Fabulous French Baroque Masquerade Halloween Party!
Keep It Simple!
1. Costume – This will influence everything!
2. Luminarias – to direct guests to entry.
3. Party favors – are a nice touch.
4. Decorations/Balloons – kept simple and thematic but useful
5. Centerpieces – need not be pricey.
6. Paper goods – in theme colors.
7. Pot luck - an easy option.
8. Your food contribution - keep it simple to prepare.
9. Butternut Squash Soup – warm, wonderful and easy to prepare! (see posting of recipe)
10. Have an original Theme cake! (see posting on theme cakes)
1. Costumes make the party more fun! You start to play the part! So my advice is first and foremost, choose your costume! I was Marie Antoinette and my husband was Napoleon! My living room has old gold color tones with lavender accents and a little chartreuse so I wanted my costume to look elegant and beautiful in the setting! Since all I had to do was go on line and google Marie Antoinette and Napoleon costumes, this step was it was relatively easy! There was quite a price and color range. I found a dress that was gold and lavender with tiny pink accents. It was about $60. Since I have really dark brown straight hair, I opted to go all out and bought the powdered white wig that was a foot tall with tendrils and curls everywhere. The wig was about $30. The tapestry shoes were also about $30 and I needed to buy an additional petty coat to give myself about 4 inches of length on the dress. It originally did not EVEN cover my TENNIS UNDERWEAR! For my husband the Napoleon costume was about $50 and I purchased a better hat and a white wig. For both of us I found gorgeous gold and silver masks for $6 and $14!
2. Create a Dramatic Entrance by starting at your front gate. I lined the path to the front door with black bags with votives inside for luminarias. They were hauntingly dark but did the job. I was too rushed for time to cut out a bat or a fleur di lis into the bag but it would have been a very nice touch! I also tied several black balloons to the iron gates and had spider webs draped across them blowing in the wind with six foot tendrils.
3. Party Favors are a great way to leave a lasting impression and for your guests to recall the great time they had every time they use the item. Going with the French theme I chose a silver Fleur de Lis bottle stopper. It couldn’t be a better choice for my friends, many of whom are either wine lovers or vintners. I used small black gift bags with black sparkly paper, filled with crimped and shredded black paper along with a small sheer organza bag filled with black M&M’s!
4. Décor really sets the stage and I did not want to go the route of orange pumpkins and witches so I went for the “castle that has been neglected for a few hundred years look”! I found a plastic picture that had a holograph of a portrait that went from a pleasant looking man to a wolf man and hung that over one of my family photos. I found an Eiffel Tower that was silver and glittered to which I added 4 votives to the bottom layer and set it amongst the buffet dishes. Black roses with black glitter were a great find. I only found half a dozen so I separated them and made very contemporary. Balloons work for just about EVERY occasion! For this party I checked out Party City, bought two helium canisters and filled 75 large black balloons. I tied them with black ribbon that hung from the ceiling to about 30 inches from the ground so that they gave a spider web effect having to use your arms to wade through them! Spider webs were the perfect ingredient to add to the mix! I draped them over the chandeliers and sconces. I had them draped over the stair rail above the entry so my guests would have to walk thru them upon entering. In the covered patio I created a tent like effect with the webs using the centrally located chandelier as the starting point and strung the web out about 12 feet in all four directions and connected them to a lantern that was attached to the house.
5. Centerpieces were black glittered flowers, gold and silver glittered sprays and little flowers. I have lots of vases collected from over the years so I found four six inch cube shaped clear glass containers. I opened a black cocktail napkin, stuffed it into the vase and topped it with a square of Styrofoam. I added the flowers and tuck in the napkin around the base to hide the styrofoam. Who knew! You can have any color vase you need based on the napkin color!
6. Paper goods/ Real Wine Glasses were kept to a simple theme of black, gold and silver. Some of the plates and napkins had an acanthus leaf pattern. (Found in many forms of French Architecture!) I got bowls, dinner plates, appetizer/cake plates and black cutlery. The napkins and cutlery were displayed in two more 6”square clear glass vases. I only like wine in REALLY big stems so we used only glass! Real Glasses. I cannot stress this point enough! Wine taste so much better in a wine glass and your guests appreciate the “extravagance”. If you can use real wine and bar glasses rather than plastic cups do so! Cost Plus and Pottery Barn have inexpensive items that you can buy in large quantities and have for all future parties!
7. Make it a pot luck! The only reason I was able to make such a fabulous setting for my friends was because they provided the most incredible dishes! this left me the time and energy to create a memorable party atmosphere! From Ratatouille to meat balls we had enough food to feed all the emperors men.
8. My Food contribution was simple – Soup and Theme Cake. Soup or anything else you can prepare in one big pot is super easy, hearty and warm! I made butternut squash soup. My husband stocked the bar and we were set to go! I designed a cake and took the instructions to Pavillions to make! All my husband had to do was pick it up!
9. Butternut Squash Soup is the perfect side dish for a Halloween or any Fall feast! It’s in season, warm, rich, healthy and delicious! My recipe is simple, squash and spices! Look for my post with the recipe!
10. Theme Cake makes a great centerpiece to the buffet table! Mine had famous French landmarks on it surrounded by headstones! Look for my post on Theme Cakes!