Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, is coming to a close next Tuesday. It’s a season that lasts from January 6th of each year until the day before Lent, and is celebrated by partying like rock stars up until Ash Wednesday. I’m throwing my own Mardi Gras party this weekend, and if you’re looking to celebrate as well, I would like to offer up my suggestions for what you must have at every good Mardi Gras bash.

Bear in mind that my ideas, while they follow the basic “rules” of what a Mardi Gras party should be, are not 100% traditional.

King Cake

This is a must-have for any Mardi Gras party. It’s a donut shaped cake with your filling of choice, and topped with purple, green, and yellow sugar, which are the colors of Mardi Gras. Traditionally you’ll find a tiny baby tucked into the cake or sometimes underneath it, which represents the Baby Jesus. The person who finds the baby will traditionally host the party the following year.

You can bake your own king cake, but I suggest going to the bakery and buying one. Wichita Falls has several places that can accommodate your king cake needs, and the place I ordered my cake from is filling it with tasty Bavarian crème. If you don’t pre-order, don’t sweat it. I see king cakes are already out and ready for purchase in bakeries around town.


The party I’m throwing is a masquerade party, so I’ve asked guests to pick up a mask. It can be something they spend a dollar on at the party store or they can get elaborate, it’s up to each individual. This isn’t necessary to have a Mardi Gras party, but it sets the mood. That, and I’ve never had a masquerade party. It’s all part of being festive.

As for the beads, they’re a staple at a Mardi Gras party. You’re probably familiar with how women obtain beads on Bourbon Street in New Orleans – they show their boobies! If you want to require your guests to show their goods, go for it! You can purchase beads for only a little coin, and everyone wants to get their hands on this particular party favor.

The décor can be anything from savvy to cheesy, that’s up to you. Incorporate purple, green, and yellow into the room and you’ll hit the mark. It’s all about being festive!


Creole food is what a Mardi Gras party “should” have. One would traditionally have crawfish, jambalaya, and an assortment of seafood-related dishes.

I’m not big on seafood.

May I suggest instead – beanie weenies! With barbeque sauce in a crock pot, they always please a crowd. Throw a few into crescent rolls and you have pigs in a blanket. Yum! You can pair your weenies with other finger foods like chips, dips, cheeses, and meats. Think Super Bowl party. If you’re on a budget, have guests bring a food item of their choice.


Of the many adult beverages that you might serve at your Mardi Gras party, the hurricane tops the list. It’s a sweet rum drink that will kick your ass after you’ve had a few. I steer clear of rum for that very reason.

I’ve suggested to my guests that they bring their own alcohol. Spirits can rack up a party bill, as you know. I’m partial to beer, which is far from the traditional fare, but it’s relatively inexpensive and it’s tasty.


If you’re really looking to get the Mardi Gras vibe, music is an important step you shouldn’t overlook. Creole or jazz music is appropriate for your party, but I suggest sprinkling in other music that you like in your playlist. I think it would be fun to play The Creole Jazz Band one minute and Static-X or Slipknot the next. If you convinced me to stay away from the food, got me to drink the rum, and it’s later at night, I’ll probably even sing to you. You probably wouldn’t like it.

The bottom line is to have fun with your party. Serve what you want, wear what you want, and drink what you want. After all, Mardi Gras is really just another reason to throw a bash.