Halloween and Mardi Gras are great.. But no costume is complete without the mask. I have made many costumes, but the mask is the jewel.
Wearing a mask is fun.
Halloween and Mardi Gras in America are the two most popular celebrations for wearing masks. As other cultures increase their population in America we will see and experience their masked traditions of their countries.
The source for both Halloween and the Mardi Gras celebrations have their roots from religion. Many of us are not aware of this and just have fun and enjoy the merriment of the celebration.
Any mask can be worn for a costumed event. Just as the eyes are the soul of a human being; the mask with its costume or uniform is the identity of the character being impersonated.
These are popular costumes to mimic for Halloween, Cosplay, and other costumed events:
- Science Fiction and the Supernatural – Sky Wars to angels
- Walt Disney Characters – Cinderella, Mickey and Minnie Mouse
- Comic celebrities – Batman, Superman, Spider man
- Animals – mouse, bear, dinosaurs
- Movie and television celebrities – The Joker
- Horror – The Walking Dead, skeletons
- Ninja warriors and other military personnel
- Clowns- Funny to horror
The masks for these costumes are accomplished with face painting, theatrical makeup, or wearing an eye mask, half mask, or a full face mask.
This article will review seven categories of masks.
Mardi Gras Masks
1. Mardi Gras Masks
The Mardi Gras mask can be simple or very elaborate and ornate. Everyone wears a mask during this celebration and it is mandatory that the people riding on the floats wear their masks.
The Venetian mask holds the tradition from Venice, Italy for anyone regardless of their wealth or social standing in the community to mingle with all people. Mardi Gras welcomes this method of masked disguise to add to the celebration. Everyone takes to the streets and enjoys all the festivities that this event offers.
This mask is an easy diy project. Sequins, feathers, colorful ribbons, and other glamorous trims and notions can be used to decorate an eye,half, or full mask very easily.
The female mask has rounded cheeks and the male half mask is cut square to add to the masculine identity.. The female mask is very ornate. The male mask is usually one color and not decorated.
Why Do People Wear Masks?
The reasons for wearing a mask are many. Here is a list:
- Performances, Opera, Theater entertainment
- Special occasions
- Religious practices – rituals, ceremonies, ward off evil spirits
- To temporarily become the persona of the mask
- To hide your identity
- Occupational and environmental protection
- A portrait of the individual
Beijing-Opera Performance Mask
2. Story Telling
As a child I enjoyed listening to radio programs and my imagination had formed pictures of what the characters in the script looked like. Then these programs were aired on television and I was disappointed. The characters in my imagination did not look any thing like the television version.
Watching a Punch and Judy puppet show in elementary school, at a local museum, and on television was not disappointing because Punch and Judy were always costumed in the same manner regardless of its producer.
Masks do the same thing. The masked rider, Zorro, Batman, Super Woman, and Spider man are movie superheros. Their masks are their identities and mark their behaviors. When we wear their masks we take on the persona of being super heroes. These are great costumes to wear for any masked event.
Other super heroes who wear masks do so anonymously. These realistic characters would be people like doctors and nurses. The mask may be supported by wearing a particular style of uniform, accessory, or tool to complete the identity of the occupation. A doctor wears a stethoscope around his neck and a nurse has a thermometer in her hand.
A mask and costume may be very simple or very complex in its design. The theme of the costume may range from simple to glamour to horror. Our imaginations may be influenced by our own thoughts or by the entertainment world.
The mask allows our real self to hide behind the character and depending on the occasion allows us to behave in a manner not suited to our true being.
Fire Fighter with Mask and Helmet
3. Occupational Safety Masks
Certain work conditions require mandatory masks. These masks are used for protection against gases, dangerous atmospheres, dust, pollutants, and other major hazardous wastes.
Gas masks are worn by patients undergoing medical or dental surgeries, hazardous materials removal workers, radioactive wastes, nuclear wastes, and other dangerous materials.
Respirator masks are worn by firemen and workers cleaning buildings with hazardous environmental issues such as asphalt.
Monster Mask with Wig
4. Entertainment Masks
These are masks commonly seen on actors and actresses acting in movies, television, stage plays, and theater performances, to give a mysterious, identity, or emotional context to the character. Batman, comic action characters, ghosts and monsters are a few examples for mask identification of a character.
A Knight's Armor
5. Battle or Military Face Masks
Police and military personnel wear gas masks or respirators depending on the situation. Historically, faces were painted or facial masks worn to intimidate the enemy. As the weapons became more dangerous the face mask was constructed with protective materials to shield the wearer from arrows, swords, and other sharp or blunt objects.
Modern warfare involves chemicals and gases which enter the body through the breathing process. Gas masks are essential to protect the wearer from death.
As spectators we have seen athletes of football, hockey, baseball, fencing, Rugby, cycling, cricket, auto racing, boxing, and wrestling wear protective face and head gear. The masks serve two functions; protection for the wearer, and psychologically intimidating to the opponent.
Tutankhamun Death Mask
7. The Death Mask
This category may sound a bit gruesome, but it was the best way to preserve the face of a famous or loved individual before cameras were invented. A mold of the face was made with plaster or wax and preserved and properly maintained for many years.
There is a collection of famous politicians, philosophers, and authors on display at Princeton University (The Laurence Hutton collection). This was and is an excellent method to obtain exacting replicas of a person without photography.
DIY: Masquerade Mask tutorials for Men and Women
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on September 28, 2018:
Hello, Tricia, you are welcomed. We do not note or identify these workers when on routine business, right? I think this is why criminals take advantage to wear the mask. That is why any good intention is misused for a bad purpose. Many thanks.
Tricia Deed (author) from Orlando, Florida on September 28, 2018:
Unfortunately, there are people who are going to use masks for negative or criminal intent. This is a sad note about certain human beings, but there are many positive and good reasons for wearing a mask. Masks worn by doctors, nurses, policemen, fireman, hazardous waste cleaners, military protection and much more far outweigh the bad or misuse of any mask.
Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on September 27, 2018:
Hey, Tricia, wearing a mask is funny. But it also has a hidden or secret part. This is why thieves, murders, other criminals will wear the mask.
I once watch a James Bond 007 film where the actor Daniel Graig is starring. Right from the opening, he wore a mask. Why? I think he had to hide his identity before easy detection? Those who wear the mask other than public functions have sinister motives behind them. Thanks for sharing.