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Masquerade Ball

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Paper faces on parade...

"Green and black,
Queen and priest,
Trace of rouge,
Face of beast,
Faces -
Take your turn, take a ride
on the merry-go-round
in an inhuman race!"
The Phantom of the Opera, "Masquerade"

Want to show off just how rich, elite, and extravagant your upper class is? Have them celebrate everything with a Masquerade Ball. With bizarre masks and elaborate Gorgeous Period Dress, everyone's identity is sufficiently obscured for any number of misunderstandings. Either Horror or Hilarity Ensues.

For really grand scale masquerades, the writers may include festivities where the entire city dresses up in grand costumes, a la Carnival/Mardi Gras. Which maximizes the chance for confusion and mingling with people one would normally never know. Hard to avoid in New Orleans and Venice.

A popular 19th-century setting, due to, as The Other Wiki puts it, "both to their popularity at the time and to their endless supply of plot devices." To wit: Mistaken identities, untraceable murderers, believing something is All Part of the Show, a normally-costumed character hiding in plain sight, (or mocked for their poor quality costume) and one of the attendees' masks being revealed to be their actual face. A court is a... difficult place.

The refinery on top of the sheer trope goldmine that is the Masquerade Ball is the convention of using aliases to go with the masks. Historically, that can free participants to indulge in era-appropriate 'scandalous' behaviors — and also make a good opportunity for the uninvited to crash. Watch out for the mass robbery by the Phantom Thief and Classy Cat-Burglar, and hope there's a Golden Age Super Hero around somewhere. Charity Ball often combines with the theft, to give the thieves a good way to infiltrate.

A modern costume party has some of the potential for this, especially if there are disguises abounding. If it's an actual Masquerade Ball in a modern setting, expect at least one guest to bring out the Romeo and Juliet quotes. If Fanservice is desired, the modern costume party has a great advantage: Whereas the nineteenth century believed in modesty, the twenty-first century is a time in which you can expect plenty of Sexy Whatever Outfits.

Even those who vainly deny that Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory may grudgingly admit the social metaphor inherent in the Masquerade Ball.

A Sub-Trope of Dances and Balls and a period-specific Sub Trope of Themed Party.

Has nothing to do with the Masquerade (and can actually mean a break from it, such as For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In The Big O, Schwarzwald rigged it so that the masks would eventually explode.
  • Hello! Sandybell: When Marc and Kitty are engaged, they have one. Sandybell disguises herself as a cookie vendor to sneak in and dance with him.
  • Isabelle of Paris begins with Isabelle preparing for one, as in French society it's customary for every woman to debut at one.
  • Frequent in La Seine No Hoshi, which takes place during The French Revolution. Out of all the nobles, Marie Antoinette is frequently called the most beautiful woman at the ball.
  • Lupin III: Dragon of Doom features one hosted by Chin Chin Chow on his luxury cruise ship. Lupin and Jigen (dressed up as a vampire and a werewolf, respectively) managed to attend the ball through forged invitation cards, whilst Fujiko (dressed as a cowgirl) really was invited.
  • In Moriarty the Patriot, Albert and Irene meet at one of these in The Scandal in the British Empire to converse discreetly and share information, while showcasing the excesses of the aristocracy.
  • The Rose of Versailles works at least one into the plot, with Marie Antoinette sneaking out of Versailles to attend one in the city where she meets Fersen, kicking off her major romantic subplot.
  • Sailor Moon: Both the manga and first anime feature Usagi attending a masquerade ball held at the D Kingdom's embassy in order to find out if the royal family's treasure is the Silver Crystal and if Princess D is actually the Moon Princess that they are looking for. The scene is more significant in the manga as Mamoru and Usagi both reveal that they have memories of each other in a past life at this event. Naturally, the two of them also share a dance together.
  • The second arc of Umineko: When They Cry ends with a demonic twist on one of these celebrating the resurrection of the witch. Everyone except for Beato wears goat head masks. The halls are decorated with golden butterflies. There is plenty to eat and drink.
  • Urusei Yatsura: The Mendo family has a masked ball every year. This is a rather psychotic pun as the word for "ball" (as in party) can also mean "combat challenge". Which is what it was - all the participants put on masks and attack each other, taking out their frustrations in anonymity. (Then the monk Cherry shows up, having mistaken the Japanese phrase "masked ball" for "grape harvest" and wants to pick grapes ... Rumiko Takahashi likes puns.)
  • In Vampire Knight, a Masquerade ball is held in Chapter 87 of the manga, with Zero and Yuki sharing a masks-on kiss, away from the crowd. You'd expect these types of scenarios in a world filled with aristocratic bishonen and bishoujo vampires having a social structure heavily resembling a monarchy.
  • Vassalord: In vol. 4, Rayflo sends Charlie a note to attend a masquerade so they can meet up. They quote The Phantom of the Opera at each other and eventually a fight between Barry and Charlie breaks out.
  • Voltes V: As if you needed any more cues that the Boazanians are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to France, in General Dange's flashback, the nobles are shown having a Masquerade Ball, while the commoners are excluded and forced to do hard labour.
  • Wolf's Rain: The climax has the villainous Nobles gather to celebrate their slightly insane plan with such a party.

    Comic Books 
  • In both Detective Comics #359 and Batgirl: Year One, Barbara Gordon first created the Batgirl outfit as a costume for a party (and to annoy her father in the updated story). When the party was crashed by supercriminals, she responded to the crisis like a costumed crimefighter rather than a costumed partygoer (Which Bruce Wayne did, seeing as he was in a clown outfit at the time), starting her journey to become a member of the Bat-Family.
  • Happens once in a while in Diabolik. On one occasion Ginko complained that the terrorists that were the villains of the story could have infiltrated it by just wearing a mask... And not only their leader does just that, but Diabolik and Eva are there too, wearing costumes over their perfect masks.
  • Firefly: The Sting: The commitment day ceremony is a lavish event that takes place in the convent. All the attendants dress fancily and wear white masks that leave only their eyes uncovered.
  • Featured in the Gargoyles comics by SLG. A costume party is held on Halloween at the Xanatos building- where the gargoyles fit right in and Elisa is dressed like Princess Jasmine. (She likes Disney Princesses for some reason.) Meanwhile, Fox and David Xanatos are attending a masquerade at the White House.
  • In Lady Mechanika #4, Mechanika infiltrates a masquerade ball being thrown by her nemesis Lord Blackpool by knocking out a female guest and stealing her costume and invitation.
  • Sensation Comics: The first time Countess Draska Nishki shows up she throws a Masquerade Ball which Steve Trevor is instructed to attend to act as a honey pot even though Steve already knows Nishki is expecting him. The Holliday Girls attend the party as well and one of them dresses as Wonder Woman and ends up mistaken for the real thing when she's spotted helping a drugged Steve escape.
  • The Smurfs hold various types of masquerade parties in the comic books, although, in a one-page gag, most of the Smurfs end up going to one party as Papa Smurf, except for one Smurf who seemingly went as himself — only it turns out to be Papa Smurf in a costume.

    Comic Strips 
  • Modesty Blaise: In "Our Friend Maude", Modesty and Willie take advantage of an 18th century-themed masquerade ball being held by a group of arms dealers to spy on them. They have to improvise madly to come up with costumes and invitations in time.

    Fan Works 
  • The Fundamental Essence of Villainy: Masquerade, as the title would suggest, takes place at a charity masquerade ball.
  • A common trend of this in Harry Potter fanfics is to hold another Yule Ball (sans the Triwizard Tournament that it's supposed to go with).
  • The current (so far only) major plot in The Strex Family is being set up by one of these.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Barbie as Rapunzel, Rapunzel gets invited to one by the prince.
  • Sky Blue has one of these at the very start; Shua sneaks into Ecoban wearing an appropriate mask.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Amadeus, Salieri follows Mozart to a masked ball, at which Mozart ridicules Salieri to the delight of the crowd.
  • Batman Returns has a costume Christmas party, where everyone wears a costume except, of course, Batman and Catwoman — for whom their civilian identities are their costumes.
  • In Brick, Laura holds a "Halloween in January" party.
  • In Crackerjack, Bernie Fowler takes advantage of Cityside Bowls Club holding a fundraising costume party to defy his restraining order and sneak in dressed in an Elvis Presley costume.
  • In Cruella, the Baroness has a fondness for hosting masked balls. Cruella first announces her presence on the fashion scene by crashing the Baroness' Black & White Ball wearing a gown of vivid red.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle go dancing at one organized by Miranda Tate. Rule of Symbolism applies, as both Miranda and Selina are wearing masks, symbolizing their ambiguous role. Bruce Wayne isn't wearing a mask...except he is: that of "Bruce Wayne, Eccentric Billionaire", a mask for his true nature as Batman.
  • One of these happens at the end of the giant Disney Animated Canon tribute-slash-Deconstruction-of-itself Enchanted.
  • Labyrinth: Villain Jareth places a Dream Ballet illusion of this in protagonist Sarah's mind. For those of you who like symbolic details:
    • Earlier, we see that Sarah owns a little music box with a princess-like figure in a poofy dress, twirling atop it, and inside walls of glass and mirrors. In Jareth's illusion, he turns Sarah into this music-box princess.
    • There are mirrors in abundance. Sarah has to shatter them to break the illusion.
    • Jareth removes his mask while the guests retain theirs, and yet he is often in close proximity to mirrors, including two which are held up to him on either side by masked women when Sarah first spots him.
  • Love Me Tonight: Maurice, a tailor mistaken for royalty, wears his everyday clothes as a costume.
  • Madam Satan: Jimmy stages an elaborate one on his blimp, which allows Angela to seduce her husband Bob in her "Madam Satan" disguise.
  • The Man in the Iron Mask uses this to switch out the corrupt (literal) Evil Twin king for the good one, with the added bonus that the hidden twin had spent his entire life wearing a heavy iron mask, which he flashed to the king from under the decorative gold one to freak him out.
  • Marie-Antoinette, her husband, and her two favorite ladies sneak out of Versailles to attend a masked ball in Paris in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006).
  • Masquerade (2021): In keeping with the movie title and recurring mask theme, Daniel and Olivia attend a high society gathering where the attendees wear eye masks.
  • The Pink Panther (1963): During a costume party at Dala's villa in Rome, Sir Charles and his nephew separately attempt to steal the diamond, only to find it already missing from the safe.
  • Rags: Majesty Records holds a masquerade ball in celebration of a talent search. Charlie has to attend it in secret after his step-family steal his invitation and gets in and out undetected with a hat and mask.
  • In creepy parallel to Judge Turpin below, Revenge of the Nerds has the lead nerd use his college-fair Darth Vader costume to trick the heroine into sex.
  • In Ridicule, a scorned lover attempts sabotage at an elegant costume ball in pre-Revolutionary France.
  • The film Start the Revolution Without Me (a humorous account of the French Revolution) has a hilarious send-up of this type of party. Even though it's technically not a Masquerade Ball, everyone still wears elaborate court dress—except for King Louis the XVI, who arrives in an elaborate chicken costume. (Apparently his devious wife told him it was supposed to be a costume ball and then "changed her mind" without telling him.) There's also plenty of intrigue, spying, and backstabbing going on as the ball patrons exchange secret notes with each other—so many notes in fact, that the entire floor gets covered with them.
  • In the musical number/flashback "Poor Thing" in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Lucy Barker, the wife of the title character, is lured to the house of Judge Turpin by Beadle Bamford, who tells her that the Judge is remorseful about what he did to her husband and wants to see her at his mansion. Unknown to Lucy, the Judge has thrown a wild masked ball at the mansion that is well underway when Lucy arrives. Lucy, confused and disoriented by the sights and sounds of the party and from the number of drinks she has at the place, winds up in the hands of Judge Turpin himself, who is anything but remorseful and has used this party as a means to trap and rape her:
    Mrs. Lovett:
    She wasn't no match for such craft, you see,
    and everyone thought it so droll.
    They figured she had to be daft, you see.
    So all of them stood there and laughed, you see.
    Poor soul!
    Poor thing!
  • In Terror Train, there's a masquerade party held in the title vehicle, providing plenty of disguises for the killer.
  • The climax of Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief is set at a ball, where people wear lavish costumes from the era of Louis XV.
  • Van Helsing: Dracula stages one of these with Anna Valerious as his unwilling date and inviting Van Helsing to come and rescue her. For added creepiness, the ballroom is lined with mirrors that reveal Anna is the only human in the crowded room.
  • In Zorro, the Gay Blade, the governor holds a Masquerade Ball. Zorro shows up (in costume) and is unmasked as Don Diego, but then all the other male guests show up, also dressed as Zorro.

  • Batman: Many of the short story collections feature this. A few times Bruce Wayne shows up in a Batman costume. How silly!
  • The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast: Some, but not all, of the guests attend the ball in masks. These include a fox in a Punchinello costume, a snail who wears a bright smiling mask to hide his shyness, and another fox who is wearing a rabbit mask and sitting with a rabbit in a fox mask.
  • Discworld:
    • Referenced by Death explaining why he appeared at a summoning ritual with a cocktail and a sausage-onna-stick. "The party's nice, but I expect it'll all go downhill after midnight. It's when they think I'll be taking my mask off."
    • Witches Abroad also includes Death apparently wearing a carnival mask, and in Maskerade he actually does (along with the full Red Death ensemble), with the shock coming when he does take it off.
    • In Witches Abroad, the story of Cinderella Emberella is done at a masquerade ball. The Witches use this to switch the poor scullery girl with one of their own.
    • The Discworld novel Maskerade is an Affectionate Parody of The Phantom of the Opera, complete with Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, rural Lancre witches who have no concept of how to behave in high society, dressing up this way and attending an opera performance. This goes about as well as could be expected given the witches concerned.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden gets invited to a vampire masquerade ball in the third book. It's a trap, of course, and he knows it. So he declares his opinion on the subject by showing up in the cheesiest vampire costume ever.
  • Ella Enchanted: The ball at the end is a masked affair, which is convenient for Ella since in this Cinderella retelling the prince already knows her well enough to recognise her unmasked (not to mention her stepfamily). In this case, most of the guests don't wait until the end of the night to unmask, since the event is about introducing the prince to eligible young ladies, and said young ladies want the prince to be able to see how beautiful they are.
  • The Folk Keeper: Everyone dresses in costume for the Midsummer Festival. Corinna, as a nod to her Magic Hair, dresses as Samson.
  • Gardens of the Moon: The party at Lady Simtal's estate is one of these. Most people seem to choose masks based on desired personality traits. Councilman Turban Orr, for example, wears a tiger mask.
  • The Golden Age: Opens with a masquerade season to celebrate a once-in-a-millennium holiday.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: Queen Selenay, partly as a way to see if Prince Thanel of Rethwellan is truly serious about her, holds a masquerade party after the year of mourning for her father is up. She and her eleven ladies-in-waiting dress up as the identical-looking Moon Maidens from Rethwellan legend. Thanel, who is costumed as the Moon Prince, is able to pick Selenay out due to the rose she was wearing at her belt and proposes marriage, which she happily accepts and the two announce their betrothal at the time of unmasking. Too bad things went downhill after the wedding.
  • Incarceron: The beginning of the climax to Saphique takes place in a Masquerade Ball.
  • The King in Yellow: Very obliquely mentioned in an excerpt from a scene of the eponymous Brown Note playscript-within-the-book.
    CAMILLA: You, sir, should unmask.
    STRANGER: Indeed?
    CASSILDA: Indeed it's time. We all have laid aside disguise but you.
    STRANGER: I wear no mask.
    CAMILLA: (Terrified, aside to Cassilda.) No mask? No mask!
  • Kushiel's Legacy: Frequently feature elaborate masked balls, usually at the winter solstice; however, the trope is averted in that most people's identity isn't really concealed all that effectively. It's an effective plot device for forcing characters together, however.
  • The Man Who Was Thursday: Ends with one.
  • The Masque of the Red Death: It ends badly when someone dressed as an incarnation of the eponymous disease turns out to be that incarnation and spreads it to the rest of the Deadly Decadent Court.
  • The Other Boleyn Girl: Mary Boleyn flirts with Henry VIII at a masquerade in his court.
  • Partners in Crime: Agatha Christie uses a masquerade ball as the starting place for a murder in the two-part story "Finessing the King"/"The Gentleman Dressed in Newspaper".
  • The Phantom of the Opera: Has a masquerade scene where the Phantom tributes Poe's story.
  • Phoenix and Ashes: Based on Cinderella, there is a masquerade ball towards the end of the book. The heroine, Eleanor, attends costumed as a fairy princess. (Her stepsisters are dressed up as historical personages Empress Josephine and Madame de Pompadour, while her stepmother is the Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute.)
  • The Reynard Cycle: The opening chapter of Reynard the Fox revolves around the titular character taking advantage of a masked ball in order to commit his latest heist. In a nod towards the series' origins all of the guests are dressed in costumes that resemble the animals of their heraldry (Lord Chanticleer, for instance, is dressed up as a bantam rooster.)
  • The Royal Diaries: Masquerades pop up occasionally.
    • Henry VIII loves these types of balls so Elizabeth has attended a few. She notices unmarried couples taking advantage of the disguises to sneak off together for some...ahem, fun.
    • Catherine is quite puzzled because the Russian tsarina Elizabeth prefers balls where people dress as the opposite sex.
    • A masquerade plays a key role in Mary, Queen of Scots's story: her music teacher Signore Marcelline was making unwanted advances on Mary Livingstone, threatening to denounce her as a whore if she tried to expose him. The Marys figure out what happened when he attacks Mary Beaton instead, being unable to tell them apart because of the disguises they wore.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The Free City of Braavos was founded as a refuge by escaped slaves from the Valyrian Freehold, and for its first century-plus the location and nature of the city was kept carefully hidden. Every year since the public declaration of their city's existence, the inhabitants of Braavos celebrate this event with ten days of feasting and masked revelry.
  • Swan's War: The climax of the first book of the trilogy is a masked ball with such an abundance of plotting, provocation, and foreshadowing that it defines the evenings of both following books.
  • Turntables of the Night: Terry Pratchett does a take on "The Masque of the Red Death" in this short story, set at the modern-day ultra-mundane version of the Masquerade Ball; a small town Hallowe'en disco. Everything goes well at first, everyone dancing around in stupid masks and costumes until a man in a black rhinestone suit, platform shoes, and a skeleton mask arrives...
  • X-Wing Series: Variation on the planet Adumar. The perator (king) of Cartann puts on a mask at royal balls which makes it socially acceptable for others to treat him as just another guest, even though everyone knows it's him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100 has a flashback where The Ark holds a masquerade party. Since Octavia had to keep her existence hidden from the rest of the Ark, this was the only occasion when she was able to leave her family's quarters and see the rest of the space station.
  • Alias: Brought the Wig, Dress, Accent to new levels by attending a modern retro masque party, where Sydney meets a New Old Flame who's probably The Mole.
  • Doctor Who:
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Robert Baratheon mentions during their hunting trip that his younger brother Renly likes to organize these.
    • Margaery Tyrell describes a great masquerade ball held at Highgarden each year to celebrate the harvest moon (apparently attendees spend months working on their costumes).
  • General Hospital: The annual Nurses Ball, which is also used to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS.
  • Gossip Girl: Being about rich socialite teens, they have a Gorgeous Period Dress costume ball.
  • House of Anubis: One of these took place in season 2, although most of the time the masks weren't worn anyway. However, a notable instance of when a mask was used was when Joy stole Nina's in order to trick Fabian into kissing her, as they were already wearing the same dress.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In "The Thing Lay Still", Lestat de Lioncourt (and to a lesser extent Louis de Pointe du Lac and Claudia) organizes a Mardi Gras ball. Most of the guests are the elite of New Orleans, and they're decked out in lavish costumes and masks.
  • Keeping Up Appearances: Hyacinth wanted to go to the Lord Mayor's Fancy Dress Ball as Marie-Antoinette, but ended up with a Boudiccea costume instead.
  • Leonardo: The second episode of season two is "The Betrothal Ball", set at the Medici's masquerade ball during Florence's Carnivale.
  • Once Upon a Time: Cora meets Prince Henry at one in "The Miller's Daughter".
  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • In "The Festival", a masquerade festival is being held in a park near Madison High School.
    • The masquerade in "Cinderella for a Day" is a swankier event, a dance held at the local country club.
  • Revenge: The Graysons hold an annual masquerade ball at Halloween. It's cancelled in the first season because of Daniel's legal troubles, but staged in the second season episode "Masquerade," with Emily manipulating Victoria into thinking her pre-Grayson son might be in attendance.
  • The Swamp Fox: Mary was arrested for treason and told she'd be released after attending one. Marion sneaks into the ball in a redcoat uniform and tries to sneak her out. They both get caught, although they both escape soon after.
  • The Tudors: While not a "ball", King Henry stages a pageant for the visiting Spanish envoys where all participants - including Henry himself - start out wearing anonymous masks, only removing them once the dance number begins.
  • Ugly Betty: A black-and-white masque ball provides cover for on-the-lam Claire Meade to talk to her estranged husband again.
  • Zorro: The episode "Masquerade for Murder" features a masquerade ball at the De la Vega hacienda. Although it's a pretext to have a masked assassin meddling with the guests and try to kill the governor. Naturally, Sergeant García confuses Zorro with a masked guest.

    Music Videos 
  • In the video for Avantasia's "Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose", a masquerade ball makes an appearance.
  • The video for Florence + the Machine's "Shake It Out".
  • One Republic's video for "All the Right Moves" features a masquerade ball of Edwardian style - complete with a thieving rat.
  • The video for Poets of the Fall's "Daze," is set at a lavish party where Venetian-masked attendees (band members among them) literally burn money, presided over by Hamartia, the Monster Clown jester-king. The plot kicks off when a female attendee decides to unmask and ghost, which Hamartia doesn't care for at all...
  • A masquerade ball is the central setting for the Rammstein video for "Du Riechst So Gut '98". All the band members, in the form of one werewolf (who continually shapeshifts between all six without anyone noticing), tracks a woman in a red dress to a masquerade ball, infiltrates them, seeking her out by scent (he/they sniffs various women's shoulders, searching for her), culminating in cornering her in a bedroom, for a fetish / horrific scene in which six wolf heads burst from his body as they kiss. The wolves escape as the partygoers try to catch them, and the woman is implied to have become a Werewolf as well.
  • Completely unsurprisingly, the video for Versailles' song "MASQUERADE".

  • One of the worlds the Sequinox girls are sent to in the Gemini Arc is based on Venice Carnivale, where everyone is wearing feathered masks like Vivaldi's.

  • This is the imaginary setting for Canadian figure skater Roman Sadovsky's short program from the 2017-2018 competitive season where he performs to Peter Gundry's "The Vampire Masquerade." The vampire he portrays attends a grand, old-fashioned masquerade ball in order to seduce a victim with his masterful waltzing skills.

     Tabletop Games 
  • Banquo's Mask in GURPS Magic Items 3 is a mask that lets intangible beings become tangible. One of the vignettes features a ghost who uses it to attend a Masquerade Ball, only for his costume to collapse to the ground when the woman he's dancing with raises it to kiss him.

  • Across all the productions of Marie Antoinette (Musical), Orléans takes Margrid to one where her resemblance to Marie is highlighted by Fersen briefly mistaking her for the other. In the revised plot, this is Played for Drama, with the Affair of the Diamond Necklace taking place at the same time.
  • The Mrs. Hawking play series: In the spinoff Gentlemen Never Tell, a masquerade ball is a centerpiece of the action. It's in fact an Englishman's version of what they imagine the Venetian tradition to be.
  • Act II, Scene i of Much Ado About Nothing.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: The song is simply called "Masquerade," and gets used repeatedly throughout the remainder of the play.
    Paper Faces on parade!
    Hide your face so the world can never find you!
    • As in the book, the Phantom attends dressed up as Red Death. He's much more blatant about crashing the party in this version, though.
  • Romeo and Juliet fall in love at the masque ball, not knowing that they're members of enemy families.
  • Verdi's opera Un ballo in maschera is very loosely based around the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden, who was shot during a masked ball.
    • Francois Auber also wrote an Opera about the same incident, called Gustav le troisieme, ou le bal masque

  • Ever After High's Thronecoming line features one of these. Each doll is wearing a fancy gown and, like the Monster High example below, comes with their own mask.
  • Confetti Carnivale, a Lalaloopsy doll, is styled around the masquerade ball. She wears an extravagant gown and comes with a black cat mask.
  • The Monster High line "Ghouls Rule" combines this with a Halloween party; each of the dolls come with their own masquerade mask.

    Video Games 
  • In the retro-Steampunk BioShock, many of the splicers are wearing party masks, as there was a 'ball' at about the time they went mad.
    • They also use them to hide how disfigured their faces now are.
    • Some of them have been wearing the masks so long that their faces have deformed in the pattern of the mask's interior...
  • The final case of the Wolf Street district in Criminal Case: Mysteries of the Past takes place during the aftermath of a masquerade ball that the victim and most of the suspects attended.
  • In Dishonored, one of the missions takes place at a masquerade ball party. You can, if choose to do so, infiltrate as a guest with your own mask, widely known as a famous assassin's icon, though this will be seen as a flashy and provocative innocent costume.
  • In Dragon Age, the ruling class of the Orlesian Empire have these fairly frequently. The player attends one in Dragon Age: Inquisition, although they and their associates go unmasked. Iron Bull, a professional spy, notes that the masks are only really good for fashion statements, as they don't offer protection or hide your expression. Vivienne, who's well-versed in Orlesian politics, gives a more detailed explanation.
    We all wear masks, my dear. Not just the people in Orlais. Who you are as a son / daughter, a lover, a friend are very different people from the Inquisitor and the Herald of Andraste. Orlesians codify this truth, make it visible.
  • Lord Fain of Lusternia has an aesthetic that mixes Masquerade Ball and Chess Motifs. Appropriately, his appearance is an extended Shout-Out to "The Masque of the Red Death", right down to his title ("The Crimson Masque") and his actual lack of a mask.
  • In Morpheus, the guests of the Herculania yacht had one, where Belle Swan performed "Salome's Seven Veils". Her daughter, Claire Moon tried to dance off her disease of polio after being healed by Jan Pharris' Neurographicon, but it only lasted for a few seconds. Then things went awry when Jan's ghoulish facial features reappeared.
  • Such a ball is the reason the guests, wearing ornate masks, are visiting the titular casino in The Sexy Brutale.
  • Infocom's third mystery, "Suspect", was set at a costume party. The hostess is murdered with part of the protagonist's costume, making the protagonist... well, as the title implies, the suspect.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky The 3rd opens with Kevin Graham attending a masquerade ball being hosted by Hermann Conrad of the Reinford Group. It makes a perfect cover for Kevin, the Heretic Hunter of the Septian Church, to break into Conrad's room and reclaim the artifact that Conrad has been using to gain power and influence, one which lets him tell lies convincingly.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Arcana: Before his death, Count Lucio would throw an extravagant Masquerade party every year for his own birthday, which any citizen in Vesuvia was permitted to attend. It was on the night of one such party, three years before the main story takes place, that Lucio was killed.

    Web Comics 
  • The Bug Pond: The chapter, Masquerade Mayhem centers around a masquerade ball.
  • Girl Genius: Martellus throws a party in Paris to announce himself as Storm King and Colette is able to convince him and his sister to make it a masquerade which makes it very easy for Tarvek to be at the party without being recognized and killed by Martellus, or any of the other many attendees who would likely try.
  • The first arc in the webcomic I Love Yoo is a masquerade ball.
  • Since Peri Tale is about the eponymous Periwinkle trying to fulfill a standard fairy tale, a big part of the plot is actually about getting Vallery to attend a fancy masquerade ball, supposedly to meet her "prince."
  • The first arc of The Wolf at Weston Court focuses on Nova’s goal of sneaking into a masquerade ball and forcing Loup to make a dress for her.

    Western Animation 
  • The episode "Heart of Tarkon" of Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers has Doc crashing one of these and using the opportunity to turn on the charm with Maya. Maya is not fooled by his identity in the slightest, but is surprised at how charming he can be.
  • Mirthworms: The plot to the 1987 special "A Mirthworm Masquerade". Bert Worm is planning to go with Crystal Crawler to a local masquerade ball; Bert's costume is a hat, cape, mask, and sword. However, Bert's plans are disrupted by the villainous Wormaline Wiggler, who wants to use the ball to further her own power.
  • An episode of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon revolves around a high-class masquerade ball April attends (and looks shockingly stunning in her evening gown). She brings the Turtles with her, thinking it'd be fun and ironic. Over the course of the episode, she is mistaken for a similarly-dressed European princess and kidnapped, and when security orders everyone to take off their masks, the Turtles are in an obvious bind.

    Real Life 
  • The assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden occurred at a masquerade hosted by the King. The assassin was not recognized, but dropped his pistol at the scene, and, thanks to some very fine detective work, the entire conspiracy was unearthed and the involved arrested within a week. The incident was used as a plot for two different operas (see above).