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If you missed last night’s Red Party at the Old Jail, you missed out one of this fall’s most fabulous and unique affairs. Hosted by the American College of the Building Arts (ACBA) at one of the spookiest buildings in Charleston, this year’s soirée drew one surprisingly diverse-looking crowd for a party with an assigned theme.

The crowd was comprised of people of all ages wearing literally a little bit of everything... or, in some cases, next to nothing. The invitation encouraged “red” or “masked” looks, leaving the adventurous guests plenty of room for innovative attire. Though a few conservatively decked individuals punctuated the crowd, the overall vibe was one of marvelously festive mayhem.

Charlestonians donned feathered, sequined, or Halloween masks for the occasion, but many opted for a flashier aesthetic courtesy of body paint or copious amounts of sparking body glitter instead.

While some guests were content to step out in their chicest red frocks, others embraced the Halloween season by unearthing their favorite show girl headdresses, matador jackets, red fishnets, or fu manchu mustaches from the depths of their closets. Given the vast array of puzzling articles of clothing or unidentifiable costumes, they dug deep, but these partygoers surely erred on the side of enthusiasm and wild creativity, making for a immensely delightful if not unpredictable night of people-watching.

“I’ve lost the Pope! I was supposed to be guarding the Pope,” explained ACBA founder and campaign director John Paul Huguley, who had donned full medieval knight attire for the occasion. Never fear, for the Pope (aka John Pope) could be spotted chatting with two football players while a spectacularly scandalous Lady Gaga, clothed almost singularly in red lace, rocked out on the dance floor. “I tried to do the meat outfit, but it attracted too many flies! Thankfully I did a trial run first,” she confessed.

Partygoers lingered around the silent auction and snacked on delicious bites from Good Food Catering, and the drinks were flowing while DJ Arthur Bros. kept the party hot. Soon firefighters, vampires, flappers, and mysterious masqueraders crowded onto the dance floor. Impromptu break dancing took center stage to loud applause as the night wore on, and all too soon the Red Party drew to a close, unleashing mimes, sailors, devils, and the Queen of Hearts to wreak havoc on the rest of the town.

The American College of the Building Arts was founded in 2004 in response to the national lack of master craftsmen. The ACBA is devoted to educating and training artisans in the building arts, and it encourages and fosters the preservation and enrichment of the world’s architectural heritage.

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