Throw the Perfect Fiesta!

Time to bust out the piñata! Cinco de Mayo is the perfect occasion to show off your party-planning skills. A festive atmosphere and a lot of great food will help fuel the fun.

Set the mood. Before the party, fill green, white, and red paper bags with sand, and add a tea light to each one. Line the sidewalk leading up to your house with the luminaries for a festive entrance. Inside, string colorful paper banners along the ceiling (warning, they’re so bright and happy that you might not take them down), and make a playlist of mariachi and salsa music so guests can try their hand at dancing.

Scatter appetizers. Serving up your world-famous guacamole and homemade pico de gallo? Set appetizers on different tables around the room to keep guests from clustering in one area. Ask guests to pitch in and bring a homemade salsa or dip of their choice. Print copies of each recipe and set them near the dish so everyone can take home their favorites.

Make dinner DIY. Cinco de Mayo involves a smorgasbord of delicious dinner ideas, like burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and an array of tasty dips. Use the days leading up to the party to chop veggies, and set out serving dishes ahead of time. On the day of the party, make pulled pork in a slow cooker for hands-off prep and easy cleanup. Then set out a range of hard taco shells and soft tortillas with the pork, veggies, and cheeses for a DIY buffet. Guests can create their own perfect dish! Be sure to label hot sauces on the buffet table so guests can turn up the heat according to their liking.

Give salsa lessons. Maybe you have a talented friend who can lead the group, or you could invite an instructor from a local dance studio to teach everyone how to salsa. A friendly dance competition gives guests an opportunity to shake off some of that pulled pork dinner and show off their skills. Award the best dancers with prizes, like margarita-making supplies.

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