I love that my teen library council helps me plan programs, but sometimes they give me a program idea that sounds great but I have no idea what to do with it! That was the case with the Moonlight Masquerade Ball. The TLC group suggested we have a paranormal masquerade ball and I loved the idea, but none of us knew what that would include. Even when teens, parents, or other library staff would ask me what a paranormal masquerade ball was I would respond with "I don't really know, we'll find out after we have one!"
I planned the ball for the end of May-still when school was session but right before summer got into full swing. I held it on a Saturday night at 7 in our big auditorium at the library. I asked staff for any Halloween decorations or Christmas lights and was given some great black fabric, a black wreath, and a spooky ghost. With the help of the pages we hung lights all around the room, and put the black cloth on the tables and hung some of it on one of the walls. I bought red and black tablecloths and placed tables around the corners of the room leaving the center open as our dance floor. I had some teen volunteers blow up black and red balloons and place them around the room. I turned off all the lights except for the dimmers and the Christmas lights gave the room a cool effect and the room felt like a ballroom.
I had various "stations" set up for those who didn't want to dance. Of course we had a mask making station! I used the mask cuttout and our Ellison machine and put out various crafting supplies-sequins, feathers, ribbons, glitter paint and popsicle sticks to hold the masks up. The masks were the hit of the evening and everyone made one. I also had a station with a worksheet I made to match the characters to their paranormal book. I served cookies and red punch. And of course, being a librarian and a library program, I had a display set up with paranormal reads and this display was picked over at the end the program.
The teens loved the dancing and spent most of the evening on the dancefloor. Lady Gaga and the Cha-Cha Slide were the most popular requests. Since Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan and I had made our own playlist for our wedding reception we still had a lot of the music on our iTunes, so we sorted through our dance songs and make a masquerade ball playlist. I made sure to included Thriller and Monster Mash to go along with the theme!
About halfway through the event, I had the teens play a game of "pin the tale on Jacob." I printed out a big picture of Jacob and the teens made tails out of construction paper. I had candy bars for the winners and all the teens that played had a good laugh over the game.
At the end of the event I had a prize drawing. A few days before I visited Borders and stocked up on New Moon bookmarks and key chains which were discounted to 75% off-great for an event with a budget!!
Overall the event was a huge hit-especially with the middle school crowd who don't get to attend any big school dances. I planned it to be at the end of my summer reading school visits, so I got to talk the event up to every class I visited and got them excited about it. The only complaint I had was that I didn't have more boys show up! (I think I might have had more if one of the schools hadn't had an event at Jump Mania, a local indoor inflatable playground!)
I'm planning another dance event for next year and the TLC and I are thinking of making it a "Geek Prom." I can't wait to host another event like this. It took a lot of setup, but the event was worth it and the teens loved it-besides, who wouldn't love the library after dancing to Lady Gaga in it?