You could throw a costume party. But you’re looking for something classier — something a little less bobbing for apples and a little more drinking champagne with pinkies in the air. You’re looking for a masquerade ball. A masquerade party is a precursor to the modern-day costume party, but this elegant affair isn’t just for Halloween. Dressing up while donning masks makes an excellent party theme for bat mitzvahs, New Year’s Eve, fundraising galas, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and quinceañeras. Whatever the occasion, we want to help you celebrate. To create a masked ball that’s better than you imagined, use this must-have guide to masquerade party themes, decorations, food, and invitations. Did you think that “masquerade” was the theme? Well, that’s just a starting point. Here are a few ways to heighten your masquerade theme for the most extravagant, Instagram-worthy bash everyone will love.
For photo ops that pop, pick an eye-catching color scheme. An all-white masquerade, black and white masquerade, or black and gold masquerade are classic options. But you don’t have to limit yourself to the classics. If you’re throwing a 50th birthday party and the guest of honor’s favorite colors are melon and chartreuse, make it a watermelon and chartreuse masquerade.
Plan your decor to match your color scheme, and consider handing out matching masks as a party favor. You can give guests white masks or black masks for a black and white ball, or hand out gold masquerade masks to match a black and gold theme. For a fun activity, you can also set up a craft party table where guests can DIY their masks with cutouts, sequins, and feathers.
A masquerade theme and Mardi Gras go together like jazz and New Orleans. Mardi Gras masks are a traditional part of the celebration. To make everyone feel like they’re in the French Quarter, host your masquerade ball on or around Fat Tuesday, encourage everyone to wear purple, green, and gold, and hand out beaded necklaces as a festive party favor. There’s nothing quite like the glitz and glitter of a Gatsby gala. Celebrate the Roaring Twenties by serving champagne out of a coupe and mixing up a few bootlegger cocktails. Add in some Art Deco decor (think bold, geometric patterns and metallic hues) and encourage guests to match their masquerade ball mask with their favorite flapper outfit.
Celebrate the origins of the masquerade ball by throwing a traditional Venetian masquerade. Encourage guests to find their own artisan Venetian masks, or use them as part of your party decor. Music and dancing were an integral part of traditional Venetian celebrations, so find a playlist with classical Italian music, or go all out and hire a string quartet. Bonus points to any guest who shows up in 16th-century attire.
If you’re a fan of fancy dress, set the fanciest dress code of them all: black tie. Men will don their best tuxedo, women will wear their most beautiful ball gown, and the whole party will show you just how nicely they clean up. Sure, this type of soiree can cost a pretty penny, but the memories will be priceless.
From New Year’s Eve to Halloween and everything in between, consider throwing a masked party with a holiday theme. Host a Christmas masquerade celebration and encourage guests to don costumes in sparkly red, green, and silver hues. For an October bash, forget the Halloween costumes. Instead, ask everyone to come dressed in elegant orange and black ensembles, then pass out masks upon arrival. Whatever time of year you choose, let the season inspire you.