Mardi Gras is on February 16th this year and refers to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Epiphany and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday…basically it’s the day before Lent starts and the fasting begins. Mardi Gras actually means “Fat Tuesday” in French. It’s the day to celebrate and eat all you want before you begin a 40 day fasting period for Catholics.
Kid’s obviously don’t get all the religious meaning, so for them it’s just another day to celebrate! So here are some tips to help you and your child celebrate Mardi Gras:
First of all, the color scheme for Mardi Gras are as follows: purple (representing justice), green (faith) and gold (power). Keep those colors in mind when deciding on decorations and food.
- Gold, Purple and Green Banner to say “Happy Mardi Gras” or “Fat Tuesday”
- Decorate some cardboard cut-out shapes of the theater masks, tragedy and comedy. Use glitter, sequins and feathers. You can hang these from the ceiling or put on the walls.
- Purchase lots of noisemakers and beads
- Have crowns for all the kids to be Kings and Queens of the parade
- Draw or paint, on large paper, a wall mural of bourbon street or the parade
- Have a centerpiece of a large mask with feathers and glitter!
- Scatter table with gold coins
- Balloons are always festive
- Costumes, wigs, funny hats, glasses or masks are always a hit
- New Orlean style Jazz music playing or Cajun music
- Anything seafood to represent the New Orleans menu! Gumbo, jambalaya, mini crab cakes or steamed craw fish!
- Don't forget the dirty beans and rice.
- Make colorful punches out of fruit juices, ginger ale and sherbets for your guests.
- You have to have a "king cake"! This pastry cake is decorated with icing and sprinkled with colored green, yellow and purple sugars.
- In Europe this day is also known as Pancake day so make lots of these for breakfast.
- Make Mardi Gras masks! You can purchase pre-made plastic, cardboard or foam mask shapes, and have out an assortment of decorating materials: craft glue, beads, markers, fabric scraps, and a big bag of assorted colored craft feathers. They can then wear their masks for the party.
- Costume contest
- Musical chairs
- Coloring pages
- Mardi Gras book from library
- A Jester
- Fake tattoos
- Mardi Gras Baby Hunt. Hide the same baby that was in the King Cake and let everyone know that the baby is lost! See who can find it first.
- Mardi Gras Coin Throwing Contest. Place a strip of tape on the ground to mark the spot for the thrower. Put 5 boxes in various distances from the line. Each box has different points, the further the box, the more points. Give guests each 3 coins. See who can throw the highest number of points. This person wins. You can substitute the coins for beads to change things up.
- Mardi Gras Coin Treasure Hunt. Before the party, scatter colored purple, gold and green coins all over the party room, all over the house and on the party table. Divide the guests into 3 teams, purple, gold and green. Tell the purple group to collect all the gold coins, tell the gold group to collect the green coins, and then tell the green group to collect the purple coins. Whichever group accomplishes the mission first, wins.