Ideas for Halloween or costume parties such as a masquerade masks ball can be frustrating given how difficult it is to come up with a costume that everyone can recognize. Anyone interested in pulling out all the stops on their next party, however, can choose a Phantom of the Opera costume and ensure that everyone will recognize the effort. Even those who have not seen the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical will almost certainly recognize the character on sight, for the iconic half mask and cape cannot possibly be confused for any other character. In addition, inexpensive mens masquerade masks make the entire outfit not only snappy but also easy to put together.
The Phantom of the Opera was first published as a novel in 1910, but received very little attention in an era where most entertainment was positivist and forward thinking, rather than dark and Gothic. The story of the Phantom, who had been tragically scarred and rendered unspeakably ugly, did little to sway over audiences more interested in dashing heroes or unmarred characters. By comparison, 1910 featured the first movie version of "Wizard of Oz", a reflection on how a morally pure character like Dorothy would be more attractive to cinema, theater, and fiction fans. The character of the Phantom may have been forgotten if not for the 1986 reincarnation by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who turned the narrative into a cult classic.
The origin of the Phantom (and his appearance and dress) depends upon which version of the story someone watches or reads. In the original novel, the Phantom was deformed from birth. Later adaptations had other reasons for his deformity, such as becoming disfigured during an accident in which the theater burned down. In either case, he wears an iconic mask, similar to those of masks for masquerade ball events, so that his features will not terrify people. He dwells deep within the recesses of the Paris Opera House, wearing a turn-of-the-century tuxedo or evening suit. His character is prone to dramatic entrances and exits, so that anyone sporting a costume should do their best to make a grand show!
Today, the outfit of the Phantom has been so widespread across culture that it can be recognized by nearly anyone, even those who have never seen the theater production or the film adaptation. Perhaps most peculiar about the costume is the mask, similar to Venetian masquerade ball masks but slanted at a diagonal angle to coincide with the Phantom's injury. Anyone putting together the costume should pay special attention to how the Phantom of the Opera masks should fit across the face. Rather than covering the entirety of the face, the mask should cover the forehead, cheek, and only one eye for the proper "aura". While different theater productions have used variations on the mask and may have it covering the entire face, it will be most recognizable as a Phantom of the Opera costume if it is only covering a portion of the face. For a truly all out effort, apply makeup under the mask to simulate the look of scars and burns.
Finding an inexpensive Phantom of the Opera costume is far from difficult due to the simplicity of the outfit. Indeed, the only true staple of these costumes are the masquerade ball masks, as the clothing need only resemble turn of the century formal wear. Some outfits use a cape for "dramatic" flair, but the mask is by far the most important piece as it is the only constant in the productions of the plays and films. Those looking to buy Venetian masquerade ball masks need not limit themselves to only using the piece in conjunction with a Phantom costume, as it can be used as a part of other costumes or as a stand-alone piece.
Those looking to buy Phantom of the Opera masks have a wide variety of choices available, everything between inexpensive masks and the highly decorative designer options. When putting together a costume, simply ensure that it fits well enough on the side of your face: tight enough that it will not slip but not so tight that it will be too warm and cause perspiration. Some skin-tight masks are available, but most use a string (disguised by the hairline or concealed with a hat) for fittings that are more comfortable.