For a town nicknamed the “Holy City,” we certainly love the devilishly frightful holiday of Halloween. The celebrations tend to last for five days or more. This past Thursday, we got an early start on the festivities at the Red Party at the Old City Jail hosted by the American College of the Building Arts. This year’s theme was The Wizard of Oz, so we dug into our costume trunk looking for any abandoned tin hats or witch’s caps. Skipping up the not-so-yellow brick road to the venue, we were greeted by the Mayor of Munchkinland and the Wicked Witch, who promised to be on her best behavior for the evening. We’ve heard numerous tales of the Jail being haunted, so we carefully trod through the dark corridor and to our surprise, found a bubbling cauldron at the end. Thankfully, it was only Robert Carter stirring up some Wicked Witches Stew, which tasted suspiciously like oyster stew.
The band, complete with winged monkeys, was warming up as we entered the space, so we decided to check out the food before doing any dancing. Hom was serving up “Munchkin Burgers,” and Jack’s Cosmic Dogs tempted the crowd with “Toto Dogs.” Hom’s Skittle-laced couscous was a bit too exotic for our taste, so we sauntered over to the VIP Emerald City lounge to see the themed foods from the Indigo Road restaurants. After having our fill of the crispy “Flying Monkey Orbs” (pork rillettes) and “Wicked-Wiches” (steak sandwiches) we wandered toward the dance floor to take in all of the creative costumes. There were many variations of Dorothy: in drag, knocked-up, wholesome, and a few skimpy versions. Several Glindas waltzed through the party granting wishes with their wands, and the Wicked Witches of the West mostly stayed on the fringes of the party.
Just as we sat to rest our ruby slippers, everyone took to the dance floor. Cowardly lions got down with members of the Lollipop Guild and a rather tall guest dressed as a tornado really whipped the crowd into a frenzy. We soon had to click our heels together and head home after a few of the signature cocktails made us feel like we were reenacting the poppy field scene from the film.
Having our fill of all things Oz, we were excited to check out some different Halloween costumes on Saturday. Taco Boy on Huger Street is always packed with great get-ups as attendees compete for the $1,000 best costume prize and a $500 certificate for best group. DJ Natty Heavy kept the crowd moving as we checked out each other’s outfits. Several groups of friends joined forces for some spectacular Halloween fun, including the entire cast of Mario World, complete with blocks and magic mushrooms. Other noteworthy groups included a crew of black-and-white movie characters along with X-Men friends.
We didn’t stay to see a winner announced because we needed to get downtown to see what the rest of the Charleston imps were wearing. Long lines kept us out of most of the bars, but we made a game of people-watching on King Street, a sort of Halloween bingo. Check a box if you spot an Asian man dressed “Gangnam Style,” another box for a scantily-clad children’s book character, two boxes for any personalities from Moonrise Kingdom (extra points if Bill Murray is with the group), and you win if anyone asks to take a picture of you in your awesome costume. Feel free to use this on Wednesday, when we’re sure another cast of ghouls, goblins, and sexy kittens will be roaming the streets.