Mardi Gras Party Guide

Freebies & Fun
The party guide helps plan a themed Mardi Gras event with ideas, tips in the food departments, creative crafts, and clever conversation chats, menus, recipes, cookies, cakes and food labels. Free printable games, puzzles, place name cards and coloring pages.


Mardi Gras is an annual global celebration; one celebrated through vivid costumes, lively parades, and—of course—lots of toe-tapping music.

Rhythmic, tuneful and loud are adjectives that should define any Mardi Gras playlist. They could include songs such as:

French Quarter Stomp by The Hit Crew
La Louisiana Boogie by The Hit Crew
When the Saints Go Marching In by Louis Armstrong
Alexander’s Ragtime Band by Irving Berlin
Hot Hot Hot by Buster Poindexter
Celebrate by Madonna
Conga by Miami Sound Machine
Macarena by Los del Rio
La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin
Do You Know What It Means (to Miss New Orleans) by Louis Armstrong
Some of these Mardi Gras playlist songs serve to capture and celebrate New Orleans culture

; others are simply great party songs that everyone will enjoy.

Regardless of what songs the host chooses, the perfect Mardi Gras celebration also will include its share of fun and colorful party supplies. These could include tulle and tissue banners in festive hues like royal blue, emerald green, scarlet red and sheer, shimmering gold; mini Mardi Gras plastic masks in a variety of designs, that could serve as table settings or take home party favors; as well as ribbons and glittery streamers to complete the party scene. Inspirational suggestion: Go to bed early so that you can get enough sleep before the demands of the next day. Good organization is the key to planning an occasion with less stress, so may lists and check things off as you go. Group activities and games can be used to keep the guests entertained while keeping them busy at the same time.

A Mardi Gras party is a great time for homemade party supplies such as piñatas, Mardi Gras beads, masks and party streamers. Actually, making Mardi Gras homemade party supplies is not as difficult as it sounds. Homemade party supplies such as Mardi Gras piñatas, tambourines, candles, Mardi Gras masks and Mardi Gras banners will make your party special and be a lot of fun for the guests. Homemade Mardi Gras party supplies such as costume jewelry, beads and earrings may become keepsakes for years to come.

Homemade Mardi Gras piñatas are festive and easy to make. Therefore, making a homemade piñata does not take much time and in the end it will receive great reviews. Most often Mardi Gras piñatas need to be designed and prepared prior to actual Mardi Gras party. To make a piñata, take a large balloon and cover it with strips of Paper Mache dipped in a flour glue mixture of water and flour. Then put strips of the Paper Mache on the sides of the balloon using the flour glue (which is made by mixing flour and water). When it has hardened stick a pin in it and burst the balloon. Then, the piñata can be painted and decorated for the Mardi Gras party. Finally, cut a hole in the side, fill it with treats, replace the hole and be prepared for a Mardi Gras celebration.


Since not everyone can be in New Orleans, having a Mardi Gras theme cake is one option to consider. Begin with the basics of the planning and work from there. Take for one idea these direction by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and don’t forget the party supplies. Next grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans, round is best. Take a small sauce pan sitting on low heat and melt ? cup of butterscotch chips in ¼ cup of water, stir until smooth, then allow to cool for a moment. Now with a large bowl proceed to combine flour, remaining cake ingredients and the melted butterscotch mixture at a low speed, until moist. At medium speed continue to beat for 3 minutes. Once done, pour the completed mix into the pans. This will need to bake for 20 to 30 minutes, checking with center with a wooden pick, looking for it come out clean. Allow 10 minutes to cool on a wire rack. Now in a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch, stir in water, half and half, butterscotch chips and an egg. Mixture will thicken as it cooks over medium heat, stirring. Cool and continue to follow the directions.

Celebrated in Paris since the Middle Ages, Mardi Gras began long before Europeans came to the New World, but came to America in 169. French explorer, Iberville, having sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, launched an expedition up the Mississippi River. On March 3 (the day Mardi Gras was being celebrated in France) of 1699, Iberville had set up a camp on the west bank of the river about 60 miles south of where New Orleans is today. In honor of this important day, Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras.

In the late 1700's, masked balls and festivals were common in New Orleans while it was under French rule, but when New Orleans came under Spanish rule, the custom was banned. In 1803 New Orleans came under the U.S. flag, and the prohibition against masked festivals continued until 1823 when the Creole populace convinced the governor to permit masked balls. In 1827 street masking was again legalized.

During the early 1800's public celebrations of Mardi Gras centered around maskers on foot, in carriages and on horseback. The first documented parade occurred in 1837. Unfortunately, Mardi Gras gained a bad reputation because of violent behavior attributed to maskers during the 1840's and 50's. The situation became so bad that the press began calling for an end to the celebration.

In 1857, the Comus organization, comprised of six New Orleans residents, saved Mardi Gras. Former members of the Cowbellians, an organization which had put on New Years New Year's parades in Mobile since 1831, they added beauty to Mardi Gras, and demonstrated that it could be a safe and festive event. Comus was the first organization to use the term krewe to describe itself. Comus also started the customs of having a secret Carnival society, having a parade with a unifying theme with floats, and of having a ball after the parade. Comus was also the first organization to name itself after a mythological character. The celebration of Mardi Gras was interrupted by the Civil War, but in 1866 Comus returned.

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Mardi Gras History, Facts and Educational Resources

Add an educational twist to any birthday party, holiday celebration, or theme party.  Share the history of the Mardi Gras theme to the guests.  Play some free printable educational party games.  Shhh don't tell the kids that they are learning!

Way before the Europeans arrived in the New World, the history of the Mardi Gras began. Lupercalia was a circus-type festival, celebrated by the ancient Romans every mid-February. It began with the decision to incorporate some of the pagan rituals into the new Christianity, instead of attempting to abolish the pagan faith completely. This way it was believed that Romans would sooner accept the newer religious.

This carnival took place just before the penance of Lent. The period of abandonment and merriment was celebrated, and that gave the ancient customs a sort of Christian interpretation.

Iberville, who was a French explorer brought Mardi Gras from Paris, where it had been celebrated for hundreds of years. It was 1699 when it was brought to America, and the first one was set up on the Mississippi River on March 3rd, approximately 60 miles south of New Orleans, and he named this site Point du Mardi Gras.

Wearing masks in the streets was outlawed when New Orleans was ruled by Spain, but in 1803 it was finally under the United States flag, and by 1827 the masked balls were legalized once again. Soon after, the celebration developed a bad reputation due to violence in the streets, and by the 1850’s, an end to Mardi Gras was suggested. Six believers that the Mardi Gras could be celebrated peacefully kept it going with floats and other community driven events. In 1871 the King Cake tradition began wherein a young woman was presented with a golden bean hidden in a cake. That woman was to be the first Queen of Mardi Gras.

A parade was organized to be held during the day, and the anthem to Mardi Gras became “If Ever I Cease To Love.”

During 1918 and 1919, the First World War resulted in the cancellation of Mardi Gras. The celebration also suffered during the Prohibition, as well as The Great Depression. It prospered once again in the 1940’s, but was once again canceled during the Second World War. By the 1960’s, Mardi Gras had national attention, with huge, colorful floats and Hollywood celebrities. By the 1980’s, over half a million people attended Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday. These were great times for Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The right favors given to the guests will allow them to remember that day many years from now. Never underestimate the power of a clear glass bowl; fill it with flowers, or glass marbles, or seashells, or candy or chips, or make it a dish garden centerpiece or put holiday ornaments in it. The right favors given to the guests will allow them to remember that day many years from now. The history of Mardi Gras has different interpretations by each person, so use your own judgement. Share these facts with friends at a celebration.
The Party Supplies Hut has more free elementary educational teacher resources for Mardi Gras to use in the classroom for active learning to create lesson plans with trivia questions, games and fun activities.

History of Mardi Gras
More Mardi Gras holiday educational teachers classroom resources: 

Mardi Gras Party Games
Mardi Gras Word Find
Mardi Gras Word Search
Mardi Gras Word Scramble
Mardi Gras Party Ideas
Mardi Gras Party Supplies
Educational Teacher Resources

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