Looking for a birthday theme that’s fun, festive and easy?
I’d like to suggest a Mexican Fiesta. A friend and I co-hosted a Mexican themed birthday party several years ago and it’s still one of my favorites.
More reasons to love this theme?
Most people love Mexican food and drink, the bright happy colors make decorating a breeze and it’s simple to repurpose some household items you already own for the party.
Keep reading for Mexican Fiesta ideas that will make your party a hit, including:
- Easy decorating Ideas
- Delicious food & drink recommendations
- Fun activities to Include
- Songs to add to your party playlist
Easy Decorating Ideas for a Mexican Fiesta
Decorating for a Mexican Fiesta is fun! The bright colors lend themselves to a happy atmosphere.
By adding in a few classic items such as sombreros and serapes (woven Mexican blankets; very often with fringes on the edges) you’ll be ready before you know it.
A buffet works well for a Mexican fiesta!
When it comes to entertaining, I recommend selecting a few key areas to decorate. There are several advantages to this approach:
- Easier to decorate a few spaces than many
- Grouping items together makes a bigger impact
- Makes for fun party photos
For a Mexican themed birthday party, decorating the buffet/dinner/food table is a great place to focus. Use several overlapping serapes as tablecloths, scatter a few sombreros and serve food out of clay or ceramic pots.
(Apologies that some of the photos below aren't as crisp and clear as they should be. They were shot on an earlier iPhone.)
Another focal point I usually decorate with is the dessert table. I’m a huge fan of sweets and a fiesta is just an excuse to enjoy several types.
In the picture below, you’ll see we made tissue paper flowers and used them to decorate the chandelier. We added some mesh ribbon and topped it off with a piñata and a sombrero.
If you’d like to make decorating even easier, add this Happy Birthday centerpiece to your table. Standing nearly 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, it will grab guest's attention the moment they walk in! Sold exclusively by Birthday Butler, you can have it set-up in under 2 minutes.
The easiest birthday decor to add to any fiesta! Learn more here.
(That's me in the photo. I don't usually wear a sombrero, but as a small business owner, you gotta do what you gotta do! 😉)
List of Mexican Fiesta Decorations
As always, the amount of decorations is up to you! Depending on how much time you have and what your budget is, you may choose to go big or small.
Below, is a list of decorations to consider. Items with an asterisk (*) are ones that you may be able to borrow from a friend.
Wondering how to ask for a favor in Spanish? Try this!
¿Permíteme por favor tomar prestado tu sombrero?
If your friend replies, "Of course you can borrow my sombrero!", you did well! 😀
Cacti and succulents add a lot to the decor!
Must Have Fiesta Decorations (Big Impact, Low Effort)
- Serapes (Mexican blanket)*
- Pinata (technically, NOT a must-have. But they’re so darn cute!)
Things from Your House to Repurpose for the Fiesta
- Clay pots*
- Ceramic pots*
- Woven baskets*
Fun Touches to Make Your Party Guests Smile
- Peppers on string
- Chili peppers
- Paper flowers
- Paper Flags with cut-outs (papel picado)
- Flower balls (poofs)
Mexican Fiesta Beverage: Margaritas, Cervezas and More
I can’t imagine a fiesta without margaritas...or maybe that’s just because I really like margaritas!
Margaritas are typically made with tequila, triple sec and lime. Choose to serve them frozen or on the rocks and consider offering a version with fruit like pineapple or strawberry.
Don’t worry about serving them in a classic margarita glass---I’ve learned the hard way that it can be very difficult to walk around a party with the wide, low glass and not spill.
If you’re expecting a large crowd, you may want to rent a frozen margarita machine from a local party supply company.
There are many other tequila cocktails to consider, such as the Paloma and the Tequila Sunrise.
You could also offer cerveza (Mexican beer) for those who try to stay clear of tequila. Some popular Mexican brands—Modelo, Corona, Pacifica and Tecate, Dos Equis.
Don't have margarita glasses? No problemo!
Margaritas are just as tasty when served in a jelly jar.
A Word of Caution When Serving Tequila at Parties
I’ve hosted dozens of parties over the years and found the margarita packs a bigger punch than any other cocktail.
So that your guests don’t end up under the table before dinner is served, always have a non-alcoholic drink choice and have pitchers/containers of water available.
If you run into the situation where everyone is feeling very tipsy too early in the evening, consider adding a bit of water or limeade to the margaritas to dull their impact.
Menus for a Mexican Fiesta
Before beginning to make your menu, consider the following:
- Do you want to serve a full meal?
- Would heavy snacks be enough?
- What time of day is the party?
- Will people be standing up or sitting down while eating?
- Will every person have a table to rest their plate and drink on?
- Will you make the food yourself? Hire someone? Order takeout?
- Will you be serving alcohol? (Having guests drink on an empty stomach isn’t good for anyone!)
There’s no right or wrong answers to these questions. I just find they’re really helpful in getting clear on what food items will and won’t work in a particular setting. The answers will also help you know how much prep time you’re going to need before the party.
Hors d’Oeuvres vs. Appetizers?
Hors d’Oeuvres are eaten before the meal and are typically finger foods. Appetizers are usually eaten as part of the meal while seated. If you’ve ever been at a formal wedding where waiters/waitresses are serving morsels of food on trays, those ar hors d’oeuvres.
Most importantly, both are equally tasty!
Dinner Menu for a Mexican Fiesta
- Select 2-3 entree options (Fajitas, Chicken Enchiladas, Beef Tacos, Burritos)
- Mexican rice
- Refried or black beans
Heavy Appetizers for a Mexican Birthday Party
- Chips, salsa and guacamole bar
- Jalapeno Poppers
- Chicken Tacos
This Party Tip Will Impress Your Guests!
No matter what you serve, put place cards with the name of the food near each dish. Guests always love this detail and it genuinely only takes a few minutes to do!
Over the years, i've also found that adding a few comments (spicy! or "extra sauce is great on the enchiladas" to the cards can help.
Add place cards to each dish you serve. Your guests will appreciate the information and your thoughtfulness!
Mexican Fiesta Party Tip Your Friends Will Love
Another idea that always gets rave reviews is having a menu of what you're serving.
I've done it many different ways--chalkboard, picture frame and in the photo below, I used a letter board.
Get your guests excited about the meal ahead!
Use a menu board to let them know what you're serving.
(Sorry again that the photo isn't better. No idea why it looks like I'm standing in a hole! 😉)
Desserts for a Mexican Birthday Party
For the party I mentioned above, my co-host made this birthday cake. She said it was super easy. She made cakes in round pans and then dyed vanilla frosting in rich hues. Since she was running short on time, she decorated the cake using fake flowers. It was a delicious hit!
Decorating with fake flowers saves lots of time!
If you’re thinking you’d like some other sweets, a Tres Leches cake, fried ice cream balls or churros with dipping sauces would go well.
A churros bar with dipping sauces would be yummy!
It’s completely up to you whether you write “Happy Birthday” or go with “Feliz Cumpleanos.” Below you’ll find how to sing Happy Birthday in Spanish.
Happy Birthday Song in Spanish
Feliz cumpleaños a ti
feliz cumpleaños a ti
feliz cumpleaños querido a (name)
feliz cumpleaños a ti
Activities for Your Mexican-Themed Party
If you’d like to offer your guests an activity during the party, here are a few that are fun and keep with the theme.
Offer a tequila tasting-Set up different tequila and mezcal varieties and let guests experience the differences. They’ll enjoy learning new phrases like reposado, blanco and añejo and more.
A tequila tasting will help your guests appreciate the spirit anew!
Hang a piñata-I’ve always found this activity to be amusing---whether it’s with kids or adults! Simply fill the piñata with candies and then string it up on a tree branch outside. Before too long, the final blow will break it open, and it will be raining candy.
Birthday Trivia-having guests answer questions about the celebrant is a good party activity. Click here to read more about including birthday trivia and worksheets.
Songs to Add to Your Playlist: Mexican Fiesta Music
Music helps set the mood!
Creating a playlist prior to the party means one less thing to worry about when your guests arrive.
Music for a Mexican themed birthday party can be a mix of standard party favorites with some Latin favorites thrown in.
If you're wanting to go for a more authentic experience, consider hiring a mariachi band.
11 Fun Songs to Include on Your Mexican Fiesta Playlist
Conga (Gloria Estefan)
One Margarita (Luke Bryan)
LaBamba (Ricky Martin)
Mexico (James Taylor)
Tiempo De Vals (Chayanne)
Hips Don’t Lie (Shakira)
Vivir Mi Vida (Marc Anthony)
I Like it Like That (Pete Rodriguez)
Oye Como Va (Santana)
Tequila (The Champs)