Mardi Gras Party Ideas

Forget Superbowl Sunday, we’re gearing up for Mardi Gras. Well, we’re gearing up for both, actually. But this article is too late to be of any help for superbowl party ideas. So we’re talking about Mardi Gras party ideas. 

This year’s carnival celebration takes place from February 9 to the 13th, and you don’t need to be on Bourbon Street to have a great time. In fact, you don’t even need to leave your house–just borrow from our list of Mardi Gras party ideas, and you’ll throw one fine shindig. 

Mardi Gras Party Ideas: Decorations

First on our list of Mardi Gras party ideas: decorations. No party is complete without them, and a Mardi Gras celebration would be especially egregious without a little (or a lot) of splash. Be sure to include the following in your choice of decor:

Theme Colors

First and foremost, your theme colors should be green, purple, and gold. These are traditional Mardi Gras colors that have been around since the early 19th century. Purple is said to represent justice, green faith, and gold power. 

Throws

Mardi Gras “throws” are what you get hit with during the parades: plastic cups, doubloons, and, most notably, beads. These and other trinkets are tossed into the crowds from floats as they make their way down the streets. Make sure your party is prepped with plenty of the beads, at least. You can throw them if you want, or just drape them over anything and everything. Have a big bowl of them for guests to grab and adorn themselves with. Again, they should be purple, gold, and green. 

Mardi Gras Party Ideas: Food

Traditional foods eaten on Mardi Gras are dishes associated with New Orleans in general: gumbo, rice and beans, po boys, etouffee, etc. While these are delicious, they aren’t exactly easy to whip up or serve at a party. 

There are a few snacks you can have on the table, however, that are pretty simple and still very festive:

King Cake: Most grocery stores will have a Kings Cake for Mardi Gras–a yeast cake filled with nuts and raisins and decorated with the signature green, gold, and purple. King cakes are fun because they are also a game: a little plastic baby Jesus is hidden inside. Whoever has the slice with the figure in it will be king for the day. You can also make a King’s Cake yourself and refrigerate it ahead of time. Just be sure to tuck in the plastic figure after you bake it. It can melt, otherwise. 

Photo of a New Orleans King Cake with beads and plastic figure
That’s a King Cake. Look at that little guy, with his very long arms.  

Moon Pies: Moon Pies are actually another traditional New Orleans “throw.” Rumor has it, they started making their way into the carnival crowds in the 1950s. Up to that time, cracker jack boxes had been hurled at parade-goers, and they were quite pointy in places. As a round and fluffy dessert, the moon pies, apparently, presented less likelihood of blunt force trauma. Anyway, you can add “Moon Pies” to your list of Mardi Gras party ideas. They sell them pretty much everywhere or, again, you can make your own

French Quarter Cheese Spread: ooh la la, this is not your everyday cheese and crackers. This easy but decadent dish is made by combining cream cheese with onions and garlic, then topping it with a mess of sugary, syrupy pecans. It’s one of those dishes whose ingredients leave you scratching your head a bit (Worcestershire sauce??); but all together on a buttery cracker, this is an absolute delicacy. 

Fried Chicken: a general Southern staple, fried chicken is a welcome handheld item at any party. Lay out a mess of drumsticks, thighs, and breasts with a crispy, spicy breading and plenty of dipping sauces as a main dish for your Mardi Gras party. 

Mardi Gras Party Ideas for Drinks

There are plenty of staple cocktails associated with Mardi Gras, many of them containing (you guessed it) bourbon. But depending on the size of your party, the cost of spirits and mixers might be too steep to keep everyone in good supply. 

For our money, you can’t go wrong with beer for any party, really. In fact, lots of brewers (the most awesome ones) will come out with a carnival-themed brew just for the occasion. Shamless plug in 3…2…1:

Can of craft beer with jester on the front
Diebolt’s “Made There” French Pilsner has juicy flavors of citrus,spice, and grape–somewhat reminiscent of another Mardi Gras favorite: the daiquiri. But you can drink a heck of a lot more of these (responsibly, of course). 

Games

To round out our Mardi Gras party ideas list, how about some games? We already discussed the King Cake, but there are a few other activities that can help liven things up:

Mask-making: masks are another tradition associated with Mardi Gras and other carnival celebrations all over the world. You can have guests make their own at a little art station–just raid a craft store for feathers, sequins, faux gems, and the mask bases. Give your guests a time limit, and then have a vote to see whose is best. The winner gets a prize, like bragging rights and a pack of Made There French pilsner (see above). 

Best-dressed contest: you can also judge each other more by deciding who is best-dressed for the party. People who are not wearing purple and green and gold are not allowed to participate, no matter how iconic the drip (you’re dismissed, Gen Z). 

Bead toss: try to toss a string of beads around another person’s head. It is hilarious and also oddly satisfying whether or not you make it. It’s most fun if you do it in teams. Go back and forth to the end of a timer or a good song. The team with the most beads around each other’s necks by the end is the winner. Everyone else can accuse each other of having poor aim and weird head shapes for bead tossing. 

Mardi Gras in Denver

At Diebolt, We like to think of Mardi Gras as a month-long event as opposed to confining it to a few days. That’s why we’re hosting our own party on February 24th–complete with live music and a crawfish boil. Visit our Facebook page to check for ticket link updates. Laissez les bon temps rouler! 

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