Cinco de Mayo Party Ideas to Liven Up the Holiday
Hey, there, party people! Are you planning to throw an epic Cinco de Mayo party? Do you need some Cinco de Mayo party ideas to help you do things differently?
You know what we’re talking about. Cinco parties, although fun and full of tequila, sometimes seem like the same old thing. Undoubtedly, there are nachos, chips and guac, and plenty of Mexican beer (we do love Corona), but like traveling and discovering there are non-tourist things to see, Cinco de Mayo parties can have more gems than typically included.
This is a list of Cinco de Mayo party ideas that include a little bit of history (because you know someone’s gonna wonder what you’re celebrating, and who better than the host to answer thoughtfully?), bright and fun decor, DIY photo booth ideas, and authentic food.
Here are our favorite Cinco de Mayo party ideas for the best celebration yet.
10.) Know Cinco de Mayo History and Fun Facts
“So, what are we celebrating?” someone asks as you make sure the Michelada station hasn’t run dry. Every host should know their stuff, including why we enjoy these epic fiestas. We’re here to help you out.
History defines Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, as a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.
The Battle of Puebla was a huge risk for Mexico. The country was the underdog, but it goes to show you that sometimes underdogs win.
Cinco de Mayo can be loosely related to America’s Fourth of July, but there are two major differences between the two:
- This is not Mexico’s Independence Day. Mexico’s Día de la Independencia happened 50 years prior when the country declared war against the Spanish colonial government.
- Cinco de Mayo is not as popular as the Fourth of July to Mexicans. Cinco de Mayo is mostly celebrated in the U.S. and Puebla, where the battle took place.
Fun fact: Did you know that Los Angeles has the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the U.S.?
9.) Showcase Bright and Lively Decor
We are LIVING for this vibrantly themed decor, and we think your guests might too. There is nothing like walking into a party and realizing serious thought (and fabulous style) has been put into this shindig.
First, you will want to start off with an eye-catching backdrop for your center table. Bright paper flowers the size of a person’s head will surely attract attention, and they are beautiful and tie in the theme. Luckily, there is no need to head to a craft store. Amazon sells beautiful, affordable Cinco de Mayo-themed flowers and garlands.
You will also need the gorgeous textiles of a Saltillo blanket to attach the flowers to. A matching serape table runner on the center table and the rests can be used for a cohesive design.
No list of Cinco de Mayo party ideas is complete without a proper fiesta banner or papelpicado. This DIY project is easy, lightning-quick, and cheap. It will add the needed pop of color throughout your place.
8.) Set Up a DIY Selfie Station
Since 2016, selfie stations or photo booths — whatever you want to call them — have become a beloved party necessity. They’re fun, engaging, and help break the ice, all of which your party wants. You get to decide how intricate or simple the selfie station is.
For a minimal photo booth, use another serape blanket for a simple background. For your female guests, use flower headbands as props to bring out their inner Frida Kahlo. Guys can opt for cactus-themed props.
If you have the DIY bug and want to put physical love into your fiesta, check out the video below. It’s the perfect Cinco de Mayo party idea. Your guests will appreciate the hard work when they see their awesome selfies.
7.) Serve Deliciously Authentic Food
Everybody loves tacos. Including a taco bar at your Cinco de Mayo party is a foolproof plan, but we don’t mean just any taco bar. We mean a taqueria.
You won’t have to quit your day job to run this mini brick-and-mortar. Mostly, avoid the shredded cheese and follow the recipe below for that street taco taste your guests will enjoy.
Appetizers are easy if you stick with us. Serve the simple dishes: fruit cups, and esquites. For the first, cut your choice of fruit in thick slices (mango and watermelon are a good choice) and place them in a cup that has a ring of chili powder.
For the esquites (corn cups), you will need:
- 4 ears sweet corn
- 6 tbsp. crumbled queso fresco
- Ground chili powder (for sprinkling)
- 4 tbsp. mayonnaise
- 4 tbsp. softened butter
- Lime wedges
Bring a large saucepan to boil. Add the husked corn to boiling water. Cook until the corn is tender, then let it cool. Separate the corn equally into cups (about 4) and add 1 tablespoon of mayo, 1 tablespoon of butter, sprinkle of queso fresco, chili, and salt in each cup. Decorate with lime, and there you have it. This is a treat your guests will love (recipe from Food Network).
6.) Whip Up Must-Have Mexican Drinks
You can’t have a Cinco de Mayo party without the right kind of drink? That means replacing tired margaritas for Micheladas. The Mexican drink is all the rage in Latin America and in the States, especially in Southern California, so jump on board for the latest cocktail trend.
The drink includes Mexican beer, lime, chili powder, and Clamato. Any fan of Bloody Marys will rejoice at this refreshing drink. The cocktail replaces vodka with beer for easier consumption, and the spiciness is up to the individual.
Check out the video below for a quick but incredible Michelada recipe.
For non-alcoholic drinks, we think sticking to traditional drinks is the best bet.
Jarritos is a popular Mexican soda with many delicious flavors, including strawberry, lime, tamarind, and guava. There’s a flavor for everyone, making it perfect for any designated driver or kiddo. You can find the brand at most stores, and don’t forget to use clay cups for your Cinco de Mayo theme. It’s the perfect finish!
5.) Get Your Playlist in Gear
Can you even call a party a real party if you don’t have any tunes? Sure, you could download Today’s Top Hits on Spotify, but your guests might judge you for playing Taylor Swift and Aloe Blac at a Cinco de Mayo party (and we secretly will too).
If you’re going to throw a theme party, you need to stick with the theme with the music. If you have Apple Music, check out their Cinco de Mayo Celebration playlist. Or, check out Spotify’s Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.
Prefer to make your own playlist? Here are a few of our favorite Latin songs you must include:
- “El noa noa” – Juan Gabriel
- “Amor a la mexicana” – Thalía
- “México lindo” – Mariachi Vargas de Tecatitlan
- “Mi ranchito” – Roberto Tapia
- “Tragos amargos” – Ramón Ayala
4.) Play Some Games
Cinco de Mayo parties are meant to be a celebration, so why not liven up the party with some games? No, we’re not talking Monopoly. We’re talking pinatas. Specifically, Mexican pinata’s like the Original Classic Bull Toro Pinata pictured above.
If it’s an adults-only party, don’t worry about filling the pinata with candy. Candy is great, but mix in a variety of things adults will enjoy like mini bottles of tequila, lottery tickets, maybe even a few $5 gift cards to your local Mexican restaurant! Have fun with it.
If you do have children present, get two pinatas: keep the adults-only version, and also have a child-friendly one. Consider shying away from American candy like Snickers and other sugary snacks. Instead, mix in some Mexican candy. The kids will love trying new sweets.
3.) Learn Some New Moves
If you want to throw a good Cinco de Mayo party, teach your guests some traditional Mexican dances.
Consider hiring a professional dancer to teach an authentic Mexican hat dance to your guests. You could also have them teach other Latin dances such as samba, rumba, or the salsa.
Your guests will enjoy learning some new dance moves, and the dancing will keep the energy of the party flowing all night long! Plus, they’ll have a new skill to take home.
2.) Hire Some Live Entertainment
If you want to blow your guests away, considering hiring some live entertainment. Is there anything better than a live Mariachi band at a Cinco de Mayo celebration? We think not.
The Mariachi band will be a treat for your guests, especially if you have dance lessons too. We recommend starting with the dance lessons and then surprising everyone with the Mariachi band later in the evening. That way, everyone can practice their new dance moves!
1.) Festive Invitations
We live in a world of Evites, Facebook invites, and Paperless Post, snail mail gets lighter by the day. Rather than send an electronic invitation to your guests, why not set the tone weeks in advance with a real, old fashioned paper invitation like these Silly Goose Fiesta Taco Party invitations from Amazon?
Your guests will love receiving mail and will likely have the invitation on their fridge for weeks, instilling excitement and anticipation for the big day.
Which Cinco de Mayo party idea do you want to try out? Use these ideas to throw a party people will be talking about every Cinco de Mayo for years to come.
For more beer reading, visit “IPA Craze! Why Everyone Is So Obsessed With IPA Beer”.