Easy Last-Minute Mardi Gras Party Ideas

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OK, so you told all of your friends that they can count on you for their Mardi Gras festivities. You told them to all come to your house and that you had some great entertainment planned. The only problem is, you haven't exactly had the time to plan anything, and now you've got a herd of friends coming over with high expectations.

Don't freak out just yet, there are tons of last minute host tricks you can utilize that will help you throw an amazing Mardi Gras party without spending too much time or money, and maybe most importantly, without tipping off your friends that you completely bluffed when you said you had something great up your sleeve.

It's really all about getting the right drinks, bites and tunes to keep that French and Cajun vibe that's so synonymous with Mardi Gras. And lucky for you, the ingredients and supplies you'll need to have a super fun party are all easy to get your hands on. You won't have to search too high or too low to find the perfect thematic goodies for your friends to enjoy. Here are a few ideas to help you pull together that party when you're down to the wire:

Shrimp Stuff

Cook up some shrimp and toss it in some Cajun seasoning — or put out some steamed shrimp with cocktail sauce for an epicly on-theme appetizer.

DIY Po' Boys

A Po' Boy is a traditional sandwich from Louisiana that's got pretty minimal but versatile ingredients. Lay out some fried seafood, some roast beef, some lettuce and tomato, some gravy and some mayo and let your guests put together the scrappy sandwich of their dreams. This way, you don't have to do too much kitchen work at your own party and everyone still gets fed.

Mask Decoration Station

Head to your local party store and get a package of plain masks. Then grab a few bags of feathers and sequins and a pack of markers and let your friends decorate their own masks. It will give them something to do, and leave them with a favor to take home.

Beading Station

Sure, you could buy a package of cheap beaded necklaces at your local party or craft store — or you could get a few packs of beads and some string and let your friends make their own necklaces.


Suggest your guests bring their own costumes to dress up in, or pull together some of your glitziest gear and let your guests have at it.

Epic New Orleans Jazz Playlist

New Orleans is famous for their jazz music. Make a super long and high-energy jazz playlist to have on throughout your party. It will definitely keep the vibe good.

Plenty Of Bourbon

The people of New Orleans love their bourbon, so if you and your guests are over 21, now is the perfect excuse to make your favorite bourbon drinks for your guests. Heat it up in a hot toddy, or pout it in a tumbler on ice — however you like it will be just fine.

King Cake

The classic traditional cake of Mardi Gras, get your guests a King Cake that has a figurine inside — whoever gets the slice with the toy gets to be "King" for the day.

Purple, Green & Gold Stuff

Purple, green and gold are the colors of Mardi Gras — they stand for justice, faith and power — and you can use them to help you decorate your space for your party.

Coin Game

Get some fake gold coins at your local party or decoration depot and hide them around your apartment. Whichever guests collects the most coins wins.

Beignet Eating Contest

Get a box of beignets and a pack of black napkins. Have your guests tuck the napkins into their shirt necks an eat the beignets. Whoever has the least amount of powdered sugar on their napkin in the end, wins.