Autumn, Entertaining, People, Places & Spaces

A Venetian Masquerade Fête for Halloween

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Last year about this time, I found myself looking for an excuse for a party. Curiously, Halloween popped up. But if Halloween, then it had to be more than trick or treat and ghosts; it called for an occasion, a signature theme that would make this memorable for all. Suffering a bit of travel lust, I seized upon Venice, with its romantic and exotic overtones, ornate interiors within dreamy palazzos, lush textiles and furnishings — a Venetian Masquerade Fete, made all the more festive when its focus is champagne and dessert.

Artwork from Olive & Cocoa.

The sense of mystery and drama greeted guests as they rounded the last curve in the driveway, with washes over the house’s stucco facade, candles in all the windows, lanterns at the steps (a favorite detail for any party) and heavy russet velvet draperies (centered with an antique tole “Pope’s Plaque”).




The theme played well with the many antiques, like the wrought iron banister whose details were highlighted with a bank of candles descending down the steps .


Masks were very much a part of the theme, as announced in the invitation…from decorations to the guests’ attire.



“Birds of a feather…”


My favorite detail was VERY tongue-in-cheek (the best kind!)… and achieved with creative lighting. Our bluestone terrace off the salon was turned into a watery canal,  with the “waves” lapping at the house; lanterns along the edge provided light for the red-striped “gondola poles” which were positioned in such a way as to have you believe you were looking out into dark waters where the long black gondolas were tied up, just out of view.


An antique bronze grate, gilt-edged Italian neo-classical side chair and a bust of a Venetian Doge accented one corner of the dessert room.


And what did we serve at this party that started at 8:30 PM? Desserts!! (There will be details galore in the forthcoming blog on hosting a dessert party). The benefits of choosing this specific theme for a Halloween party? Guests will have time to take the little ones “trick or treating” and then go on to your adult party.



Happy Halloween…

All Images Courtesy of Kim Fuller Photography (unless otherwise noted).

If you enjoy this article, please share it!
Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

6 thoughts on “A Venetian Masquerade Fête for Halloween

  1. Thank you, Bettie, for this inspiring peak at your party. Suddenly I am in the Halloween spirit.

    1. Sweet Nancy, so happy to hear from you…who knows parties better than you and the Ts. Happy fall, miss you, Bettie

  2. YOU had me at the VELVET curtains at the front door!BRAVA………the canal the POLES all FABULOUS!WE need MORE parties like this…………….HAPPY HALLOWEEN to you this year.

    1. Wow,now I’m wishing I were having it again this year…especially with this divine weather. Happy Fall! Bettie

  3. Bettie,

    You have totally outdone yourself with this Halloween party. Stunning, elegant, creative, and absolutely, out of this world. The ‘Save Venice’ members would be extremely impressed!

    1. Hello Maryann and thank you for these flattering words. Wish I were in Venice right now (actually, I was supposed to have been…)
      Happy fall and party hardy, Bettie

Comments are closed.