How to Throw a Latin-themed Party for Kids

How to Throw a Latin-themed Party for Kids

See the differences between a children’s party in the U.S. and what you likely experienced back home.


There’s no party like a Latino party: festive music, abundant food, colorful piñatas and a huge (and growing!) guest list. It’s a loud, boisterous and beloved tradition. But if you’re planning a Latin-inspired fiesta for your children’s friends, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Parties in the U.S., especially those for children, are usually a more formal affair. Only kids are invited, and attendees stick to a somewhat strict schedule. There’s pizza, there’s cake, and there are structured activities.

A traditional Latino party is none of the above. So talk to your invitees’ parents. Set expectations. Be passionate about cultural differences. And then get started planning!

1. Be Inclusive
If you’ve ever been to a Latin fiesta, there’s one thing you know: everyone’s invited! Your children’s friends have probably never attended a party of Latino proportions – one where parents and siblings and family friends are also invited – so treat them to true south-of-the-border hospitality with an inclusive invitation. You’ll probably want to include a brief explanation as to why parents and siblings also welcome.

2. Cook up a Traditional Food Storm
Traditional fiestas often revolve around the food — not just in theme, but the quantity. At a true Latin fiesta, your host will stuff you full of food and then send home a doggie bag! Plan for your down-home favorites – arroz con pollo, tortillas, beans, salsa, tamales, guacamole and whatever else makes your mouth water (and that’s easy to cook for a crowd). Be sure your guests know not to eat before they come.

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3. Decorate the Way Abuela Would
Truth be told, Latin parties are casual so Abuela probably wouldn’t have done much decorating. That doesn’t mean you can’t go all out, though! Balloons are a party staple – go ahead and hang them here, there, everywhere. You can also deck out your party space in flag-colored streamers that color-coordinate with plates, cups, napkins and cutlery.

4. Crank the Music
A Latin party is no party without music – and we’re not talking the Hokey Pokey! Create a mix of your favorite merengue, salsa and bachata tunes, and don’t forget to teach your invitees a few basic steps, so they can shake it like a true Latino! Be sure to throw in some Latin jazz and rock en español, too.

5. Get Your Fun on with Cultural Favorites
Keep it casual: instead of planning intricate crafts or Pin-the-Tail games, let the kids run and play. Activities are also popular at Latino kids’ parties, so consider doing face-painting, providing bubbles or setting out some crayons and cultural coloring pages.

6. And Lastly, Don’t Forget the Piñata!
The world may think of piñatas as a Mexican party accoutrement, but the truth is that piñatas are party must-haves in many Latin countries. And don’t forget to google traditional piñata fillers: peanuts in the shell are popular in Costa Rica; fruit is a favorite in Mexico; and many cultures add small toys to the filler mix.


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