Decorating for a themed party, such as a masquerade, presents both an opportunity to exercise your creative decor skills and a challenge to conjure up decor that reinforces the spooky theme. Whether you are decorating tables for a high school masquerade ball, a Gothic-style Halloween masquerade dinner party, or a swanky masquerade fundraiser event, take table design inspiration from visual staples of masquerades like masks and dark colours.
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Fortune Teller Setup
Set up a fortune teller's accoutrements in the centre of one of the tables at the masquerade in order to evoke the eerie, unsettling experience of having your future predicted. Start with a piece of fabric wide and long enough to cover the sides of the table and puddle on the floor. Pick a dark, rich colour like midnight blue or blood red. Add a crystal ball (you can often find evocative spherical objects in garden supply and decor stores) propped in a stand or floating in a silver bowl. Type instructions for gazing into the ball to foresee the future and print them out in a Gothic font. Use the instructions as place mats.
Cluster candles of different sizes and heights in the centres of bare tables made of dark wood for a dramatic masquerade table design suitable for responsible adults. Pick candles in a single colour, like white or red. Get tall, skinny taper candles and short, fat pillar candles and everything in between. Arrange each candle in a silver or black holder. Light them all at once and don't provide any other lighting. The flickering candles will provide ambience worthy of Edgar Allan Poe's masquerade horror story "The Masque of the Red Death."
Make mask centrepieces for each table as a direct reference to the masks that many people don when they attend masquerades. For each centrepiece, start with two cardboard cutouts of the classic covers-the-eyes-only masquerade mask. Make the cutouts larger than you would make them for an actual mask. Paint the cutouts black, silver or gold. Accent them with glitter, faux jewels, beads and feathers. To assemble them into a centrepiece, cut a slit down the middle of one cutout, starting from the top. Cut a slit up the middle of the other cutout, starting from the bottom. Fit the mask cutouts together in a perpendicular manner, forming an "X" so that no matter what direction someone sees the centrepiece in, the mask will always seem to be watching.
Creepy Old Clock
Set a freestanding old clock in the centre of each table to evoke a faded, eerie mansion and even conjure shades of the Mad Hatter's tea party from "Alice in Wonderland." Procure a variety of clocks from thrift stores and garage sales and apply antiquing paint treatments if necessary to make them look old. Set the hands in the midnight position on every clock. Or, for a particularly creepy touch, disassemble and reassemble the clocks so that the hands rotate faster than usual -- counterclockwise.
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