traditional Mardi Gras music to use as the parade and party soundtrack.


  • A fun idea is to get enough beads for everyone coming to the party, which you can hand to them to wear as they walk in.
  • You can use canned cinnamon rolls to fashion a King Cake, a ring-shaped dough-like cake featuring purple, green and gold frosting.
  • Non-alcoholic drinks would include punch or sodas, or if you are serving alcoholic drinks, you could whip up some Hurricanes, Sazeracs, Vieux Carre or other New Orleans mixed drinks.
  • Many of the larger Mardi Gras parades are usually televised, or you can download streaming video of the parades and crowds online. If you have a rental projector, you can hook it up and use the passing floats, marching bands and noisy crowds as background for your own carnival party.
  • Some extra ideas are some Cajun steamed shrimp, a dark rue gumbo, crawfish tails (if correct season) and various Cajun seasoned seafood.
  • When throwing a Mardi Gras party, you do need certain things like purple, green and gold decorations, beads and some traditional New Orleans meals.
  • You can order Mardi Gras decorations, masks and beads from online sellers if they are not available from local sellers.


  • Please encourage your guests to drink responsibly and use a designated driver.

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Categories: Parties | Holidays and Traditions