Read these 23 Mardi Gras Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Costume tips and hundreds of other topics.
The tradition of masked parties in New Orleans has been an ongoing battle. During the late 1700's, pre-Lenten masked balls and festivals were common in New Orleans while it was under French rule. However when New Orleans came under Spanish rule the custom was banned. In 1803 New Orleans came under the U.S. flag. The prohibition against masked festivals continued until 1823 when the Creole populace convinced the governor to permit masked balls. In 1827 street masking was again legalized. So wear your feather mask proudly and make your forefathers proud!
You want to dress up as a showgirl and wear a Las Vegas style headdress. But the whole point of Mardi Gras masquerades with Carnival masks and Mardi Gras costumes is to remain anonymous--no one knows the identities of the members of the Royal Court.
Though you may be disguised as a showgirl, you too can conceal your features with full-face showgirl feather masks such as an Amethyst Blue or Diamond Purple Feather Mask. Or try an all-black Showgirl Headpiece with Mardi Gras Mask.
Just make sure the metal or sequins are comfortable, since you'll be wearing the mask for twelve hours on Mardi Gras Day and several hours at any private masked balls you're invited to. If you wear heavy Mardi Gras masks, pair them with lighter Mardi Gras costumes--if you're masquerading as a showgirl, this should be easy!
There's a certain freedom in being anonymous--but play it safe. You want people to recognize you if you're in trouble! Keep a cell phone and pepper spray with you at all times.
Now go out and enjoy being the mysterious queen of showgirls.
You will be wearing your Mardi Gras costume for up to 12 hours, so choose wisely! Full face paint may look great at 10 am, but by evening you'll feel gross. The best advice is to opt for a Mardi Gras mask on a stick -- one that you will not cry over if you lose or gets stepped on! There are a number of Mardi Gras costume shops online to choose a cheap, yet colorful mask from or make your own with a quick trip to the local arts and crafts store.
You've bought the perfect Flames of Gold Feather Mask. You want to dress in feathered Mardi Gras costumes too. In Mardi Gras, anything goes on Mardi Gras Day and at the masquerade balls. You can wear animal and bird Mardi Gras masks and Carnival masks with animal costumes. Here are some tips to guarantee that your feather mask and costume won't be for the birds:
* Make sure the mask blends with your costume--although a green mask with a brown feathered outfit is perfect if you're quacking like a painted mallard duck.
* You can dress in a feathered cape or black cape over black clothing to match black feather masks.
* Don't wear Mardi Gras masks with horns or tufts unless you're pretending to be an owl.
* Don't overdo feathers in either Mardi Gras costumes or mardi Gras masks. If you're costantly brushing aside feathers, you may look like you're preening or angry.
Once you have the perfect feather mask and Mardi Gras costume, let your cares be as light as a feather, so you can be free as a...you get the idea.
Mardi Gras masks on a stick. They look elegant and sophisticated. What kind of Mardi Gras costumes should you wear with a Harlequin Mardi Gras mask on a stick or Mardi Gras feather mask on a stick?
Elegant Mardi Gras costumes inspired by opera or clown/jester Mardi Gras costumes are wonderful choices to wear with your Domino Lorgnette with Handle. A lorgnette is the same as an opera glass, FYI. With your Mardi Gras mask on a stick, you can be a suave Baron or classy Duchess.
Just make sure that your Jester Panne or Renaissance ball gown costume doesn't have too many folds that can get in the way of your stick, and don't overwhelm feather masks or domino Carnival masks. Make sure the colors blend--gold, silver or black masks always go with any outfit, just as black or white costumes will offset any Mardi Gras mask on a stick.
You want to be elaborate, but you also want to enjoy the festivities and not worry about whether your costume and mask on a stick unintentionally provoke laughter.
When Hurricane Katrina hit and now that Rita has, you feel sorrow, and you still pack care packages for the survivors. You're even thinking of mothballing that domino or gold, green and purple costume.
Don't worry about appearing insensitive because you want to wear a Mardi Gras mask and have a good time. New Orleans is hoping that you'll come to Mardi Gras in 2006, feather masks and Mardi Gras costumes in tow. The $1 million in revenue the celebration attracts will be welcome as rebuilding funds for a devastated city, and the tourist trade as well as the gaiety are expected to revive New Orleans afte the catastrophe.
While the Emmys may have been toned down (read: dull) in the wake of Katrina and Rita, don't hesitate to put on your handmade Colombina Plume Festa Mardi Gras Mask and Jester Panne costume or full-skirted ruffled ball gown. The stars certainly didn't check their Versace gowns at the door!
Make sure your feather masks gleam, and if you must wear black, don't do it in mourning. Leave your tragedy carnival masks at home. An armband or pin in remembrance of the survivors is enough. The best you can do for the people of New Orleans after the waters recede is to visit the city and have a good time.
The Queen of Carnival is a long standing Mardi Gras tradition and makes for a great mardi gras costume - but while most people think the roots of this tradition are from New Orleans Mardi Gras, they might not be aware of the strong roots Mardi Gras has to Mobile, Alabama. Believe it or not, the first Mardi Gras actually started in Mobile in 1703 when it was a colony of French soldiers. After having survived a particularly nasty bout with yellow fever, they needed to celebrate and boy did they ever. With few party favors in the New World, the men opted to paint their faces red and just act crazy for a few hours (boys will be boys). Mardi Gras is still a tradition in Mobile. In fact, The Museum of Mobile is home to many Mardi Gras pieces including 18 magnificent outfits; gowns, trains, and jewels worn by queens of carnival over a period of 30 years. Also on display is the attire of a 1920's flapper queen and costumes of several jesters of well-known parading societies.
Flamboyant costumes, show girl head dresses and fantastic masks are a common part of the Mardi Gras experience; float riders are even required by law to wear mardi gras masks. The masking tradition descends from ancient Roman times when carnival-goers assumed different identities. For drunken decadence and unusual mating rituals nothing beats the other side of Canal Street in the French Quarter and while its no place to bring the kids, you will need an extra roll of film for your camera. On Fat Tuesday the spectacular finals of the gay costume contests take place staring some of the most dynamic and engaging Drag Queens of the known world.
Talk about bling! Spectators will do just about anything to catch the millions of colorful beaded necklaces thrown from floats at Mardi Gras. In addition to colorful bead necklaces, millions of cups and toy coins known as "doubloons" (Pronunciation: (du-blOOn'), are decorated with krewe logos and thrown to parade-watchers. Some "throws" are especially prized: only the luckiest folks manage to take home the hand-decorated coconuts from the Krewe of Zulu. Here's a tip.... Bring 4 plastic garbage bags, the type with a handle. The amount of trinkets, beads, cups you will catch will amaze you!
The weather in New Orleans can be unpredictable so be sure your costume can stand up to the elements. Leaving room to layer clothing if its cold and wearing comfortable walking shoes are too great tips to remember. Cars are banned during Mardi Gras so you'll be doing miles of walking, so leave the high-heeled, sequined stilettos behind (no matter how fabulous they are!). Think not wearing a costume may just be easier? Do yourself a favor and if nothing else have a mask on a stick handy. Just imagine how much you'll really stand out in a crowd if you are not wearing a costume! Can you say “party pooper?”
You've booked the trip, taken the time off from work to recover from the ultimate hangover and now your ready to go be part of the outrageous Mardi Gras party but wait…what about your Mardi Gras Costume? Where do you start? How do you stand out from the crowd? True Mardi Gras partiers know which colors are sure to pack a powerful meaning. Did you know, the official colors for Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold? These colors were chosen in 1872 by the King of Carnival, Rex. He chose these colors to stand for the following: • Purple represents Justice • Green stands for Faith • Gold stands for Power So what will your costume stand for? Get creative, have fun, party hard and be safe.
Remember that song by the Big Bopper (who might have partied at Mardi Gras), "Chantilly Lace"? The tune didn't mention a handmade lace Mardi Gras mask on a stick, or how the girl with the ponytail in the song kept her Chantilly lace beautiful.
You worry about Mardi Gras costumes made of or trimmed with lace, but Carnival masks on a stick need delicate care too. Typically, you can wash lace in the delicates cycle, but oh, baby, a mask on a stick would get ruined and that's not what I like!
You can get stains out of lace Mardi Gras masks on a stick with delicate fabric cleaners. Just hand soak the lace in the solution and let the mask air dry.
Now you can go out in your Mardi Gras mask on a stick and sing to the Big Bopper.
Carnival and Mardi Gras are celebrated the world over. Beads, sequins, feathers are somewhat standard features. Although some things are the same, there are some differences how Mardi Gras is celebrated across the world. In Southern Italy, people dress up in costumes and put on an ancient play during Mardi Gras. In Nice, France people wear giant masks in the Mardi Gras parade (it looks like a bunch of walking heads with tiny bodies) and in Binche, Belgium people dress in colorful clown costumes with ostrich feathers on their heads and dance in the streets.
Words of advice when it comes to catching all that bling. Don't beg! Begging is so unattractive. Be sure to say, "Throw me something, Mister!". Be safe. Don't bend over to pick up a doubloon or strand of beads, you could be seriously hurt! Instead...place your foot down or stomp on the doubloon or bead. Once the float passes and things calm down, you can safely reach under your foot to retrieve.
You cringe every time you see your thighs and butt in the mirror. The last thing you want to do is wear Mardi Gras costumes with your showgirl Mardi Gras mask that show off a less than perfect body. Or you are comfortable with your body but you just don't want to bare all in public.
Relax--you can think of that showgirl feather mask as a crown and wear a more modest costume, or one that gives that showgirl illusion so that you can feel sexy without worrying your mother will faint when she sees you on a Webcam.
A catsuit that complements your figure won't show a lot of skin. Or you can wear a bodysuit that's sheer at the arms and shoulders and pair it with flesh-colored tights--though fishnets can be fun!
Follow your own instincts and inner voice when choosing Mardi Gras costumes. Although it's custom for women to flash their breasts at Mardi Gras, buying showgirl headdress Carnival masks doesn't force you to reveal more than you're comfortable with.
If you're still worried about your less than toned body, work out and do some marathon dancing in preparation for the celebrations. Don't worry about your mom--she's watching the guys on the Webcam.
You and your girlfriends have supercool Mardi Gras costumes--you feel like "Sex and the City" and "Desperate Housewives" combined going to Mardi Gras.
You have a Venetian Green Velvet with Feathers Mardi Gras Mask, a Josephine with Stick Feather Mask, a Black Cocktail Mardi Gras Feather Mask, and a Feather Crown Purple Mardi Gras Mask. You're all set with your Carnival masks and feather masks.
Now you want some fabulous glam diva hair, such as an Ultra Glam Wig, a Rocker Short Wig, a tinsel wig, and of course, a Southern Belle Wig. Can you wear new hair with your feather masks?
Remember to make sure the strap of a feather mask doesn't interfere with your wig. For spiky wigs, a feather mask on the stick is best, or skip the rock star look altogether--go for sleek and sophisticated. The wig and the feather mask may look too "busy," leaving the eye with no focal point, so no one can concentrate on how fabulous you look! If you and your girlfriends own several wigs, try your Mardi Gras feather masks with different hairstyles.
You want to enjoy being women in charge and out for a (responsible) good time celebrating friendship. Get your wigs and Mardi Gras masks, then head to the French Quarter for a supercool soiree!
You've got your sequins, you've got your beads, you've got your feather mask. So how do you rate? Head down to the Bourbon Street Awards to see the most outrageous and spectacular mardi gras costumes and the awarding of the Best Male, Best Female, Best Group, Fantasy and Leather costumes. There will be a first, second and third place award given for each of these categories by celebrity judges. Also awarded are "Best Tits" (male or female) and the grandest of grand award for "Best of Show." The contest starts at noon Mardi Gras day at the corners of Bourbon and St. Ann Streets in the heart of the French Quarter. Get there early for the best viewing
With days of parades, you'll need to plan your time and mardi gras costume accordingly. Remember this is supposed to be fun! The parade season officially begins on the second Friday before Mardi Gras, although the parade calendar is expanding. There are nine parades on Mardi Gras. Parades consist of anywhere from 10 to 40 floats carrying krewe members, marching bands, dance groups, costumed characters like jesters, kings, queens and showgirls and the like. Some parades are small and suburban, others downtown and lavish. Every parade has a theme, usually borrowed from mythology, history or Hollywood so the costume potential is endless. Consider your color scheme and your theme and have fun!
Mardi Gras can be a family friendly event. Think of the family bonding that can be done at the parades, catching beads and screaming to the floats that pass by. And what fun to dress the whole family up in mardi gras costumes, a full seven months before Halloween! Some common sense and good to know tips include 1. keeping track of them (Mardi Gras's crowded!); 2. attend early season parades or kids parades like the Little Rascals parade and 3. Avoid Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras Day. You'll also see folks carrying ladders to elevate their kids during the parade so they can be seen easily as the floats go by. This may or may not be an option for you.
Whom can you thank for these fabulous celebrations and costume balls? Well, there is great history and tradition behind Mardi Gras and masquerade costumes but the greatest party throwers could be the Krewes. The parades of Mardi Gras are sponsored by the krewes, the same krewes that hold private balls for members only. Not every krewe has a parade, although every krewe will throw a party for its members (how nice!). So what's a Krewe? The simplest explanation, Krewes are private social clubs with restrictive membership policies. The first was established in 1857 when a group of men formed a secret society called the Mystick Krewe of Comus. Comus planned the first parade, a showy, outrageous parade and as they say “the rest is history”. You may wonder what makes these celebrations so great. Keep in mind; the French in New Orleans were having private masked balls and parties since 1718. They've sort of worked out the “kinks” if you will, of what makes a good party. And the good news is some (although few) krewes allow the public to buy tickets to their balls - Endymion and Orpheus, are two. So, as you are celebrating and catching your doubloons in your fabulous mardi gras costume, remember to thank those who dared to be different for the sake of good fun!
You packed disco ball or diamond drop earrings to go with your Mardi Gras costume. Jewelry suits those Mardi Gras costumes. But does it suit those Mardi Gras feather masks, especially showgirl headdresses?
Even full-face feather mask showgirl headdresses usually are roomy enough so that you can squeeze drop or diamond earrings between your ears and the headdress. Just make sure the earrings aren't chunky or overly large. You may not need earrings at all, depending on how elaborate and glittery the headdress is.
You can wear necklaces and rings that complement the headdress--silver jewelry for platinum or black showgirl feather masks, ruby/garnet and diamond/cubic zirconia necklaces, bracelets and rings for red showgirl feather masks.
If you're not sure, leave the bling at home--there will be plenty of Mardi Gras beads, after all, and your showgirl Mardi Gras mask will turn enough heads on Mardi Gras Day.
If your knowledge of Italy is limited to pasta and the Sopranos, buy a homemade Italian feather mask. Italians have made feather masks for centuries--it's just one of the cultural contributions from this artistic and scientific country. But how do you care for your papier-mache Italian Carnival masks?
First off, don't worry if the Mardi Gras mask you see in the catalog doesn't look like the one you receive--the handcrafted papier-mâché masks aren't mass-produced in an assembly-line fashion. You haven't inadvertently damaged your feather mask.
You can keep your Mardi Gras feather mask looking beautiful by wrapping it in bubble wrap for packing. You may not want to carry it on the plane because of security screenings and baggage handling. Make sure to apply a waterproof seal to protect the delicate material. Although papier-mâché hardens during the mask process, it's best not to let it get soaked, say if someone pours water on you during the festivities!
When you bring your homemade feather mask home, store it in bubble wrap or tissue paper in a box, or hang it on the wall to decorate your home. Bring a touch of Italy back from Mardi Gras and speak with respect about the Italian culture when you're eating your Fettucine Alfredo.
What would Mardi Gras be without the King's Cake? You loved it so much, and you got the baby baked in the cake, that you've tried to find Mardi Gras costumes that look like King's Cakes. By Mardi Gras tradition, whoever finds the plastic baby meant to represent the Baby Jesus at the Feast of Epiphany or Twelfth Night throws the next party. You're throwing a Mardi Gras Party. You've baked a King's Cake and you want to dress like one too.
Sad to say, there aren't Mardi Gras costumes or Carnival masks that look like King's Cakes. However, you can make up a costume with the right proportions of the Mardi Gras colors: purple for Justice, green for Faith, and gold for Power.
You can smear cake makeup that looks like pastry on your face and stread liquid gold, purple and green in the traditional cake pattern. Your jester Mardi Gras costume can reflect your homemade mask. You can combine a Naso Jolly Gold Mardi Gras Mask or Farfallina Mardi Gras Mask with your cake makeup and jester Mardi Gras costume.
The final touch: Hang a plastic baby around your neck or take it to your hat. You look good enough to eat!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|