Masquerade balls have been popular historically in Venice during Carnevale, in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and are today as a party theme the world over. The idea of a masquerade is to create the illusion of being in another time and place and hiding your identity so that you can take on a different personality. Carrying this theme through from the start with an effective invitation will ensure that your guests get into the spirit.
Sending an invitation in the shape of a mask will get the idea across quickly. Each mask can be the same, or each can be unique, depending on how much time and energy you want to commit. Consider historical decorating techniques, such as Mardi Gras style or Carnevale inspiration.
Because a masquerade is, above all, about mystery and hidden identity, creating an inversion illusion will add interesting artistic flair to an invitation. An inversion illusion is an image that turns into a different image when turned upside down. The invitation itself can also potentially open two different ways, so that, for example, the invitation text is visible when opened right-wise and the directions or RSVP information are visible when opened upside down.
Create a backstory for the masquerade to help your guests get into character. Create a video of yourself or someone else in costume orating the tale behind the party dramatically and send it to friends on a DVD as your invitation. Be sure to make a creative case for the DVD to maintain the illusion.
Send your guests old-fashioned scrolls as invitations. First, print the text on a recycled fiber or Japanese paper in an elaborate script, or write your own calligraphy. Then glue a dowel rod to both the top and bottom edges of the paper. Attach decorative end caps on the dowels. Finish the invitation by rolling up the scroll and tying it with a beautiful ribbon, and either hand-deliver it or mail it in a shipping tube.
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