Hi Heather,
I first want to say that I love your blog and always enjoy seeing the crafts you showcase. I have seen you come up with ideas for several other decorating and party schemes (and your readers are wonderful too!) so I was hoping you might be able to help me out.

My husband’s family (of 14 kids *gasp) has 7 birthdays from April through May (ages 17 through 30, boys and girls) and every year we do a mass birthday party instead of trying to have a party every week. This year we are trying to plan a masquerade theme and I would really love some cheap ideas. I’m already making giant and over sized paper masks to hang on the walls and I have a couple of wrought iron candliers to hang up (we’re decorating in our large unfinished basement) and I plan to use lots of twinkly lights as well as balloons but I would sure love some ideas for centerpieces and other decor. We plan to have the party on the first of May in the evening with indoor and outdoor entertaining areas so we’ve got a couple of weeks and I’ve got a LOT of free time.

Thanks so much in advance for any suggestions you can make!


My idea:

A Candy Buffet: Since there will be guests of all ages, a candy buffet would be a fun and colorful centerpiece (and the best part: you don’t have to spend money on stuff you won’t use again, because it’s all edible!) Here are some ideas for how to make a candy buffet:

I found a fantastic example of a candy buffet at Kara’s Party Ideas. She gives a lot of info on how she created her candy buffet in this blog entry, but some of the cool things she made are: marshmallow pops, tissue paper pom-poms, and a Dum Dum topiary, which is a fabulous centerpiece idea for a masquerade!

The Dum Dum topiary is a great dollar store craft! So great, in fact, that I’m gonna cost it out for you right here:

Project Estimate:

  • Planter, $1 (paint your theme color)
  • Floral foam, $1
  • Foam ball, $1
  • Dowel, $.50 (will make several topiaries)
  • Maribou boa, $1 (if you can find one in the toy section of the dollar tree, otherwise more like $3-5 per boa)
  • Bag of Dum Dums, $1 and up (sometimes they have these at the dollar store)

Total: $5.50 or so

One reason why I like the topiary is that it gives a lot of visual impact (and the appearance of a LOT) of candy, but you can make it for relatively little money. Instead of having to fill an entire vase with candy, you can strategically place your candy on the foam ball and visually extend it!

Lollipop Display Idea: There are a lot of other great candy buffet ideas at Hostess With The Mostess, including this Sesame Street candy buffet post in which she gives a lot of good advice for setting your own buffet up. I like how she displays these lollipops by filling a container with a flat piece of foam, sticking the lollipops in the foam, then topping with loose candy.

Sourcing Your Candy: If I were doing a candy buffet, my first stop would be Winco–a west coast grocery store that has a great bulk food section, including lots of candy. If you don’t live in WA, OR, CA, NV, ID, or UT, you might have a similar grocery chain in your area. The dollar store has some novelty candy (although not in big quantities!), so you might be able to do some fill-in candy from the dollar store. You can also buy a variety of candy in bulk from Oriental Trading Company (and they also have some masquerade party supplies). [I found the swirl sucker assortment shown here at OTC: $24.99 for 110 pieces]

This photo is from a Pirate birthday party I had for my son. As you can see, you don’t have to have huge containers of candy to make visual impact! I used dishes I already had at home for a few kinds of candy, and then filled in with other cheap, colorful items like plastic containers of bubbles, and basket of fruit.

Candy Buffet Display: You can find various colorful or clear receptacles for holding candy at the dollar store. They have a lot of candy dishes, bowls, vases, glasses and goblets. You can also make your own tiered serving dishes from trays and a candlestick, like this one at Tatertots & Jello, or this tiered bowl would also be especially great for a colorful candy display. Don’t overlook the cylindrical vases! They’ll make a great visual impact filled with colorful layers of candy.

[this candy buffet by Holly at Art, Meet Craft]

Serving the Candy: Remember to provide some kind of portable receptacle for people to take their candy in. Clear plastic party glasses are good for at-party snacking, and little favor bags or boxes work well for to-go boxes. You can find all of these things in the wedding section at your local Dollar Tree.

Now it’s your turn: Readers, I know you have a lot of good ideas for masquerade party centerpieces and decor, so please chime in with your ideas!