Stuck at home for Mardi Gras this year and want to make it more special than ordering Cajun shrimp pasta at Red Lobster? Try these tips:

1. Bake a king cake

King cakes (the traditional treat of Mardi Gras) can look like unicorn poop with their multicolored toppings, but the sugary dessert is beloved by many. Seriously there are like 2 cups of sugar in one of these babies. Allrecipes delivers on the recipe front. King cakes also typically have a prize baked inside (often a little plastic baby figurine) and the party guest who gets the prize-holding slice is declared king for the day.

2. Listen to some Dixieland jazz

Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and W.C. Handy are just a few stalwarts of the genre. Check them out on YouTube or iTunes and be transported into a dustbowl-era Mardi Gras parade. You can't do worse than starting with this gallery of classics (if the footage looks black-and-white, it's probably the good stuff).

3. Hold a masquerade

Go to a party store and buy a bunch of bedazzled and feathered masks. Spend the night pretending you're at a fancy plantation soiree. Make up a fake name for yourself like "Lurlene Beauregard Lee" and speak in a Cajun drawl.

4. Watch a Mardi Gras-themed flick.

In "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars," the duo mistake a Mardi Gras celebration for Mars after their spaceship malfunctions and sends them to New Orleans. The trippy "Easy Rider" features a scene where the "heroes" get high in a New Orleans cemetary during the festivities. And IMDB tells me a movie starring Carmen Elektra was made last year called "Mardi Gras" in which "a group of college buddies sow their wild oats in New Orleans." Sounds promising!

5. Hand out beads to a woman when she expresses her intelligence


- Contributed by Cole Stryker