Masquerade balls have been around at least since the 15th century. They were public affairs of elaborate dress and festivities, becoming quite common and popular. However, by the 18th century the desire to plan, execute or attend one of these functions eventually dwindled. Luckily, towards the end of the 19th century, groups began to revive the lost art of masquerading into a less formal event known as a costume ball. Attendees don less extravagant dress and retire the proper etiquette found during the social galas of the past.
These get togethers are once again thriving and becoming more wide spread, especially with the younger generations. Costumes are not just for Halloween anymore and plenty of people are embracing the joys of dressing up for these special occasions. Some balls or parties have themes, such as the Medieval era, decorating with suits of armor and women attending in elegant princess style gowns. Other groups may decide on a movie themed bash, asking guests to wear their best Star Wars costume.
Alternately, there are many “Anything Goes” costume balls where the guests are allowed to show up in any costume they desire. Generally, couples will chose to wear matching or complimentary outfits, whereas a single person is more likely to wear the most flattering costume they can find. Many costume parties these days are adults-only shindigs, but some folks will still allow children to be invited along with their parents. Adding children to your invite is a wonderful gesture since kids are experts at deciding on costumes and usually only get the chance to put one on just once a year.