Mardi Gras is also known as Fat Tuesday. It actually refers to the last day of the Carnival season, which always falls on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Fat Tuesday is February 12, 2013. However, the entire Carnival celebration season has come to be known as Mardi Gras instead of just the one specific day.
Mardi Gras parties are simple and inexpensive to throw together. Here's what you'll need for decorations and to set the vibe.
Beaded necklaces are given out by the fistfuls on the streets of New Orleans during the festivities, so you'll need plenty of the colorful strands. You can skip just about everything else and still have a great party as long as you have the beads! Fortunately, they are inexpensive. Many online party supply retailers offer a hundred strands for $10.
Invite guests to bring their own masks, but have extras on hand for those who don't. They are also fairly inexpensive at party supply stores, starting at around $3 a dozen for simple jewel toned masks. Set up a craft center for children (and adults) to embellish their masks with glitter, feathers and sequins. You can also print out paper masks online for guests to decorate.
The colors of Mardi Gras are gold, green and purple. Hit the dollar store for tablecloths, paper products and plastic utensils in these colors. Visit thrift stores to round up bowls, vases and funky knick knacks at garage sales and thrift shops then spray paint them gold, green or purple for unique center pieces.
Get kids to make paper chains in the color scheme out of construction paper to hang around the room. They also make paper masks to hang on the walls. Give them the freedom to crazy with the glitter.
Balloons are also a cheap and easy way to decorate. Get latex balloons in jewel tones filled with helium and let them float around the party area.
Dowload a Mardi Gras compilation mix on Amazon or borrow one from your library. Buy some cheap party instruments, such as horns, cymbals and kazoos. Get everyone to put on a mask, blast some music and march around in a parade.
Your Mardi Gras party will be such a hit with kids and adults that guests might beg for it to become an annual tradition.