Fun and colorful masks are a big part of the excitement of any Mardi Gras celebration. Many people enjoy hiding their real identity on Mardi Gras; it's all part of the mystery and fun. There is no better way to celebrate Fat Tuesday than by donning a festive mask. Masks are readily available both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. They're also easy and inexpensive to make on your own.
Types of Mardi Gras Masks
There are a wide variety of Mardi Gras masks available, but they basically break down into two categories:
Wearable masks have a basic paper or plastic mask as the base and are covered with feathers, beads and other embellishments. There are also wearable masks made out of paper mache.
Masks come in two versions:
- Full: A full mask will give you more mystery and drama, as it covers your entire face and better cloaks your identity.
- Half: A half mask is more practical, as it allows you to eat, drink and kiss unencumbered.
Many wearable masks have bands that wrap around the head to keep them secured to the face. Other masks have ribbons that tie in the back or are mounted on sticks and can be held in front of the face.
You can purchase a wearable mask as part of a Mardi Gras costume or individually. Masks can be worn with a costume or by itself with your regular clothes or a suit.
Ceramic masks are not suitable for wearing. They are painted and often have embellishments like ribbons, feathers and sequins. A ceramic mask can be quite expensive but is a wonderful decoration for a Mardi Gras party, especially if you live far away from the Mardi Gras action.
Buying Masks for Mardi Gras
There are many places online where you can buy Mardi Gras masks, both the wearable kind and the ceramic ones. The simplest sequined or paper masks can be purchased for less than a dollar apiece, while beautiful handmade ceramic masks can cost upwards of $300. For those attending a Mardi Gras celebration, it couldn't be easier to simply buy one of the many wonderful masks available at retailers such as:
- Mardi Gras Outlet: If you just want a basic, inexpensive mask, try Mardi Gras Outlet. They have a selection of paper mache masks that will go well with any costume. They also offer unpainted masks so that you can create your own design. For those who want something individual but don't want to fuss with paper mache, this is the perfect solution.
- Anytime Costumes: This site offers a selection of masks that are reasonably priced. Expect to find masks with accents such as feathers and butterflies and some with elastic backs or on sticks.
- New Orleans Mask: At this New Orleans based site, you can choose from leather, feather or Venetian masks. They are all crafted by hand and require an inquiry via email or phone about prices and availability.
- Mask Italia: While Venetian masks are generally more for Venetian carnivals, they also make exquisite Mardi Gras face masks, especially if you are interested in an elaborate costume. Look at the selection at Mask Italia for ideas and temptation. These masks are so beautiful, they can spend the rest of the year hanging on the wall.
- Theater Masks: If you want a mask with a more character/caricature design, go to this unique site. The selection of masks have been designed specifically to be worn for Mardi Gras and are created with attention to detail. All mask surfaces are glazed with a gloss finish and capture a realistic expression.
- Toomeys Mardi Gras: This site offers a wide selection of Mardi Gras masks. Browse through masks with or without sticks, ones done with sequins and feathers, Italian Venetian masks as well as rider and half masks.
Make Your Own Mardi Gras Mask
You can also decorate your own Mardi Gras mask to wear at a celebration or use for decoration. Simple undecorated masks can be purchased at craft or party supply stores. Use glue to decorate them with various embellishments, such as:
- Feather boas
- Colored tissue paper
You can also make a Mardi Gras mask completely from scratch by cutting out a mask shape from construction paper or card stock. Cut out eye-shaped holes for the eyes and attach a dowel or two pieces of ribbon to tie the mask to your head. Decorate in the same manner as you would a store-bought mask.
Enjoy Your Mask
Mardi Gras masks bring a spirit of fun to your celebration, no matter where you are. Laissez les bons temps rouler!