When it comes to Mardi Gras, the natives of New Orleans really know how to celebrate. In a carnival season that lasts from Twelfth Night to Mardi Gras, there are plenty of parties and parades to get into the holiday spirit.
Whether you're a native or a visitor, one of the most fun parts about the season is dressing up. Mardi Gras costumes are worn at krewe balls and in the streets of New Orleans. If you truly want to get in on the fun, bring a costume. It's all about celebration, over indulgence, and opulence before the day changes from Mardi Gras to Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent begins.
Although you may be attending a krewe party or ball, the day to dress up is Mardi Gras itself. If you're in the French Quarter, Mardi Gras costumes are a must. The streets become a veritable masquerade with hundreds of people celebrating with racy costume designs. Uptown, the costumes are a bit more modest considering that Zulu and Rex are family affairs. It is tradition to get up that morning and dress up and head out to celebrate.
There are a couple of traditions in the city when it comes to Mardi Gras costumes. When you live in the city, it's one of a distinct few. For some, it's one opulent costume that they wear each year as a tradition. From krewe kings to average locals, they keep meticulous care of their costume in order to wear it each year. Another tradition is creating a unique costume each year. Many are based on a political or cultural theme. Some of them can be quite creative and others can be quite raunchy but it's always fun to see what costume ideas will come to light on Mardi Gras morning. The last tradition is to have a box full of costume pieces and to just wing it on Tuesday morning. Most locals keep a box of costume pieces in their homes for the occasion, especially if it's customary for them to invite guests to the carnival season.
If you're heading down to Mardi Gras, costumes are not hard to come by. There are plenty of shops to buy everything from a simple facemask to a professionally tailored costume. Although the season is different from Halloween in the city of New Orleans, it is a similar tradition. Dressing up to celebrate is one of the most fun parts about the morning of Fat Tuesday. You'll see everyone from young and old dressed up with a piece of King Cake in one hand and morning cocktail in the other. It wouldn't be right to not dress up and participate in this local tradition, so come prepared or head out to a costume shop during carnival season for the best Mardi Gras costumes.