Tired of the same old party themes? Then host a Mexican fiesta this year. May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) is the traditional day for a Mexican fiesta (at least in the U.S.), but any time of year is great for a fun party with Mexican flair.
Fresh and exotic are the words to remember when choosing foods for your fiesta. Think beyond plain salsa and chips. Offer a variety of different salsas for your guests to try. Spicy tomato salsa, Monterey jack salsa (made with black olives, Monterey jack cheese, tomatoes and green onions) and tomato peach salsa are all good choices. For an even more creative flair, serve fruit salsa with cinnamon crispas for dessert.
Peppers are a popular menu item for a Mexican fiesta. Some hosts hold a “hot pepper eating contest” where guests attempt to eat jalapenos, chipotle peppers and even habaneras. This can be fun, but it can be unsafe, too. Many of these peppers are dangerously hot and some people are allergic to them, too.
Other good food choices for a Mexican fiesta include guacamole, Mole chicken, yellow rice and a “make your own taco” bar. These dishes are easy and can feed a multitude of hungry gringos. If kids are on your guest list, cheese quesadillas are simple to make and are real kid pleasers.
For beverages, stock up on Mexican beer – and don’t forget the margarita mix! Keep in mind that virgin margaritas are quite tasty. The kids on your guest list will love them!
Dancing is an important activity for a Mexican fiesta, especially since Latin dances are so much fun. Consider hiring a professional dance instructor to attend for an hour or so, offering tango, mambo and salsa lessons to your guests. You’ll not find a better incentive to keep your guests dancing the night away. Be sure to stock up on some good Latin dance music. Even mariachi music is great – but limit it to the dinner portion of the evening, as it’s not conducive to dancing.
Don’t forget a piñata for the kids on your guest list. Traditional Mexican piñatas are shaped like a burro. You can find one at a party store or make it yourself. Instructions can be found in many craft books. Keep in mind that when you buy a piñata at a party store it is not filled with candy. You’ll need to purchase the candy separately and fill the piñata.
One word of caution on this: you must consider the location of your piñata carefully. Blindfolded children swinging a baseball bat near your china cabinet is not a good idea! You might want to have the piñata outside, or if your guests are very young, it might be better to purchase a string piñata. String piñatas, while not as traditional, are far safer for young children. Instead of hitting the piñata to break it, children take turns pulling out strings that hang from the bottom of the piñata. When the correct string is pulled, the bottom of the piñata will collapse, releasing the candy.
Check out MyExpression.com for a vast selection of Mexican fiesta invitations. They have an impressive variety of invitations. My favorite for this party theme is called Jalapenos!