- Rule numero uno is to use bright, bold colors.
- Start with the most summery, striped piece of cloth you can find at the fabric store. Don't worry about doing any hemming — this is a sewing-free idea. Just fit it on the table and top with a montage of plates in full-fiesta colors.
- Get the party started with plates stacked in fruity flavors, like tangerine, melon, lemon and lime, with a plaid kitchen towel tucked in between as a napkin.
- A sombrero centerpiece puts dessert on a pedestal. Wrap a cake stand in an extra dishtowel (to match the napkins) and rest a straw hat on top. Add a colorful plate of mini lime cheesecakes as the crowning touch.
- Tequila shooters liven things up, especially when served in waves of sand. Pour colored play sand into wavy stripes in a shallow glass dish and nestle etched-glass shot glasses in the sand.
- Toss some pillows on benches to bring in even more color — and entice guests to settle in and stay a while.
- Spray paint terra cotta pots and plant a cactus inside for a fun party favor.
- Turn extra votive candles into mood-enhancing place cards. Use a cookie cutter to cut colored paper into ovals. Write the guest's name on the front and punch holes on both sides. Thread a ribbon through the holes and around the votive, tying in the back.
- There's always the limbo, but to get your guests dancing, play the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gypsy Kings or Texas Tornados.
Plan a Semi-Homemade Cinco De Mayo Party
With help from Sandra Lee