Masquerade Magic

By Lain Ehmann

With ghouls and goblins dancing through the air this month, why not take advantage of the season and sponsor a costume ball at your next big get-together? Offering salespeople a chance to come as their favorite movie star or super hero may be just the ticket to livening things up. Here are some tips for making your masquerade event a smashing success:

  • Pick a theme. Rather than having a generic “dress-up” party, ask people to come in theme. Whether it be 50’s, Hawaiian, or gangster, narrow the field for attendees. This allows everyone to get into the spirit of things without adding the pressure of having to come up with an original costume, says event planner Sharon Fisher, president and CEO of Play With a Purpose in Orlando.
  • Bring in the goods. To reduce the amount of planning required even further, Fisher suggests inviting a local costume rental company to come in and set up shop on site a day or two before the big night.
  • Offer a “Make Your Own” option. Another spin on the costume party: Have attendees make their own garb, says Fisher. She’s done events where there were stations for people to decorate their own hats, receive face painting or a temporary tattoo, and decorate their own Tyvek lab coat. “The party becomes creating your own costume,” says Fisher.
  • Appeal to their competitive side. Low-cost prizes are a great way to inspire attendees without making competition the focus of the event, says Fisher. “Don’t make the prizes anything really good,” she says – honorary versus monetary in value is better.
  • Don’t sweat the party poopers. With any activity, “there’s always going to be a percentage that’s going to whine about it,” says Fisher. You can ignore this contingent or try to involve them in a low-stress way, she says.
  • Tie in with your meeting theme. Think about tying the costume theme to the overall theme of your meeting. For instance, “Take It to the Top” could mean a mountain-climbing theme, or a contest for the tallest hat creation. Likewise, for a new product launch, think about an “Out of this World” alien theme.

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