Since beads are the best thing to throw at Mardi Gras parties, events and celebrations, it's helpful to know how to select the best beads since there are such a wide variety available.
Tossing beads into the crowds of revelers has been a tradition since the 1870s. Beads have become highly collectible, so it's a great idea to include several different styles of beads for throwing.
Choose beads by color. Gold symbolizes power, green represents faith and purple reflects justice. Combine all three colors and you have the traditional purple/green/gold color motif most associated with Mardi Gras. Throw beads come in assorted bead sizes as well as differing lengths.
Select elegant and vintage Chechoslovakian glass beads or more inexpensive plastic beads. Molded on thread beads, also called MOT beads, are the most commonplace and the beads are attached directly onto the threading. Hand strung beads are more unique, threaded individually by hand.
Among the most fun and creative choices of throw beads are beads selected by theme. Choose animal themes such as farm animals (cows, chickens, pigs) or zoo and African animals (lions, tigers, zebras). Sports themes are popular for thrown beads, including footballs, helmets, baseballs and basketballs.
How about a fruit and vegetable motif? Beads can feature grapes, apples, berries and oranges. For beads with a tropical flair, choose those with a Hawaiian or Caribbean motif showcasing hula dancers, palm trees, parrots and other colorful tropical birds and flowers.
Pirate themes are always popular and well received, with treasure chests, Jolly Roger flags, doubloons and skulls and crossbones decorating these throw beads.
Fish and sea creatures make for a colorful selection of throw beads. Since music is such an important part of New Orlean's history and the Mardi Gras celebration, why not choose beads that include replicas of jazz trumpets, horns, guitars and saxophones.
Bead themes can also celebrate well-loved holidays, with hearts for Valentine's Day, bells for Christmas, Shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day and flags to honor July Fourth and Veteran's Day.