Cinco de Mayo is upon us, and that means one thing: an excuse to overdo it on the margaritas. What that doesn't mean is that you're permitted to slack off as a host. Whether it's setting an elegant themed table or spicing up your taco recipes, there is an art to throwing a successful Cinco de Mayo party that will impress your friends.
This year, throw an unforgettable Cinco de Mayo fiesta that'll have your guests Instagramming up a storm. We've curated five enticing Mexican recipes and five adorable Cinco de Mayo décor ideas to take the planning out of your party and help you enjoy the party too. Ready for margaritas and tacos? These Cinco de Mayo party ideas will make your evening unforgettable.
Beaded Watermelon Skewers
Courtesy of Camille Styles
Watermelon with crumbled cotija cheese and Maldon salt becomes a refreshing appetizer with a perfect sweet-meets-savory balance. These beaded watermelon skewers, dressed up with colorful beads, are as festive as they are delicious.
Spicy Grapefruit Margarita
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest
Making margaritas is a cinch, so step up your game with this spicy grapefruit margarita. Made with cayenne simple syrup, grapefruit, and a salt or spice rub, it's not your average marg—and it'll have your friends talking for weeks.
Courtesy of Muy Bueno Cookbook
These corn dough mushroom molotes are savory, mouthwatering snacks filled with sautéed mushrooms, roasted green chilies, and Oaxaca cheese. Wrap these mouthwatering hand pies in parchment paper for easy grabbing.
Courtesy of Cooking Classy
An authentic Mexican treat, the churro is now being reinvented in bite form and drizzled with warm chocolate sauce. Once you pop these churro bites, you just won't be able to stop.
Tres Leches Cake With Coconut Chantilly Frosting
A light, airy cake soaked in a mixture of heavy cream, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk, tres leches cake is a staple in Mexico. This adaptation, made with coconut chantilly frosting, has a bit more flavor depth—and it's to die for.
Papel Picado Banners
The go-to décor for every festive occasion in Mexico, these elaborately cut banners are the easiest way to infuse some vibrant Cinco de Mayo spirit into your atmosphere. You can order some from Etsy or try your hand at a DIY project. We love the idea of tying a few little ribbons onto your garland for extra flair.
Mini Piñata Place Cards
Courtesy of Craig and Whitney
Set your table with adorable miniature piñatas and you're guaranteed to make your guests smile. We'd love to use these little guys as place card holders for each setting. Cuter than cute!
Bright striped serapes, or Mexican blankets, make the perfect tablecloths for a Cinco de Mayo fiesta. We used them for Gabrielle Union's Mexican-themed Valentine's Day party, mixing serapes with other stripes for added dimension. Keep a few extras on hand to keep your guests warm when the sun goes down.
Courtesy of Sarah Yates Mora
Set out small potted cacti in lieu of flowers, and make the arranging a little easier on yourself. Instead of a basic terra-cotta pot, place yours in a bright salsa or enchilada sauce can for a nod to the cuisine that's not only bright and cheerful but also affordable! Let guests each take one home as a memorable keepsake.
Take a load off and let your guests do some of the heavy lifting by creating a "taco stall" in your home. You don't have to go out and built a plywood stall like the one shown here; just creating a festive taco station somewhere in your home will create an activity for your guests and add to the allure of the atmosphere.
Want more food inspiration for the occasion? We have six crazy-good recipes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
This story was originally published on April 30, 2014, and has since been updated.