As I mentioned in a previous post, my birthday is only two days away from Mardi Gras. So this year I decided to combine the two and last Saturday I had a fabulously fun birthday party with a Mardi Gras theme.
How did I do it? To decorate, I fully embraced the Mardi Gras colors of green, gold and purple.
- I set the scene with a large banner in purple, with an antique-looking illustration on it that has that vintage feel to it that you find in New Orleans (you can customize it here).
- I paid a visit to a dollar store and came away with beads, doubloons (that’s Mardi Gras money!), and napkins.
- I also got a bunch of masks for decorating, or for friends who didn’t bring masks with them. For myself, my husband, and maybe for the first couple of friends who arrived and needed a mask, I got a few fancier ones.
- Then I popped into a party supply store for things I couldn’t get at the dollar store, like a feather boa to decorate my mantle with (I cut it in half), a paper garland, decorative confetti and helium filled balloons.
When it came to the food, I decided to serve snack foods because the party started later in the evening.
- I had the standard chips and dips, I put out some nuts, and made some homemade pizza (so much better than take out!).
- For that special Mardi Gras touch I bought a King Cake from Whole Foods. It was delicious! And it came with a plastic baby and a bean. Mardi Gras tradition says that the baby (or bean) goes into the cake, and whomever finds it has certain privileges, depending on the area where Mardi Gras is being celebrated. We decided that the person who found it would have extra luck until next Mardi Gras, especially since they hadn’t swallowed the tiny baby (it’s smaller than a quarter)!
- I also made cupcakes in gold cupcake papers, and iced them in green and purple icing. Simple but effective!
Some of what I planned for the food (like the cupcakes) was also intended to add to the decorations. And when it came to drinks, I continued that idea: for glasses I wanted a relaxed approach, so I used mason jars. I had found some beautiful purple and green paper straws at a kitchen specialty store, so I used those – and then stuck a small circle sticker on each jar so my friends could use my silver pen to write their initial, or something, on the sticker so they knew it was their drink. The stickers matched the banner I had hung up. I found a lot of different hurricane recipes online, but chose my favorite and made a bowl of it. I also found Abita Pale Ale (a beer local to Louisiana) and so my friends got to try one or two.
To get the party started I did some Googling and found some New Orleans style Mardi Gras tunes, and downloaded them. That played for about 90 minutes after my friends arrived, and then the music mix changed to our current favorites. Everyone got a set of beads as they arrived, and one of my Mardi Gras drinks. Everyone tried the King Cake and loved it, and we had a great time – someone even showed up with a set of temporary Mardi Gras tattoos, so it will be a birthday that I won’t forget soon!