M· Mardi Gras will be hear before you know it–so now is the time to start planning your party. If you’ve hosted a traditional party before, you may be ready to find a more focused theme — a focused theme makes it easier to design your party decorations, food and activities. You might want to consider one of these Mardi Gras party themes:
o Travel to New Orleans–You can find street signs and party backgrounds for the Bourbon Street area at many online party vendors. You might want to set up a bistro patio set in your party space to get your guests in the mood for a Nawlins party. Spread some sightseeing brochures for the city around the room to tweak your guests’ interest.
o Travel to Caribbean–celebrating in the Caribbean means getting out the straw hats, flip-flops, and bathing suits. Set up your party with a beach scene and have lots of music and tasty seafood. The pre-Lenten feasting is accompanied by dancing and colorful costumes and rhythmic live music. Popular traditions include wearing masks and costumes, playing pranks, sports competitions, and parades.
o Travel to Rio–Rio de Janerio is a lively place to celebrate life! The typical Rio carnival parade is filled with revelers, floats, and adornments from more than 200 samba schools, groups of local neighbors united in some way to attend carnival together. Set up your party space like a street festival with lots of space for dancing. You might want to divide your guests into samba schools who come up with fun ways to present group performances.
o Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans–present your own Mardi Gras parade in your neighborhood or in a community building if it’s too cold outdoors. Ask your guests to come in Mardi Gras colors or costumes. Divide them into parade krewes and provide them with lots of green, gold and purple decorations with which they can create their own floats. Then turn on the music and let the parade begin!
o Mardi Gras Southern Style–Southerners are known for their gracious elegance and their delicious food. You might want to pull out the crystal, silver and lace tablecloths for a dinner party and celebrate Mardi Gras with great dignity. Don’t forget to serve Southern specialties like mint juleps, pralines and pecan pie!
o Mardi Gras Masquerade–If you love to dress up in costume and enjoy the anonymity of wearing a fancy mask, then a masquerade is for you. Encourage your guests to try to disguise themselves well, so that guessing who is who becomes part of the fun. Have a big reveal at the height of the evening.
o Mardi Gras Formal Ball–if you have a large party space, host a dance. Make it a gala–ask your guests to dress in formal wear or fancy dress costumes like the folk in Mardi Gras krewes do. You can elect a king and queen and have the “court” of quests participate In a processional to start the dance off.
o Crawfish Boil–If you live in a warm climate, you might be able to host your crawfish boil outdoors on your deck or patio. You can even have real Louisiana crawfish shipped to you for the party.This should be a casual event with lots of beer and paper towels.
o Cajun Culture–Cajuns are the Louisiana descendants of French-speaking Catholic settlers from coastal Canada and Maine in the late 1750’s. They have developed their own language and way of doing things over the centuries, and their folk ways, music, foods and festivals are casual and fun. Have a street party with music, dancing and food!
o Voodoo–if you think your guests would be fascinated by the underworld culture of voodoo, this is the theme for you. Research the origins of voodoo and its tenets so you’ll understand how to set up your party scene. You may be able to use some Halloween and Day of the Dead party décor as you set up a voodoo shop or altar for atmosphere.
o Go Crazy with Purple, Green and Gold–the three Mardi Gras colors can be the focal point of your party–ask guests to come dressed in one or all of them, and make a big splash with an infusion of these colors everywhere. Lots of balloons and streamers can fill up a space visually for a party like this.o French Royalty–New Orleans’ beginnings go back to French settlers, so French customs and symbols feature strongly in their Mardi Gras celebrations. You might want to host an elegant dinner party using crowns and fleurs-de-lis in your decorating and serving French foods for your meal. French champagne might be just the thing to drink.
o Carnival Costume–in Rio, Carnival is celebrated with community parades and parties, and bright over-the-top costumes worn by groups that dance are highlights of these events. You might want to host a parade of your own in the neighborhood and encourage your guests to make their own crazy costumes. You could have a contest with prizes for the most unusual outfit, best use of feathers, or other crazy categories.