Ideas for a Black & White Masquerade Party

by Sera Rivers

Masquerade parties were a big part of 18th century Victorian culture because they allowed people to mask their public personalities. Today, people continue the tradition of masquerade in both formal and informal settings. When planning a black and white masquerade party, it is important to know the theme beforehand. All guests must wear a mask to attend, removing them near the end of the party to reveal their true identities.

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Venetian Ball

The Venetian or domino masquerade is a ball by tradition and requires both male and female guests to wear either all-black or all-white cloaks, sometimes with a hood. To keep an even balance, ask male guests to wear black and females to wear white or vice versa. The cloak masks the full identity of the guests. Masks may be colorful and elaborate. To keep Venetian tradition, guests should greet each other with specific phrases like "I know you. Do you know me?" The ball may include synchronized dances like the waltz and 18th century carnival games.

Gothic

Vampires, devils and figures representing death are examples of costumes guests might wear to a Gothic masquerade party. Ask attendees to wear all black dresses or suits and incorporate the white in their masks to maintain a scary, mysterious theme. The venue for a Gothic party should use black lights or candlelit rooms. Activities may include dance performances, labyrinths and murder mysteries.

Animal

A fundraiser masquerade party with an animal theme will entertain guests while helping a worthy cause. Guests can get creative with a black and white animal theme. Zebras, skunks, ravens, huskies and orca whales are some examples of animal costumes. Guests should wear full black and white attire. For a formal setting, tuxedos and ball gowns may be worn. Animal theme activities may include races and scavenger hunts.

Historic

With a historical figure theme, guests will enjoy guessing the costumed characters in addition to the people behind the masks. The party may have a specific time or place like Ancient Greece or 18th century England, but it is not necessary. Masks may include both fictional characters and real people. Examples include characters from the Phantom of the Opera or Swan Lake and prominent figures in history like Emily Dickinson, who only wore white, or Edgar Allen Poe, who wore mostly black and wrote dark themes. Activities should involve trivia about the characters. Ask guests to write a few trivia questions about their characters on index cards with the answers on the back. Guests will drop them in a box when they arrive. The game should be played after guests have had time to mingle. Guests should not tell each other who they are dressed as but may give clues when speaking to others.

About the Author

Sera Rivers is a writer, writing coach and child advocate. In 2007 she began teaching creative writing in group and private settings and freelancing for "Southwoods Magazine." She writes online about Western Massachusetts special needs kids. Rivers received her Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from University Without Walls at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2010.

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