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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: The Wildly Creative, Magical Costumes Of This Fantasy Masquerade Ball

Guest at the Labyrinth of Jareth masquerade ball (Photo by Eugene Lee/LAist)
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For the folks who can't wait until Halloween, there's a fantasy masquerade ball that takes place in downtown L.A. that makes all other costumed parties look like child's play.

LAist was invited to attend the 18th annual Labyrinth of Jareth ball at the gorgeous, and nearly century-old Millennium Biltmore Hotel on Friday. We felt like we were transported to another world. A good chunk of the hotel, including the massive lobby, hallways, ball rooms and bar played a part in this rather immersive fantasy world as everyone in costume wandered throughout the grounds.

As the name itself suggests, the ball is a reference to Jareth, David Bowie's Goblin King in the film Labyrinth. Everyone is required to dress in costume in the tradition of Venetian masquerades, Celtic fairies, goblin lore, and fantasy stories. We saw a variety of blonde-mulleted "Jareths," and folks dressed in steampunk costumes, as well as princesses, trees, warriors, mermaids and goblins. Many of the outfits are some of the most elaborate and wildly creative ones we've ever seen.

Most impressive was when a towering, neon-lit Optimus Prime (of Transformers) marched into the historic lobby with an also-glowing fairy. It didn't quite go with the theme but it was so cool that we let that slide. Some scary goblins jumped and crawled around the venue, some even massaging our heads as they passed on by. Beauty and the Beast sat at the bar drinking cocktails. A woman in Cinderella's iconic blue gown ran up the stairs in a hurry just like in the fairy tale. Another woman brought her live pet rat to the event, where it was sitting quite calmly on her shoulder. Oh, and we even had a celebrity sighting: Mythbusters co-host Grant Imahara chatting it up with some fairies.

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There were performances in different rooms, including an impressive Cirque du Soleil-like act, mer-folk fanning themselves in the corner, jesters juggling, and a gothed-out rock band performing covers like Peter Schilling's ultimate '80s track "Major Tom" (an obvious nod to Bowie).

It seemed like Labyrinth of Jareth was more of a place for people to show themselves off, rather than an actual ball where people danced. When we got there—which was not too long after the event opened its doors—a security guard told us that already half of all the guests already arrived. Well we would, too, if we spent all year long on our costumes.

The Labyrinth of Jareth continues tonight at the Biltmore Hotel. Tickets are $65, and more info can be found here.