BlogMay 2024

How To Throw The Perfect Backyard Cinco de Mayo Party

How To Throw The Perfect Backyard Cinco de Mayo Party

By Jeff Bogle

May 01, 2024

Here’s how to have a backyard Cinco de Mayo party with fun activities, Mexican foods, and decorations for a memorable Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Cinco de Mayo is a festive and fun day to invite friends and family over, serve tasty foods and drinks, spend time together outside, and play fun backyard games for Cinco de Mayo. Wondering how to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? It's easy when you throw a great backyard Cinco de Mayo party! We have put together some of our favorite games, Mexican foods, and decorative ideas to help you have a memorable Cinco de Mayo celebration. But first, let's learn a little Cinco de Mayo history before the friendly Cinco de Mayo activities begin!

Cinco de Mayo History

Two very important facts right off the (piñata) bat, Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day and this popular holiday on the 5th of May is far more popular in the U.S. than in Mexico.

The origin of the day goes back to the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, when an undermanned Mexican army defeated French troops in the town of Puebla, not too far from the capital Mexico City. While the fighting between these two sides would go on for many more years, this pivotal day was remembered and later, celebrated. Today, there are parades and battle reenactments in Puebla every May 5th, but not much else in the way of Cinco de Mayo activities in the country (except in Mexican tourist resorts).

The memorable Cinco de Mayo celebrations we know today began decades ago, with Mexican immigrants in the U.S. using the 5th of May as a way of extolling pride in their heritage. Cinco de Mayo party and drinking culture exploded in America much later when it was used as a marketed ploy by Mexican alcohol brands. Now that you know what it's truly about, you can throw a more meaningful Cinco de Mayo party this year!

How to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a Memorable Backyard Cinco de Mayo Party

Here are some easy ways you can up your Cinco de Mayo game this year, with loved ones and friends in your backyard, eating great food, and enjoying friendly Cinco de Mayo activities.

Dress Up Your Yard

Make Cinco de Mayo one of the holidays you decorate your home and yard for, by stringing up Mexican flags, cacti and taco-themed decorations, sombreros, and avocado printouts. Anything green, white, and red (the colors of the flag) will add flair to your backyard fiesta.

Use Colorful Plates and Napkins

While we love reusable utensils, plates, and napkins, sometimes it's okay to opt for disposable items to reduce cleanup time and add vibrant pops of festive color to a backyard party.

Play Backyard Cinco de Mayo Games

Many friendly Cinco de Mayo activities will have your friends laughing while practicing their baseball swing and their Spanish! Here are some fun backyard games for Cinco de Mayo to try this year.

Piñata Playtime

Head to your local party store to buy a cactus, donkey, or sombrero piñata then ask your guests to each bring a bag of their favorite candy to make the piñata a collaborative effort. Then pass around a bat or heavy stick to blindfolded guests and let everyone take a whack!

Spanish Word Search

Pass out sheets of Spanish word searches to see who can find most words in a timed competition. The winner gets first whack at the piñata and first taste of the guacamole!

Chili Pepper Guessing Game

Host your own episode of Hot Ones in your backyard as your spice-loving friends try to guess the type of piping hot pepper. This game is only for those who can handle the heat!

Play Soccer

When it comes to fun backyard games for Cinco de Mayo, it doesn’t get more fun or authentic than the beautiful game. Soccer is the official sport of Mexico, so have a few balls and some pop-up nets set up in your backyard for fun games of 5-a-side footy to celebrate the 5th of May!

Make Tamales

Before we even get to the munchies, make food prep part of your backyard Cinco de Mayo party activities. Making tamales is an easy way to engage your guests in the traditions of Mexico and make your gathering more memorable.

Make and Shake DIY Maracas

For youngsters and those young at heart, encourage party guests to make their own maracas. It’s easy! Just paint and decorate the outside of two mini plastic ups. Fill one cup halfway with dried pinto beans. Apply hot glue on the top edge of the cup and place the second cup on to stick it tight… then shake it all night!

Serve Delicious Mexican Food and Drinks

The Cinco de Mayo activities will be loved, but it’s the food and drink that will set your backyard Cinco de Mayo party apart!

Set Up a Taco Bar

Want to have a memorable Cinco de Mayo celebration? Set up a Taco Bar with grilled shrimp, fried cod, carnitas, black beans, chicken, carne asada, and some plant-based ground meat too for your vegetarian guests. Of course, you’ll need all the fixings (crisp shredded lettuce, corn, onions, and more), flour and corn tortillas, Mexican rice, and then make the flag out of dips - salsa (red), queso blanco (white) and salsa verde or guacamole (green).

Make Homemade Guacamole

While the core ingredients of avocados, tomatoes, lime, salt, and pepper are non-negotiable, you can get creative or choose to go classic with your guacamole. I prefer just those 5 ingredients, leaving out cilantro and onion for a smooth, rich, and uncomplicated guac. Try putting cotija cheese in or even some minced jalapeño to spice things up!

Heat Up Frozen Taquitos

Not everything has to be homemade. Save some time by buying a few boxes of frozen taquitos and popping them in the oven to have hot, tasty, finger food treats for your guests.

Make Mexican Street Corn

One of the true delights of everyday Mexican cuisine is the street corn, grilled and covered in mayo, cotija cheese, and chili powder. Yum!

Blend Together Agua de Piña (Mexican Pineapple Water)

Water, pineapple, and sugar blended into a sweet, refreshing drink will make some of your friends forget about beer.

Fall in Love with Tres Leches Cake

The world’s greatest dessert is moist and magnificent, and surprisingly, not that difficult to make. Once you taste this, you’ll wonder why it’s not a staple of every restaurant’s dessert menu!


After your Cinco de Mayo party is over, it’s time to get ready for the summer season with these 30 cheap, fun summer-time activities for the whole family!

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion