Storming the Castle: Party to preserve local gothic architecture

Barnaby Castle is quite probably the first house where murder by US mail happened, right here in Providence, RI. It also resulted in what was the longest homicide trial in the US at that time, almost six weeks (others have, naturally, lasted much longer since then). In comparison, for the trial of Lizzie Borden, the prosecution rested after nine days. Who can say why one house has more notoriety than the other? Of course, Barnaby Castle doesn’t boast of any ghosts, while the Lizzie Borden House Bed & Breakfast and Museum of Fall River, MA, makes some lists as one of the top 10 most haunted places in the US; that probably has something to do with it. Still, Barnaby has something that the Borden House doesn’t yet have: a killer Halloween party.

  This will be the party’s fifth year; it would have been six, if not for the pandemic. Kaitlyn Frolich of Kaitlyn Alyece Event Architects is the chief architect for the gathering. Every year, they assemble dozens of sponsors & volunteers to provide food & drink from the best local restaurants, such as Julian’s and The Capital Grille, as well as immersive art installations & decorations from local artists, and entertainment on every level of the building. The party starts at 7pm for those who purchase VIP tickets; there will be special performances, food & drinks, and all sorts of surprises. All other ticket holders are welcome after that first hour. “It’s an expensive ticket, but it’s all inclusive,” says Frolich. She feels one of the things people like about the event is that it’s just pure fun, “no shakedown,” as in no raffle, auction, or other major grab for money outside of the ticket price.

  There is very little in the way of expenses for this shindig, because so much is donated. Frolich estimates the return is about ninety-eight percent. All proceeds go to help the restoration of the house. Attendees are not just going to a great Halloween party, but they are also becoming “a partner in the preservation” of a piece of RI history. Barnaby Castle was built in 1875 for Jerothmul & Josephine Barnaby, prominent members of RI society. Today, painstaking work is being put into making this house the ”gem of Broadway” that it was then. So far, the party has helped to pay for restoration of the stained-glass windows in the solarium, exterior painting, and saving the distinctive, defining turret from falling off the side of the mansion. 

  Last year’s party was especially difficult, while still in the pandemic. They did the responsible thing in having testing stations & requiring proof of vaccination. With three hundred guests over the course of the evening, not one case of COVID was reported. “Not one sniffle,” said Frolich proudly. Vaccinations are still encouraged this year, but I believe the only mask that you will be required to wear is the one that might go with your costume. Choose carefully, because there is a costume contest, on top of everything else this group provides.   If you want to join the party, has info, pics from previous years, & a link for ticket purchasing. Due to the limited size of the venue, there is a limit on how many tickets are sold, so if this is something you would be interested in attending, don’t sit on the fence; this event will sell out.