Host a Fiesta for Cinco de Mayo!

Shake your maracas and put on a sombrero because it’s fiesta time! Whether you want to celebrate Mexican culture on May 5th or you want to create a fiesta any time of the year, here are some fast, fun and affordable ideas for a Cinco de Mayo party.

Invitations

  • Affix your invitation to a packet of taco seasoning
  • Send your invitation attached to a red silk rose and ask all of the senoritas to wear it at your party.
  • Invite your guests to come dressed in Mexican-style attire or fun costumes.

Décor

  • Drag out your Christmas lights to make your party bright. If you want to make it a true Mexican fiesta, only use the red, green and white lights to signify the colors of the Mexican flag.
  • Make your party a “green” event by recycling red, white and green tablecloths, dishes, glassware and décor.
  • Nothing could be easier, more festive or more indicative of a fiesta than paper flowers. They’re easy, inexpensive and fun for both adults and kids to make. I did a video on how to make the paper flowers here.
  • Soak the labels from used tin cans. Use an awl to punch out a festive design and insert votive candles to give the cans the look of a Mexican lantern. Use these to line your walkway or as candleholders throughout your party space.
  • Another way to make luminarias is to use plain paper sandwich bags or white, green or red favor bags. Use a hole punch to create your design from the top down to about two-thirds from the bottom of the bag. Fill the bottom of the bag with sand or kitty litter. Insert a votive candle. (If you’re concerned with having a live flame, insert battery-operated pop lights in the bags to achieve the same warm illumination.)
  • Drape your space with sombreros, serapes, ponchos, Mexican art, clay pots and other Latin-themed décor.

Refreshments

Mexican hat dance

  • Serve corn or flour tortillas in the brim of a straw sombrero and serve with salsa or guacamole in a Mexican-themed bowl.
  • Chili con queso, fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, and chili are always crowd-pleasers.
  • When setting up your bar, don’t forget the margaritas and tequila.
  • To make traditional sangria, add oranges, limes, and peaches to sweet red wine in a large pitcher and let ferment for several hours or overnight. In Mexico, they serve two-thirds of the sangria mixture with one-third of club soda to create sparkling sangria.

Entertainment

  • Get everyone up to do the Mexican hat dance.
  • If your budget allows, bring in Mexican folk dancers and/or mariachis. For smaller budgets, pick up some Mexican music
    or download some songs for your iPod that you’ve attached to a speaker. Then hand out maracas for your guests to shake in time to the music.
  • If you know someone who plays an acoustic guitar, ask him or her to learn a couple of Mexican favorites to help entertain your guests.
  • Don’t forget the piñata.Fill it with candy and trinkets and let everyone have fun taking a shot at trying to crack the piñata while blindfolded.

Party Favors

  • Traditional Mexican candy or boxes of “Red Hots.”
  • Maracas
  • Sombreros
  • Small Mexican flags