Make your Own Costume
This is a bit of a Mardi Gras no-brainer. While it’s perfectly possible to pick up feathered masquerade headgear around a lot of parades, Mardi Gras is the perfect opportunity to channel your creative side and make a bright, fabulous festive outfit of your own. Dig through your own closet for any big-mistake purchases, embarrassing 80s relics or unwanted hand-me-downs and go to town. Check out thrift stores for gaudy colors and feather boas. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can turn your old newspapers into Mardi Gras masks. There are no rules to Mardi Gras costuming, so run wild and reuse.
Ride a Bike!
With any Mardi Gras celebration comes large crowds, and very often a certain amount of festive drinking. Bring your bike instead of your car, and not only will you find it easier and safer to get around, you’ll also avoid guzzling gas in traffic jams. If costume making got your creative juices flowing, you can even think about decorating your bike! If you’re joining Mardi Gras on vacation, look around for bicycle rental, and perhaps consider taking a bike tour while you’re there.
Support or Join a Green Krewe (Or Start One of Your Own)
This one’s a little more ambitious and takes a little more planning than other items on this list. Eco-aware Mardi Gras Krewes are beginning to pop up, and they have a lot of ground to cover. Aside from from the proliferation of plastic throws, Mardi Gras floats are often largely made of paper mache and crepe paper, and pulled by tractors or trucks. In New Orleans Krewe of Kolossus made their floats from recycled trash and other salvaged materials, while new-comer Verdi Gras make their beads from newspaper and salvaged wood in an effort to create a greener Mardi Gras less dependent on imported plastic goods. Chattanooga’s smaller Mardi Gras celebrations come complete with pedal-powered floats. In most cases, anyone can join a Mardi Gras Krewe, though membership dues vary wildly. There’s huge room for growth in the push for a green Mardi Gras, so if you can, jump in and support those who are working towards a greener Carnival!
Lead image © Flickr User Christopher Policarpio