The Best Mardi Gras Party Ideas for a Family-Friendly Bash

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Just because you're not in New Orleans doesn't mean you can't celebrate Fat Tuesday! Our Mardi Gras party ideas will help you throw a bash that's fun for all ages.

Mardi Gras is a fun holiday with vibrant traditions and delicious Louisiana-inspired cuisine, so why not get your friends and family together for a Mardi Gras-themed party? Even if you’re hundreds of miles away from New Orleans, you can host a Mardi Gras bash that will bring the celebration to you.

How to Throw a Mardi Gras Party

You’ll need festive decorations, party games and a spread of delicious food.

How to Decorate for Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is known for its bright, tricolor decorations. The traditional Mardi Gras colors are purple to symbolize justice, green to symbolize faith and gold to symbolize power, and any good party will decorate using this color scheme.

Here are a couple fun ideas:

  • Place purple, green and gold balloons around the party area.
  • Use a metallic backdrop ($10) as a makeshift photo station.
  • Set any color-changing smart lightbulbs ($50) to purple and green.
  • Look for a Mardi Gras piñata at your local party store.
  • Use one of these Mardi Gras DIY centerpieces to decorate your table.

Don’t forget the staple of any good Mardi Gras event: bead necklaces ($8). The metallic necklaces are a staple at Mardi Gras parades, and your family will love layering them on.

What to Serve at Your Mardi Gras Bash

Once you have your Mardi Gras decorations squared away, it’s time to plan the menu. Good food is an essential for Mardi Gras—after all, it literally means Fat Tuesday!

Your menu will vary depending on whether you’re hosting a brunch, mid-afternoon party or nighttime soiree, but you’ll probably want to serve up some New Orleans-inspired recipes to pay homage to the event’s cultural roots. This could mean heaping platters of beans and rice, bowls of jambalaya or gumbo or a delicious seafood dish! Here’s a list of our best recipes for Mardi Gras to give you inspiration.

Traditional New Orleans King Cake; Overhead camer angle; White russian speckled surface; champagne; gold accents; gold flatware; Mardi Gras decorations; baby figureTaste of Home

What about a Mardi Gras dessert? In addition to foods like beignets or cupcakes, you simply have to serve a traditional New Orleans king cake—it’s a Mardi Gras staple. The cakes typically have a swirl of cinnamon inside and a sweet glaze over top, and it’s tradition to bake a tiny baby figurine ($6) into the treat. Whoever ends up with the baby in their slice is supposed to have a year of good luck and prosperity—and in many circles, they’re also responsible for hosting the party next year.

We can explain more about what is a king cake.

Editor’s Tip: Use this guide to figure out exactly how much food to serve.

Of course, Hurricanes are the unofficial drink of Mardi Gras, but if you’re hosting a party with kids, you can opt for a big pitcher of virgin Hurricanes for everyone to enjoy.

Fun Mardi Gras Activities for the Whole Family

You can keep the party going all day—or night—with these fun Mardi Gras games and activities:

Mardi Gras Mask Decorating

Masquerade masks are another staple of the holiday, so why not create a mask-decorating station? You’ll need plain masks ($10) and decorating supplies like paint, glue, glitter (if you dare) and Mardi Gras-colored feathers ($6). Kids and adults alike will have a blast creating fun masks to wear during the party.

Scavenger Hunt

Another way to get everyone involved in the festivities is with a selfie scavenger hunt! You can purchase scavenger hunt instructions ($12) or create your own list of mandatory selfies—in the photo booth, with the King Cake baby, wearing at least 10 necklaces, etc. At the end of the party, the person who completed the most selfies gets a prize to take home.

Pin the Mask on the Jester

You can put a festive twist on the traditional party game of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” by purchasing or printing a cutout of a Mardi Gras jester. Your guests can take turns getting blindfolded and spun around, and then they have to try to get the jester’s mask onto his face.

With these Mardi Gras party ideas, you’ll be able to put together an unforgettable bash for your family and friends. Just don’t be surprised if it becomes an annual tradition!

Desserts Perfect for a Mardi Gras Party
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Camryn Rabideau
Camryn is Taste of Home contributor who specializes in home décor, product reviews and general lifestyle content. She holds a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Rhode Island and jumps at any opportunity to tap into her design expertise.