Thursday, March 3, 2011

Masquerade Ball: Party Ideas, Games and More

Masquerade Party Inspiration Board by B.Nute productions
A Masquerade ball has a rich and long history of a party filled with merriment, mystery and even murder (in one case!) Dating back as far as the 15th century, many different cultures have embraced the masquerade party theme. Some more famous balls are the Venetian Ball, the Masquerades in Burgundy France, and Masquerade Balls put on by the Royal English court.

Today Masquerade Balls are celebrated all over New Orleans during Mardi Gras time. It is also very popular with the teen crowd, and as a Prom theme. But any age guest, young and old will love a traditional Masquerade Party any time of year.

Although many of the historical Masquerade Balls were thrown by royalty with money well beyond our imagination, below are ideas to throw your own ball with the same intrigue, but keeping a more manageable budget!

Decoration Ideas
Opulence is the key to any Masquerade Ball. Here are some decoations ideas to help create a rich looking party.

Rich Fabrics - Velvets, brocades, damasks, gold lamé; richly embroidered or decorated fabrics should fill the space. Drape on chairs, over tables, and buffets, or even as swags fro temporary curtains. The fabrics will add instant elegance to your space.

Gossamer or Tulle - Sheer fabrics will look fabulous if draped on the ceiling to form a tent feeling, or use as curtains in the doorways for a mysterious entrance into each room.

Jewels - Gems not only make a mask sparkle but also scattered on a buffet they can look quite elegant.

Harlequins and Jesters - Of course you could hire some actors to be jesters and harlequins at your party, but that may be a little too much for your budget. Instead, use the look of these 2 performers as inspiration. Diamond patterned fabrics or papers like a Harlequin, and a jester at or two can be great in your space.

Gothic Victorian: Ironwork, Stone Statues, Candles and a Hint of Vampire - Take cues from art direction of some great gothic-inspired movies such as Interview with a Vampire, Marie Antoinette (with Kirsten Dunst), Amadeus, Van Helsing, and Phantom of the Opera to name a few. Look at the details. Perhaps there's some ironwork, a candelabra, or other props you could imitate at your party.

Game Ideas
Dress to Guess - Throw a traditional masquerade and instruct guest to come in costume. Tell the there will be a contest to guess who's who, so come incognito! Tell everyone to take their masks off at midnight (or a specific time during the party) to real their identity. A prize should be given to the best costume, and/or hardest person to guess!

Who Am I - Perhaps elaborate costumes are too much to ask guests, but folks will love a good game of "Who am I?" Tape a name of a famous person (and a picture too if desired) to each guests back. Now everyone needs to ask yes and no questions to figure out who is on their back. To keep with the theme, and depending on the audience age you could have only historical people.

Dancing - A Masquerade Ball is not complete without dancing! Make sure to have some period music and modern music to mix up the scene. Perhaps even try to teach a few historic dance steps, for instance some Renaissance Dance Steps, to the crowd to have fun. In the movie, Amadeus, there was an elaborate dance scene at their ball for more inspiration.

Decorate a Mask - Depending on the age and nature of the party, set up a table on the side full of mask templates. Put out gems, glitter, feathers, ribbon and more, and allow guests to decorate a mask to take home.