Mardi Gras Party Ideas

Mardi Gras Party
Mardi Gras Party

Mardi Gras and New Orleans are a party on a grand scale that is known world-wide.  Re-create a piece of that atmosphere at home for a fun time for everyone.  This party theme is very versatile and can apply to small or large crowds, casual or formal parties.  Masks, beads, boas and hats are all great accessories that get your guests involved in the theme.  The standard Mardi Gras color scheme of purple (representing justice), green (for faith) and gold (for power) also gives a lot of flexibility for decorations (I like to expand the color scheme to include blues as well).

Mardi Gras Party Decor

Hang Beads In Trees

Mardi Gras Party |
Lighted palm trees with beads hanging from the branches set the Mardi Gras mood outside.

Before the guests even get into the house, give them a taste of what is to come with the lighted palm trees sporting Mardi Gras beads* (if you have been to New Orleans, you know that beads hang from all kinds of things, even when it isn’t Mardi Gras).

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Beads hanging from the branches

Hang Paper Lanterns In Mardi Gras Colors

Mardi Gras paper lanterns
Mardi Gras paper lanterns

Purple, green, blue and yellow paper lanterns* hung from the ceiling at different levels create an interesting ceiling-scape.  I used mostly 24″ lanterns with  occasional 9″ ones to fill in gaps.  Tie beads* to the bottom of each lantern to add to the Mardi Gras atmosphere.

Mardi Gras Party |
Lanterns hanging from the ceiling with lights

I also added plug-in light bulbs* to some of the large lanterns to add lighting.  In order to maintain the color scheme (and not overwhelm the room with too much light), I used purple and blue light bulbs inside the lanterns.

Cover Your Chairs

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Gold and purple table cloths and chair covers

Use table cloths and chair covers* in purple and gold to carry on the color scheme.  You can get pretty much any color if you shop at a wedding supply store (and they’re usually less expensive than regular linens).

Create Colorful Centerpieces

Mardi Gras Party |
Gold, green and purple centerpieces

The centerpieces are created on top of turquoise chargers* using Christmas ornaments, beads, masks, sprinkled “gem stones” and a candle with a pretty peacock feather design.

These are all really inexpensive items that are easy to put together for a colorful centerpiece.

Decorate A Mardi Gras Christmas Tree

Purple feathers in the tree are a little over the top...just like Mardi Gras
Purple feathers in the tree are a little over the top…just like Mardi Gras

Since my Mardi Gras party was a New Year’s Eve party, my Christmas tree was still up. Rather than take it down, I just made it part of the Mardi Gras party decor.

Purple ostrich feathers in the Christmas tree along with purple ornaments added to the color theme.

Make Feather Vases

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Feather vases in Mardi Gras colors

Use purple*, green* and blue feathers* in tall vases* as dramatic Mardi Gras centerpieces for your tables.

Find out how to make these feather centerpieces HERE.

You can even fill the vases with some left over Mardi Gras beads to give them a little more flair.

Use Masks For Mardi Gras Party Decorations

Mardi Gras Party |
Christmas ornaments make great centerpiece fillers

Use some of your masks with Christmas ornaments in the Mardi Gras colors, beads, and Mardi Gras colored candles to create more colorful decorations.

Create a Peacock Tablescape

Mardi Gras Party |
Mardi gras tablescape

Use turquoise chargers*, gold and white plates*, and purple napkins*.

Brighten up the rest of the tablescape by adding purple ribbons, turquoise and gold candles, mercury-glass candle holders* and appropriately colored Christmas ornaments and crystals.

Peacock napkin ring with gold and turquoise

Create peacock napkin holders by clipping peacock Christmas ornaments* onto a standard gold-colored napkin ring*.

See our post on Creating a Peacock Tablescape for more information on how to put this together.

Mardi Gras Party Props

Supply Beads To Wear

A candle tree holds Mardi Gras party beads
A candle tree holds Mardi Gras beads

Give all of your guests Mardi Gras beads* in purple, green and gold so that they feel part of the festivities.

Creating a bead station by the front door makes it easy for everyone to grab some as they walk in.

You can make it look like part of the decor by hanging them from a candle tree*…which also makes them easy to access.

Mardi Gras Hats

Mardi Gras hats

Brightly colored “gangster hats“* in wild patterns were a big hit with the people at my Mardi Gras party. Since they come in so many different colors, everyone can find one that matches their outfit.

Mardi Gras Masks

Mardi Gras masquerade masks*

A Mardi Gras party wouldn’t feel right without masquerade masks. A lot of people will bring their own, but for those who don’t, you may want to keep some inexpensive Mardi Gras masks* handy.

That way anyone who doesn’t bring one can still fit in with the theme.

Mardi Gras Party Cocktails

The Hurricane

Hurricane from | Mardi Gras Party Ideas

Hurricane from

New Orleans has some signature drinks that are easy to make and add the appropriate party atmosphere

Hurricanes seem to be served at every bar on Bourbon Street and make a great addition to your Mardi Gras party.  Serve in a classic hurricane glass for more impact.

See the recipe at

Mint Julep

Mint Julep from | Mardi Gras Party Ideas
Mint Julep from

Don’t let the name “Mint Julep” fool you…this is not a “sissy” drink.

See the recipe at to try Emeril’s take on this classic.

The Sazerac

Sazerac from | Mardi Gras Party Ideas
Sazerac from

The Sazerac is a classic New Orleans drink.

Find the recipe at the Mardi Gras Day web site.

Jello Shots

King Cake Jello Shots from | Mardi Gras Party Ideas
King Cake Jello Shots from

Serve these jello shots in the Mardi Gras colors to add extra flair to your party!  Click here to see the recipe at

Mardi Gras Party Food

Similar to the drinks, New Orleans has some great food options that are immediately associated with that area, and the number of world-renowned chefs that come from the area let you know that they know what they are doing when it comes to food.

Since New Orleans is located on the ocean, many of the recipes include seafood (so that may be a consideration if you and your friends are not seafood lovers):


Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a mixture of shrimp, chicken and sausage with rice and some spices thrown in. It lasts for a long time in a crock pot so it’s a great party option!

Click here to see our Shrimp, Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya recipe.

Shrimp Cocktail

Classic Shrimp Cocktail
Classic Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp cocktail is a traditional dish that is easy to make and is popular in New Orleans.  Buy a shrimp ring that comes with the sauce (just make sure to thaw it before the party) or make your own shrimp cocktail…either way works well.

Crab Cakes

Another Mardi Gras party food favorite are crab cakes.

I usually buy the Phillips Seafood mini crab cakes from Costco and just pop them in the oven. But if you have more time you can also make your own.

Mardi Gras King Cake

Mardi Gras King Cake from the
Mardi Gras King Cake from the

Mardi Gras King Cake is a little time consuming to make, but it wouldn’t be a Mardi Gras party without one!  Get the recipe from the Food Network web site.

Mardi Gras is a colorful and over-the-top event, so don’t be afraid to go all out for your party and re-create that vibe.

For more ideas, see our Mardi Gras Party board on Pinterest.

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