If you can't make it to New Orleans this year for Mardi Gras, bring the festivities to you and have your own Mardi Gras party. Wherever you are, you can enjoy this bright and lively celebration with friends, family, in a classroom or with any group of people looking for some fun.
Make festive mask invitations. Fold a piece of card stock paper in half. Use a large oval template, hanging slightly off the folded edge, and trace it onto the card stock. Cut around the oval, leaving the folded edge intact as a hinge. You can cut a small notch on the bottom and trace "eyes" in glitter glue. Glue feathers around the perimeter of the mask.
Inside the invitation, write the popular Mardi Gras phrase, "Laissez Les Bon Temps Roule!" Alternatively, you could write the English version, "Let the Good Times Roll!" Provide your guests with the party information. You may invite them to dress in their Mardi Gras best, to wear a feather mask, or to wear popular costumes such as a fortune teller, jester or jazz band leader.
Place your invitation in an envelope with a handful of confetti.
Wherever you are holding your party, go all out to create a festive atmosphere. Use traditional Mardi Gras colors: green, purple and gold. Get some sheets in these colors and tack them on the wall, or hang them from curtain rods in every window and doorway. Hang colored lights around the room. Add some shiny swirls that hang from the ceiling, stash clusters of balloons in the corners and drape crepe paper or garland all over the room.
Print the names of popular New Orleans locations, such as Bourbon Street, the French Quarter and Jackson Square. Cut them out in the shape of street signs and hang them around the room.
Serve traditional New Orleans fare, such as gumbo, etoufee, jambalaya or crawfish.
For drinks, offer your guests hurricanes, a mixed drink with rum, grenadine and juice. For a non-alcoholic beverage, mix one part sparkling water with one part pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine syrup.
No Mardi Gras party is complete without a king cake. King cakes are ring cakes made of rich french bread, iced with colorful frosting. Usually hiding in the cake is a bead or a plastic baby, and whoever finds it is king or queen of the ball, or has to bring the king cake the next year.
Play some Dixieland jazz music for your guests. Play festive group games such as the limbo or charades.
Set up a station with an assortment of fake tattoos and a bowl with damp sponges so that your guests can adorn themselves.
At some point when your guests are dancing and having fun, come out and toss beads and doubloons into the crowd. Alternatively, pass out some bags of confetti, doubloons and beads to your guests so they can toss them at each other.
Children will love playing a game of "pass the baby." This is basically the game "hot potato." Everyone sits in a circle and passes a baby doll around. When the music is turned off, whoever is holding the baby is out. The rest of the players continue to play, with the last person standing (or sitting in this case) as the winner.