Our Best Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas

This year's Cinco de Mayo party will be the best yet with these entertaining ideas spanning food, decorations and games.

Happy Cinco de Mayo with two Margarita Glasses on a Colorful Mexican BlanketSKODONNELL/GETTY IMAGES

Cinco de Mayo is more than just a day to drink margaritas. May 5 is the date that Mexico took victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the French-Mexican War. (It’s also separate from Mexican Independence Day—that’s September 16.) However, feel free to join the festivities with these Cinco de Mayo party ideas, from pork carnitas and piñatas to tequila and tres leches cake.

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cinco de mayo printable invitation
via letsmingleblog.com

Turn up the heat with printed invites

Email invites have their place, but to really take your party to the next level, send punny printable Cinco de Mayo invitations (like these “hey hot stuff” cards from Let’s Mingle) attached to a mini bottle of hot sauce. Metallic confetti or tinsel stuffed inside adds the final fiesta-worthy touch.

Pair it with these delectable Cinco de Mayo party recipes that can’t-be-beat.

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Mexican lace flag decor
Patricia Marroquin/Getty Images

Set the scene

Say cheese! Festive decorations make the party. Hang these traditional papel picado banners or pin them up to make a unique photo booth backdrop. Come up with a creative hashtag for any pictures your guests share online so you can look back on all the memories. Planning a small party? Here’s our collection of Cinco de Mayo recipes designed to serve four.

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A pinata suspended from a tree
John D. Buffington/Getty Images

Pick the perfect piñata

Go with a childhood favorite by hanging a piñata filled with a variety of candy and other little goodies. You can buy a classic donkey from the party store or make your own with crepe paper and cardboard (we love this trendy taco piñata from Studio DIY). We’ve even got a guide full of tips on how to make a piñata at home!

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Themed dinner party background - stock photo
pamelasphotopoetry/Getty Images

Coordinate your place settings

Skip the plain paper plates in favor of a fun alternative like these cute cactus plates. You can pair them with similarly patterned cups and utensils, or mix and match colors and prints for a more festive feel.

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Mexican food flat lay - top view of chips, salsas, fresh ingredients and margaritas
Kristen Prahl/Getty Images

Plan games ahead of time

Every host knows that a good party shouldn’t be planned down to the last minute. But it’s still a good idea to have some backup games and entertainment in case there’s a lull. This Pin the Sombrero on the Llama game is silly, fun and easy to put up at a moment’s notice.

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Taco Board2 Tohcom21 Pu6005 E11 19 3b Scaled E1639068855479
TMB Studio

Let guests make their meal

Did someone say tacos? Set up a build your own taco bar so everyone can pick and choose their favorite toppings. Make sure you have vegetarian options and plenty of homemade guacamole. Get started with these fabulous taco recipes.

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Mexican golden tequila shots
happy_lark/Getty Images

Opt for bright colors

When it comes to Cinco de Mayo party ideas, the brighter and bolder the colors, the better (think hot pink, citrus orange, lime green and vibrant blue). Giant tissue paper blooms, like these fiesta flowers, look gorgeous hung around the entryway.

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street dances of salsa in one of the central squares in Havana, where both the locals and the tourists can take the dance floor and dance till they drop

Break out the salsa

And we aren’t talking about pico de gallo (although that’s a must, too!). Get your blood pumping by asking everyone to join you on the dance floor for a little cha-cha-cha. You can hire a professional salsa dancer to teach you all the moves, or simply follow a tutorial on YouTube.

And when you’re done, kick back with our favorite salsa recipes.

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Tres Leches Cake
TMB Studio

Don’t forget dessert

After salty chips and savory tacos, guests are going to be craving something sweet. Treat them to a classic Mexican dessert: tres leches cake. This cake is creamy and rich—guests will be begging you for the recipe when the party is over.

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fiesta favor tags
via merchant

Keep the memories going 

The party doesn’t have to stop when the night is over. Send each person home with a mini bottle of tequila (wrapped in one of these adorable fiesta tags)—all they have to do is add lime and salt to make their own margaritas. Be an extra helpful host and include directions on how to make margaritas at home.

Amanda Tarlton
Amanda has more than a decade of media experience, specifically in product testing in the cooking and lifestyle space. As a freelancer for Taste of Home, Amanda writes mostly about foodie finds, home and lifestyle goods and cooking and baking utensils that make life easier (and more fun!). Outside of freelancing, Amanda is the executive editor of commerce at Field & Stream.
When she's not working, Amanda is on the lookout for the best pizzas in town or testing out secret menu items at restaurants and coffee shops.