Origins of the Costume Party
A costume party takes its origins from the masquerade balls which started during the 15 century in Europe. They were held for varied reasons and usually started off with the endless procession of guests making their entrance and properly presented to the gathering. There was always a reason to celebrate and to hold festivities especially in Venice as it became associated with the holding of their Venetian Carnival tradition. The holding of a masquerade ball in Venice died down along with the fall of the Venetian Republic.
Nevertheless, masquerade balls remained popular in other European countries throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. They took to masquerading more seriously hence, the masquerade ball slowly transformed into a costume party as guests made more efforts to be unrecognizable. This was inspired by games held during the celebration, as guests tried to guess the identity behind the costume and the mask.
However, this also led to the occurrence of murders during masquerade balls, where assassins took advantage of their hidden identities. The most popular and celebrated at that time was the death of King Gustav III of Sweden. Soon enough, novelists like Edgar Allan Poe, found the masquerade balls as good material for his short stories. The behavior and the colorful stories that emanated from these festivities made it interesting enough to inspire, literary settings, plays, operas and short stories.
It came to a point when certain groups of people formed an alliance to wage war against the holding of masquerade balls. They implored upon authorities to take certain measure against the holding of this traditional masquerade balls. It was fast becoming a great contributor to immorality in the society. This then signaled the waning desire to be a part of the revelries in the olden day style of a costume party.
Present Day Costume Party
In the U.S. today, a costume party is associated with the annual Halloween’s Eve celebration. The young generation had their fun trick or treating while the older ones including the teenagers had their fun via the holding of a costume party. Halloween’s Eve celebrations became the favorite for movie settings in horror thrillers.
Hollywood also celebrates by way of costume party for their movie openings or book launchings especially if the movie or book is of a science fiction theme or fantasy setting. In New Orleans, costume party events are still popular in celebration of carnivals like the Mardi Gras. These are also celebrated in the same manner by the Caribbean nations.
In the UK, costume parties remain popular all year round and are called by the Britons as a fancy dress party. The British Royal Family is said to be the number one celebrants of the fancy dress party or costume party even to this date. In fact, they still receive much criticisms from the public as the members of the Royal family are still placed under great scrutiny.