The Best and Worst Mardi Gras Throws for Kids

This year I am riding in Nyx. Although I used to ride in the Metairie parades on Mardi Gras day with my family, I am excited because this is my first time in an Uptown parade. It is also my first time buying throws. Being a mom, when I was shopping for parade throws, I gravitated towards things to throw to kids. When I considered what to buy, I felt guilty about spending so much money on things that will be largely discarded. To ease my conscience, I thought about all of the Mardi Gras catches that are play-time staples in our house and made my purchases accordingly.

After talking to my fellow contributors about what Mardi Gras items go a long way in their homes, I’ve compiled this list of the best and worst Mardi Gras throws for kids.


Musical Instruments: Some parents might not like noise-makers, but, in our house, we use Mardi Gras horns and tambourines to form family marching bands throughout the year.

Foam Swords: Last year, my son caught a foam pirate sword, and it is one of his favorite toys. Period. We have other foam swords from toy stores, but when my son and his friends or cousins are playing, they all fight over the Mardi Gras sword. I purchased a couple dozen of these swords and are going to throw them to my son and his cousins when I see them.

Dress Up Items: Anything that can be used in a dress up box – tiaras, boas, scepters – are popular with our families. Bonus points if they light up!

Rubber Chickens: Y’all. Rubber chickens are the golden ticket. Our kids love catching these, and we think they’re funny, too.

Snacks: Moon pies? Bags of chips? We’d love to catch those and feed them to our kids who are complaining that they don’t want any of the food we packed for them. One year, when I rode as a kid, my dad ran out of throws towards the end of the parade route so he started handing out our leftover Popeye’s chicken. People loved it!

Balls: Food is great on the parade route and so are balls. If you catch a football during the first parade, you can play a game of pitch and catch with your kids while you wait for the next one. We have a whole basket full of small, Mardi Gras balls that we throw around the house during the year.

Saints Paraphernalia: While we are on the subject of balls, Saints-themed items are always appreciated. We love having props while we watch the game. This year I bought a bunch of black and gold, fleur-de-lis clappers. I know those will be a hit in our house when cheering for the Saints.


Beads: Yikes! Did I just say that? Hear me out. I’m not saying to do away with beads (although a lot of parents would say so since they often contain lead), I am just saying that they are they are some of my least favorite throws for kids. Nothing quite pelts one harder than a Mardi Gras bead. There are also so many strands of beads left on the ground, covered in beer and dirt, just waiting for sets of tiny hands to pick them up and stick them in their mouths.

Stuffed Animals: It seems like stuffed animals would be on the best list. After all, they are soft so you don’t have to worry about them hurting your kids when thrown. Also, kids love stuffed animals. Unfortunately, the stuffed animals we catch at parades automatically get donated to the thrift store so someone can buy them to throw the following year. My kids already have so many quality-made stuffed animals that the cheap little toys just wind up in the way. Plus, it’s easy to wipe off the plastic items for your kids to use, but the stuffed toys? Not so much.


Sexy Underwear: Okay, we can all agree that it is funny to put a pair of Mardi Gras undies or a garter your kid’s head, but what are you actually going to do with them after the parade? And one of our contributors had her kids ask 50 questions about why that man threw Mommy underwear. {Cringe.} 

What are your favorite and least favorite throws for kids? 

Marie is the owner of Little Hometown, a company specializing in locally themed baby swaddles and apparel. Prior to opening her business, Marie was a professional event planner turned stay-at-home mom. She spent nearly a decade living in New York City, where she met her husband, Jeff (a New England native). Early in their relationship, Marie told Jeff that New Orleans is the only place where she would want to raise her children. As soon as she got pregnant, they started shopping for houses. They moved back in December of 2012, welcomed their son in 2013 and their daughter in 2015. Marie now spends her days entertaining her kids with silly songs, desperately attempting to stay organized, and balance her life as a work-at-home mom.


  1. Welcome Syster! A word on the kids stuff, throw it early. Like you, I bought a ton of kids stuff. Our parade is so big and runs late, so, there were not as many littles as I’d hoped later in the route. Hail NYX


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