How to be a good host and guest through Carnival
One of the universal truths about living in New Orleans during Carnival is that at some point you’ll find yourself hosting people in your home, and at some point you’ll find yourself being hosted by someone else.
Each has its perks: When you’re the one throwing the bash you get to decide what food and beverages are on offer, as well as enjoying the comforts of your home (changing into dry clothes or comfier shoes, for instance); when you’re the one attending a party, you don’t have to clean up and can leave any time you feel tired.
That said, there are easy ways to make the necessity of being thrown together with people you may only see during this time of year – and sometimes the friends they show up with – or with strangers who graciously throw open their bathroom door for you, easier on everyone involved.
If you’re the host:
Make certain to have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages on hand; the latter is a necessity both for those who abstain and for those who may have been over-served.
Have a vegetarian option for food, even if it’s just a veggie tray.
Don’t over-serve yourself or take throws that belong to one of your guests; being a host doesn’t mean getting everything you want.
Stock up on disposable cups, plates, utensils and, of course, plenty of toilet paper.
If you’re the guest:
Carry something with you that you can share, such as containers of homemade punch or a six-pack, or even, if you’re feeling swanky, a stack of Mardi-Gras themed go-cups or napkins you’d be OK with gifting to the host.
Keep everything clean. If you or one of your guests has been over-served or is feeling sick, don’t be that person … ask the host where the cleaning supplies are and take care of it yourself.
Be sure to say thank you and, if possible, get the phone number, email and/or address of the host to send a thank you text, email or card – the latter preferred.
If we all follow the basic niceties, we can make this Mardi Gras the least stressful and most enjoyable ever.
If there are any tips for the host or guest that I’ve missed, I’d love for you to tell me about them in the comments.