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What do you bring to a 5 de Mayo party?

Cinco de Mayo is a popular holiday in the United States that celebrates Mexican culture and heritage. It falls on May 5th each year and is a great reason to get together with friends and family for some delicious Mexican food, drinks, music, and fun. When attending or hosting a Cinco de Mayo party, it’s important to bring items that fit with the festive theme. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best things to bring to really get into the Cinco de Mayo spirit!

Food and Drinks

One of the most important parts of any Cinco de Mayo fiesta is the spread of food and drinks. Authentic Mexican cuisine is a must, so be sure to prepare or pick up some tacos, enchiladas, tamales, guacamole, salsa, and other favorites. Chili con carne, fajitas, and chorizo are also great options. For drinks, stock up on Mexican beer like Corona, Dos Equis, Tecate, or Modelo. You can also offer margaritas, sangria, horchata, and jarritos. Provide chips and guacamole for snacking, along with churros for something sweet. The more Mexican food and beverages, the better!

Here are some specific food and drink recommendations:


  • Tacos – steak, chicken, pork, fish, etc.
  • Quesadillas
  • Enchiladas – beef, chicken, cheese, etc.
  • Tamales
  • Burritos
  • Nachos
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa – red, green, etc.
  • Tortilla chips
  • Frijoles
  • Arroz
  • Ceviche
  • Empanadas
  • Churros


  • Mexican beer – Corona, Dos Equis, Tecate, Modelo, etc.
  • Margaritas
  • Sangria
  • Micheladas
  • Horchata
  • Jarritos
  • Tequila
  • Mezcal

Having a wide variety of authentic Mexican food and drinks will make any Cinco de Mayo celebration complete. Consider making recipes from scratch or purchasing from a local Mexican restaurant or grocery store.


Decorations are key for setting the scene at any Cinco de Mayo gathering. Use lots of bright, festive colors to transform the party space into a Mexican fiesta.

Some decor ideas include:

  • Mexican flags, bunting, and balloons
  • Serape blankets
  • Sombreros
  • Paper flowers and garlands
  • Piñatas
  • Paper banners
  • Ponchos
  • Cactus and succulent centerpieces
  • Skulls, calaveras
  • Maracas and other Mexican noisemakers

Really go all out with tissue paper, papel picado banners, lights, and more to decorate every inch. The vibrant colors of red, green, orange, yellow, and pink will liven up any Cinco de Mayo party space.

Table Decorations

Don’t forget to decorate the tables too. Some ideas include:

  • Serape table runners
  • Mini cactus plants or succulents as centerpieces
  • Papel picado garlands
  • Sombrero plates and napkins
  • Maracas and other noisemakers scattered around
  • Jalapeño, chili pepper, or cactus candles
  • Poncho overlays on chairs
  • Skulls or calaveras along the table

Get creative with all kinds of decorations to give your Cinco de Mayo fiesta an authentic Mexican vibe.


What’s a party without music? Set the mood with a lively mix of Latin tunes. Here are some genres and artists to check out:

Latin Music Genres

  • Mariachi – Tradional, festive Mexican music
  • Ranchera – Lively Mexican country music
  • Tejano – Tex-Mex style music
  • Norteño – Accordian-based Mexican music
  • Banda – Brass band style music
  • Latin pop – Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, etc.
  • Salsa
  • Merengue
  • Bachata
  • Cumbia
  • Reggaeton

Suggested Artists

  • Vicente Fernández
  • Jenni Rivera
  • Selena
  • Santana
  • Juan Gabriel
  • Los Angeles Azules
  • El Tri
  • Cafe Tacvba
  • Maná
  • Luis Miguel
  • J Balvin
  • Shakira

Make playlists featuring classic and popular Mexican artists to keep the fiesta going all day long. Mariachi and ranchera music is perfect for traditional Cinco de Mayo celebrations.


In addition to food, drinks, decor, and music, have some traditional Mexican and Cinco de Mayo themed games planned for fun. Here are some ideas:

  • Piñata – Fill a papier-mâché figure with candy and let guests take turns hitting it blindfolded until it breaks.
  • Lotería – The classic Mexican bingo game played with images on a deck of cards.
  • Sombrero toss – Guests try to toss or flip sombreros onto a target.
  • Salsa dance contest – Couples compete to show off their best Latin dance moves.
  • Maracas and mariachi imitation – Give guests maracas, guitars, etc. and have contests for the best mariachi performer.
  • Trivia – Test guests’ knowledge of Cinco de Mayo history and facts.
  • Mexican bingo – Play traditional bingo using Spanish words and phrases instead of letters/numbers.

Keep both kids and adults entertained with classic Mexican games. Give out small prizes to the winners.


For those who really want to go all out, wear fun Mexican-inspired costumes and accessories.

Women’s Outfits

  • Long ruffled dresses
  • Peasant tops and skirts
  • Floral crowns
  • Shawls
  • Bold jewelry
  • Braids
  • Sombreros

Men’s Outfits

  • Ponchos
  • Sarapes
  • Sombreros
  • Mustaches
  • Maracas
  • Fake pistols

Go for a kitschy, stereotypical Mexican look with bold patterns, lots of ruffles, ponchos, sombreros, and fake mustaches. Or take inspiration from authentic regional clothing like Mariachi suits. Get creative and have fun with your Cinco de Mayo style!

Activities for Kids

If children will be attending your Cinco de Mayo gathering, plan some fun activities to keep them engaged:

  • Make paper flowers, papel picado banners, maracas, and other Mexican crafts
  • Decorate sugar skulls
  • Play lotería or Mexican bingo
  • Break open the piñata and let them collect candy
  • Have races while kicking or tossing a soccer ball
  • Learn Mexican folk dances
  • Eat traditional Mexican sweets like churros, flan, or tres leches cake
  • Play “pin the tail on the donkey” with a burro image
  • Do face painting with Mexican-inspired designs

Keep kids excited about all the sights, sounds, colors, and flavors of Cinco de Mayo with games, crafts, music, and food. The more interactive, the better!

Favors or Takeaways

It’s always nice to let guests take a little piece of the fiesta home with them. Favors and takeaways are a must.

Fun Idea Options

  • Mini piñatas filled with candy
  • Paper flower crowns or bouquets
  • Maracas
  • Homemade tamales, salsa, or guacamole
  • Mexican chocolate
  • Mini cactus plants
  • Sombrero party hats
  • Sugar skull decorations
  • Lotería game cards

Make sure to send guests home with a little memento from the Mexican celebration. Edible treats, handmade crafts, or decorated containers filled with goodies make affordable, memorable Cinco de Mayo favors.


Cinco de Mayo is the ultimate excuse to go all out with fantastic food, drinks, music, décor, costumes, activities, and more. By bringing Mexican beers and margaritas, preparing tacos and enchiladas, blasting Mariachi music, and really decorating with bright colors and fun accents, you can immerse guests in the spirit of the holiday. Party games, piñatas, crafts for kids, and takeaway gifts are extra touches that make the fiesta complete. With these tips, you’ll be ready to host an incredible, festive Cinco de Mayo party!