Mardi Gras with kids can be a blast with a bit of planning and setting your expectations LOW. We have four kids ages 2 through 10, and every year we have more fun than the last. With a few simple steps, we are parade-ready in no time!
If you are on the fence about potty training your two-year old, don’t do it. Just wait until Ash Wednesday. There, see? Decisions are being made already!
Pick your Spot
This is going to take some research. Which parade are you attending? Do you know anyone or are you familiar with any businesses on the route? Make sure you have a bathroom plan and are prepared to buy a pack of gum every few hours to get you bathroom access. Some local churches even sell daily bathroom passes (it’s worth it!). If you are overwhelmed, take to the NOMB Neighborhood Groups for your community and ask for information about the specific parade you plan to attend. There is a wealth of knowledge there! Alternatively, find a parade-veteran friend and tag along!
Plan your Gear
After you determine where you are going to be stationed, determine what gear you’ll need. Blankets or chairs? Ladders (know the ladder laws) or bleachers? Some of our must-haves are a wagon, ice chest, snack bag, diaper bag, chairs, blankets and catch bags. If you decide to purchase tickets to any Parade Parties or viewing areas, you won’t need to bring much outside of throw bags, but it’ll cost you.
Plan your Adult:Kid Ratio
I have four children. Mardi Gras alone isn’t an option. I try to make sure I have at least one adult for each two children. That could be a friend, spouse, or a neighbor who agrees to help be responsible for small humans. Whatever ratio you choose, make sure it’s right (and safe) for your family!
Pack your Snacks
Hit up Sams Club or Costco and get your snacks ready. If you spend many hours on the route, like most of us do, you’ll need the energy and entertainment that only dry cereal in a snack bag can provide.
Last year was the first year we actually made signs, and it was absolutely the key to the best throws. Make them portable, but large enough to be seen, especially for the bigger parades like Muses, Nyx and Endimyon. Be sure to personalize them if you know someone who is riding! Pro-Tip: Keep the Sharpie you used in your bag and sharpie your cell phone number to the forearms of your kids before you get on the route.
If all of this is too overwhelming and you’d rather leave town, we totally understand (kind of) and hope to get you on board next year!