Make your own piñata! and 11 other ways to throw the best Mexican fiesta party


Set the scene

Décor can be simple but stunning if you just stick to the bold colours, stripes and patterns. Fringed paper flags and decorations lend a fiesta atmosphere and are easy to make from brightly coloured tissue paper – get your kids cutting!


Our invitation is simple and stylish. You will need:

  • 1 sheet of A4 cardboard (in any colour) to make approximately three invitations.
  • On computer, divide an A4 document into 3 and set out the traditional Mexican greeting, “ola amigos!” onto each panel.
  • On a separate document, type the party details – venue, date, time and so forth.
  • Print out the one side onto the coloured cardboard, turn it over and print the party details.
  • Cut the cardboard into the three panels, about the size of an envelope.
  • Snip colourful pieces of tissue paper into fringes and glue onto the boarders of the card. You can overlap these for a creative effect.

Say thank you

Mini cactuses make a quirky and reasonably-priced take home present.

Party games

Make your own piñata

The Mexican piñata – a large, hollow paper maché figure filled with sweets and treats – is the hot item at parties right now.

The piñata is a great addition to the party; it looks pretty, and it combines a fun activity with the party gifts and sweets.

A donkey shape is traditional, but you can make your piñata as simple or as elaborate as you please – we went for a simple egg shape and dramatic fringing to suit our theme. You’ll need to
make the piñata a few days in advance of the party, as it takes a while to dry. Here’s how:

What you need

  • 1 large balloon
  • Newspaper or plain newsprint (available at craft stockists) torn up into strips
  • Wallpaper paste
  • Tissue paper in various bright colours
  • Bostik Clear glue
  • Strong cord
  • Ribbons in various colours
  • Sweets or party favours

What to do

  1. Inflate the balloon. Mix the wallpaper glue according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Dip the newspaper strips into the glue one at a time and place them on the balloon overlapping slightly. Do this until the entire balloon is covered. It helps to stand the balloon in a bowl so that it does not roll around.
  3. Leave to dry overnight. Add two more layers.
  4. Your piñata is ready for decoration when completely dry. You can tell this when the balloon starts to pull away from the paper on its own and deflates completely, inside the ball.
  5. Cut the tissue paper into strips about 3cm in depth and snip to create the fringes.
  6. Glue the first fringe around the diameter of the papermaché in the centre with the tassles sticking up. Then follow with another one below, overlapping the first fringe slightly. Keep going until the bottom half of the balloon is covered.
  7. Turn the balloon over and cover the second half with the fringing.
  8. Using a craft knife, make a small door at the top of the piñata and fi ll with sweets or party favours. Insert a length of ribbon in the top, close the door and tape it down firmly.
  9. Knot a few lengths of different coloured ribbons together at one end. Cut a small hole in the bottom of the piñata and thread the ribbons through, leaving them to hang out. Tape the hole closed at the bottom and cover the tape with fringing.

To play piñata, piñata

  • Hang the piñata from a tree so that it is about head height.
  • Each child gets a chance to try and crack open the piñata using a big stick.
  • Get all the children to stay well away from the child who’s having his go. Blindfold the child and let him have a go at swinging his stick at the piñata. Then the next child and the next, until it finally breaks apart and the sweets and treats fall out.

How many sweets?

Fill a glass jar with sweets in the colours of your party – count the sweets as you put them in. Each child gets a chance to guess how many sweets are in the jar. Write down each child’s name and his guess.

The person whose guess is closest gets to keep the jar of sweets as a prize. If you don’t want to be doling out mounds of sweets, you can fill the jar with marble.

Looking for a Mexican themed cake?

Mexican cake

This cake is simple to make – all you need are two store-bought cakes. The intricacy comes through in the chocolate collar and icing.


Chocolate cake

  • 1 large round cake
  • 1 small round cake

White chocolate fudge icing

  • 150g white chocolate, chopped
  • 675g icing sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 135ml cream
  • 15ml vanilla essence


  1. Place the icing sugar, butter, chocolate, cream and vanilla essence into a saucepan.
  2. Stir over low heat until the chocolate melts. Turn off the heat and stir until smooth.
  3. Beat the icing frequently while it cools and thickens.
  4. Place the large cake onto a platter.
  5. Ice with the chocolate fudge icing.
  6. Place the small cake directly atop the large cake, and ice.

Chocolate collar


  • 300g white cooking chocolate
  • Baking paper


  1. First cut the baking paper into a rectangle long and wide enough to wrap around the large cake. Cut more baking paper into a rectangle long and wide enough to go around the top of the small cake.
  2. Snip both papers in a wavy shape – like making a birthday crown for a child.
  3. Lay both sheets flat on a kitchen surface.
  4. Melt the white cooking chocolate in the microwave or in a double-boiler until smooth.
  5. Smooth the chocolate over the first baking sheet and wait until the corners start to harden slightly.
  6. Wrap the chocolate sheet around the bottom cake and mould around the cake. This should start to harden immediately. You have to do this very quickly before it sets.
  7. Do the same with the smaller cake.
  8. Once the chocolate has set, gently peel off the baking paper.
  9. Decorate with paper flowers, fresh strawberries and raspberries, ribbons and candles.

Need some mexican style food for your Mexican party?

Virgin sunrise


  • Orange juice
  • Grenadine


  1. Pour orange juice into a glass.
  2. Place an upside down tablespoon on the top of the orange juice and pour about two teaspoons of grenadine over the round of the spoon.
  3. The grenadine will sink to the bottom and cause a sunrise effect in the orange juice.

Gazpacho shooters


  • 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 sweet red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cups tomato juice


  1. Combine all the ingredients.
  2. Blend slightly to your desired consistency.
  3. Place in non-metal, non-reactive storage container, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, allowing the flavours to blend.
  4. Pour into shooter glasses and garnish with deep-fried tortilla wedges

Watermelon granitas


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 cups watermelon cubes, seeds removed
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 6 thin watermelon wedges


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with 1/3 cup of water and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Transfer the syrup to a blender or food processor, add half of the watermelon cubes and the lime juice and pulse until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining watermelon cubes and blend until smooth.
  4. Pass the pureé through a coarse strainer.
  5. Transfer to a baking dish and freeze, stirring every 30 minutes with a fork, until all the liquid has frozen completely. It should be about 3 hours. Spoon the granita into tall glasses or bowls and garnish with the melon wedges.
  6. The granita can be frozen for up to two days. Stir before serving.

Frozen virgin margaritas


  • 3 cups ice
  • 250ml fresh lemonade
  • 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Garnish: Sugared lime wedges (Brush lime wedges with egg white and dip into castor sugar. Dry on a baking tray before serving).


  1. Place ice, lemonade and lime juice into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into glasses and place garnish on the side of the frozen margarita.

Chicken fajitas


  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 8 flour tortillas, warmed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups lettuce, washed


  1. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and Tabasco sauce, salt and blend well. Place chicken strips in sauce, stirring to coat.
  2. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
  4. Drain chicken strips and add to the pan, discarding marinade.
  5. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes, stirring once halfway during cooking time.
  6. Add onion and green pepper and sauté another 5 minutes until chicken is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are tender.
  7. Sprinkle with lemon juice and remove from heat.
  8. Assemble your own fajitas with warmed tortillas, chicken filling, peppers, cheese and lettuce.

Summer salsa


  • 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, diced
  • ¼ yellow bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ green bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup finely chopped coriander
  • ½ cup chopped spring onions
  • 1 lemon (juice only)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Combine all vegetables together in a large bowl and squeeze in lemon juice and vinegar, sprinkle on salt and pepper.
  2. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Chill for three hours and enjoy!



  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1 ½ tbsp lime juice (or juice of one fresh lime)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peel the avocados and remove the pips.
  2. Peel and mince the onion and the garlic.
  3. Chop the tomato.
  4. Mash the avocado in a bowl (fun for the kids) and then stir in the remaining ingredients.
  5. Serve cold with nacho chips.

Do you have any other cool ideas for a mexican fiesta party theme? Tell us by emailing to and we may publish your comments.

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