May 5 is just around the corner, which means that people will get extra busy for the festive Cinco de Mayo. Mexico recognizes this event as the day the country became victorious against the French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
So, if you’re wondering how to throw a Cinco de Mayo party or just simply looking for an excuse to prepare tacos, go the extra mile with these easy and cost-friendly party tips.
Setting the mood for a Cinco de Mayo party is crucial if you want to make the event memorable. Particularly in a fiesta-themed celebration, the lack of ornaments can kill the overall vibe.
You don’t need to purchase new items or have ample space; just make sure to have colorful papers, woven placemats, lights, and candles.
1. Bright Tablescape
Turn a plain table into a bright-looking one! Look for colorful flowers with shades of orange, yellow, red, and green, and arrange them in glass or metallic vases that are also tinted with flashy colors. You can also incorporate linens with geometric designs to create different textures in the setup.
Another excellent tip on how to throw a Cinco de Mayo party is by using plates and cutleries with patterns. You can choose tableware that is wholly or partially covered with designs. Don’t forget to include a table runner or table cloth, as this highlights the party’s overall theme.
When choosing the decorations, make sure that they work and look good together.
2. DIY Piñata
Cinco de Mayo is not complete without the classic Mexican decoration, the Piñata. This container is often made using paper mache and is filled with candies and other treats. The fun begins when you have to hit it with a broomstick or a long bat to break it. Here is how to throw a Cinco de Mayo party with a star piñata.
Step 1: Cut a newspaper into strips and shreds.
Step 2: Make a thick paper-mache paste using a flour and water mixture.
Step 3: Dip the newspaper shreds into the mixture and stick them individually into an inflated balloon. Continue until the balloon is well-covered.
Step 4: Let the first layer dry before adding another set of newspaper shreds.
Step 5: Once all the layers are dry, pop the balloon.
Step 6: Attach a line of five party hats into the piñata using tape. These will be the points for your star.
Step 7: Using colorful crepe paper, decorate your piñata accordingly.
Step 8: Create a large hole in the piñata and place your candies inside. Cover the hole.
3. Colorful Invites
How will your friends know you are throwing a Cinco de Mayo party if you don’t send invites? The nice thing about invitations is that you can channel your inner creativity and personalize them. Print out colorful templates and place some adorable stickers, and they’re good to go!
4. Fiesta Banners
If you ask the old folks how to throw a Cinco de Mayo party in your town, they will probably say to do it outdoors. Besides the larger space, setting up the fiesta in your backyard means that you can cook and serve barbeque straight from the grill. Plus, with the presence of trees and flowers, you won’t need many decorations aside from the fiesta banners.
You can either purchase the decorative banner in a dollar store or print it out and hang using a thread. The vibrant design of the banners will help set the mood. Make sure to decorate your doorways, fences, walkway, and pots, too.
How to throw a Cinco de Mayo party using the classic Mexican hat? Well, it is pretty easy. A sombrero is not just intended to be worn as it can double as a serving platter for your appetizers or desserts. You can even use it as a table centerpiece instead of flowers.
A party without games is spelled LAME. Even for Cinco de Mayo, kids are present for sure. And while the parents are busy catching up, the kids should also be entertained through fun and exciting games.
But mind you, these activities are not just for kids but also for adults who like to goof around.
6. Peso Toss
Gather three sombreros and place them away from each other from the starting line. Every player will receive three pesos to throw at the hats. If you don’t have this currency, a simple dollar coin will suffice.
Place a point value on each sombrero. It doesn’t matter whether it is by ones or fives, as long as they get progressively higher.
Once the player tosses the coin and lands on the sombrero, he will get a score depending on its point value. But if the coin falls on the floor, there is no corresponding point. The highest scorer after throwing three coins wins the game.
7. Break That Piñata!
We all know that kids love candies and chocolates so much. So, make sure to have a piñata at your Cinco de Mayo party that they can break open. And for the adults, you can place mini liquor bottles instead of sweet treats that you can enjoy later during the party.
8. Mexican Jumping Beans
The Mexican Jumping Beans is a modified version of the freeze dance wherein Mexican music and jumping are combined in the game.
Participants will be asked to jump around like beans. After a few seconds or a minute, the music will stop to signal the players to halt. Anyone who is caught moving will be disqualified. The game continues until there is only one person left.
9. Mexican Hat Dance Relay
The Mexican Hat Dance Relay, also known as Jarabe Tapatio, is highly linked to the country’s culture. The participants are divided into two teams, with a hat at the opposite end for each group.
The first person will run towards the hat, wear it, and dance for five seconds. Then, he will run back to the starting position and tap the second person. The first team to complete the game wins.
10. Chili Pepper Guessing Game
Chili Peppers are hot and spicy, which means that this Cinco de Mayo game is not suitable for kids but for kids at heart.
You need to set up a table and line up several and different types of chili peppers. You can opt to blindfold the participants beforehand, so they don’t have any idea about the mechanics.
The peppers will not be labeled, and it’s up to the participants to identify the type of pepper after tasting it. You can use anything from red and green peppers to more intense ones such as jalapenos and chilies.
In a Mexican event like Cinco de Mayo, a tasty menu is essential to keep your guests’ energy on point after all the exciting games. Plus, a good meal equals a good conversation.
11. Taco Bar
Cinco de Mayo and tacos go perfectly together. This classic food is present in almost all Mexican festivities, mainly because it is delicious and easy to make.
When tacos are served to guests, they are usually ready to eat. While it is acceptable that way, you can make tacos more fun by putting up a taco bar. Here are the ingredients you need to show off your creativity.
- Tortillas. Corn tortillas are cheaper and healthier than flour tortillas. Make sure to serve the tortillas warm for a tastier taco.
- Beans. Canned beans work just fine, or you can mash them depending on your preference.
- Chicken. Roasted chicken tastes best for tacos. You can purchase ready-to-eat packets in the store or blend your mixture and roast the chicken. Make sure to shred the meat or cut it into small pieces.
- Roasted vegetables. Some guests may not be on a veggie diet, so adding roasted vegetables to the taco bar is a great idea. You can include corn, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage, among others.
- Shredded cheese. What are tacos without cheese? You can include cheddar, Jack, and Colby cheese, as these are usually the typical Mexican blend.
- Salsa. Mix slices of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and other seasonings for the dressing.
Guacamole is the perfect appetizer since it is relatively effortless to make. It goes well with chips or bread, and the pop of green color matches the festive vibe of the Cinco de Mayo party.
- 3 Avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed
- 1 oz. Lime juice
- 1 tsp. Salt
- ½ cup Diced onion
- 3 tbsp. Chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
- 1 tsp. Minced garlic
- 1 pinch Ground cayenne pepper (optional)
Steps to Make
- Mash the avocados, lime juice, and salt together in a bowl. Then, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour for the best flavor.
13. Homemade Mexican Pizza
Mexican pizza is not the usual one you would have in a restaurant. Instead, this classic dish is more of a TexMex quesadilla made of two tortillas enclosed with various fillings such as meat, cheese, and vegetables.
- 1/2 lb. Ground beef
- 2 tbsp. Taco seasoning
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 Medium flour tortillas
- 1 1/2 cup Refried beans
- 1 1/2 cup Shredded Mexican-blend cheese
- 1/2 cup Quartered cherry tomatoes
- Sour cream (for serving)
- 1/4 cup Sliced black olives (for serving)
- 2 Green onions, thinly sliced (for serving)
- Hot sauce, such as Cholula (for serving)
Steps to Make
- Heat a large pan and cook the ground beef until it is no longer pink. After draining the fat, add in the taco seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook for one more minute and set aside.
- On a baking sheet, prepare three tortillas and spread the refried beans on them. Add in the beef and the cheese. Make sure to divide the fillings on each tortilla equally.
- Bake the pizza in an oven at 375°F for 10 to 12 minutes until the cheese has melted. Garnish with sour cream, tomatoes, and olives.
Cinco de Mayo is full of delectable dishes and even cocktails that can balance the savory notes of the meals. Margarita is usually served during this occasion. However, you can always try other drinks that are equally good and refreshing.
14. Blue Nectar Blackberry Ramble
- 2 oz. Blue Nectar Reposado
- ¾ oz. Lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Simple syrup
- ½ oz. Blackberry liqueur
- 3-5 Blackberries
- Additional 3-5 blackberries as garnish
- Crushed ice
Steps to Make
- Place all the ingredients in a blender except for the blackberries.
- Pulse the blender until all the ingredients are mixed properly.
- Pour the mixture into a rock glass filled with crushed ice.
- Top with fresh blackberries and serve.
15. Sunny Mexico
Nothing beats a simple cocktail mixture, especially when it is a blend between tequila and Galliano. The dominant taste of anise, followed with vanilla and citrus notes, brings a complex yet balanced drink.
- 1 oz. Galliano
- 1 oz. Silver tequila
Steps to Make
- Pour the tequila into the shot glass and add in the Galliano.
If you’re not sure how to throw a Cinco de Mayo party, these ideas will help you execute a unique and fun fiesta-themed occasion. From colorful decorations, kid and adult-friendly games to delicious food and cocktails, your May 5 will surely be a day to remember.