Over-the-Top Masks for a Magnificent Halloween

PHOTO: A womans eyes appear behind a mask.

With Halloween a little over a week away there's a last-minute hustle for costumes, wigs and every sort of body paint you can imagine. But what if you prefer to go with something elegant, beautiful and more Venetian Carnival than Miley-horror-show? We say, Forego the Halloween stores and instead theme your costume around a striking, hand-detailed mask like the ones in this slideshow. Pair it with a ball gown, blue jeans or whatever you fancy. OK, fine, body paint if you must.

PHOTO: Swarovski Crystal White Swan
Masque Boutique
Swarovski Crystal White Swan

Decorated with beaded lace, ostrich, coque and marabou feathers, this limited edition mask is also covered in Swarovski crystals. Wearing it will guarantee you a dramatic entrance from the moment the lights hit you and the sparkles come out to play.

PHOTO: Luna Lux
Mask Italia
Luna Lux

A full face mask is literally a costume in itself, and there's no mistaking what this costume is. This Luna Lux mask is one of the most ornamental pieces of its kind, and it's crafted from laser-cut metal and multi-colored Austrian crystals. Claim all the beauty and mystery of the moon, while retaining your own not-so-round figure.

PHOTO: Venetian Autumn
Venetian Autumn

The left side of this handcrafted Italian piece is fixed with metal filigree and stained glass patterns, while the right is decorated with seasonal leaves and flora. It's one of a four-piece collection, so if you're not partial to autumn themes, look through the other seasonal palettes and patterns as well.

PHOTO: Tiana Mask
Courtesy Cirque du Soleil Boutique
Tiana Mask

As the outfit that brought glamour and mystery back to the circus, the now ubiquitous Cirque du Soleil was quite edgy in its first decade. People didn't know what to make of the costumes and masks, which were equal parts disturbing, beautiful, alien and sensual. Nowadays everyone immediately recognizes the Cirque look, and masks like this handcrafted Judith Rauchfuss piece will adorn hundreds of haute partiers on Halloween eve.

PHOTO: Feather Mask
Courtesy MaskShopVenice.com
Feather Mask

Another classic Venetian Carnival style, this half-mask features faux jewels, lace and silver leaf topped with a regal headdress of pure white feathers. Perfect to wear to that formal ball at the Duke's palace, or to the annual West Hollywood drag queen parade.

PHOTO: Swan Lux Filigree Mask
Courtesy Simply Masquerade
Swan Lux Filigree Mask

In lieu of plumes, this intricate piece is crafted of laser-cut steel and clear crystals. Its detailed design is easier to appreciate without the normal accoutrements like feathers and lace. And since it's made of sturdier material than most, this mask might last for Halloweens to come.

PHOTO: Duchessa Mask
Courtesy of Magical Masquerade
Duchessa Mask

Made in Italy, this mask is painted, shaped and decorated all by hand, down to the tiniest glitter placement. Swarovski crystals of varying sizes and hanging tassels of Italian silk adorn the entire headpiece. A bold few might wear this breathtaking creation out to party; the rest would deem it "fine art" and display it on the wall year-round.

PHOTO: Poseidon Leather Mask
Courtesy MaskShopVenice.com
Poseidon Leather Mask

And here's a mask for the men: a classic reproduction, hand-tooled in leather and inspired by Greco-divinity. Wear the Poseidon mask with a simple robe, and you'll look like you belong on a royal stage, not at a party.

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