How to Throw a Mardi Gras Party and Join the Fun

Let the Good Times Roll!

A masquerade mask nestled among confetti and streamers
Larry Washburn/Creative RF/Getty Images

The holidays have become a distant memory, we've returned to serious work, and the weather is gloomy. So, is it time to bury ourselves in a cave until the first crocus finally appears? Nah, not when the world's largest party is just waiting for us to join in the fun. Host a Mardi Gras party and "let the good times roll!"

The Mardi Gras season extends from January 6, the feast of the Epiphany, until it culminates on Mardi Gras Day, also known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.

Just imagine, down in New Orleans, it takes up to two months of parades and balls to get the party mood out of their system before the penitential season of Lent begins. They know how to party!

When you're in New Orleans, you can't help but feel festive. The food is fabulous, the local color is brilliant, the music is swinging, and the spirit of Mardi Gras extends throughout the year. People of all ages and economic groups join in the party because the parades are free for all to enjoy.

The traditions associated with Mardi Gras have become pretty well established since they began in the 1800's, and they will guide you in preparing for your party. Here are some of the things you must have at your Mardi Gras party.

How to Decorate:

Decorate in green, gold and purple, the traditional colors of the holiday.

You must play New Orleans brass band or Zydeco music.

Bedeck your guests in Mardi Gras beads.

The battle cry most often heard on the streets during the Mardi Gras parades is "give me something, mister," and most often that something is the strands of bedazzling beads tossed from the floats to the crowd.

The other most frequently tossed items from floats are doubloons, aluminum coin-like objects bearing the insignia of the float krewes.

Decorate your tables with an assortment of colorful doubloons and encourage your guests to take some home as souvenirs.

Dress in Masks, Costumes, Boas, Go Wild!

Give your guests feathered masks to wear, as you greet them at the door, in keeping with the traditions of the costume balls held throughout the season.

Encourage your guests to wear a Mardi Gras costume. The wilder it is, the better. One of the classic costumes is the jester.

If your friends aren't the costume types, suggest they wear a feather boa and a wacky wig or both to your party.

What to Serve:

Hurricanes are the cocktail of choice.

And last, but not least, you need to serve traditional New Orleans food!

Mardi Gras Menu For 10

Spicy Seafood Gumbo
Louisiana Jambalaya
Red Beans and Rice
Mardi Gras King Cake

Laissez les bon temps rouler!