Paper a House
(To), in theatrical phraseology, means to fill a house with “deadheads,” or non-paying spectators, admitted by paper orders. The women admitted thus, not being dressed so smartly as the paying ones, used to cover their shoulders with a “scarlet opera cloak,” often lent or hired for the occasion.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
More on Paper a House from Fact Monster: