With the arrival of October, so does the countdown for SAVE’s most highly anticipated event.

Its annual Halloween fundraiser turns 20 this year, Once Upon A Midnight Scary, and will be held in downtown Miami on Oct. 25.

“It’s the only time when the community comes together and dances, dresses up, and celebrates that we are a tightly banded community,” said Tony Lima, the executive director of SAVE, formerly SAVE Dade.

Lima remembers two decades ago when the fête started as a small house party in Belle Meade to raise money for the campaign to establish a human rights ordinance in Miami. Today, it’s exploded into a huge party where guests young, old, gay, and straight go all out in elaborate costumes and top notch DJs spin tunes through the night. Last year, the event raised enough money to completely fund SAVE through an entire quarter.

“It’s grown to be the premier LGBT, gay-focused event in South Florida,” Lima said. “People love it, they love being in costume.”

The theme for this year is classic Halloween, with people encouraged to draw from old school horror flicks and other holiday standards. Around midnight, the highly anticipated costume contest will take place with the winner receiving $1,000.

For music, DJs Alex Ramos, Carlos Rojas, Bill James, Maximus 3000, and most notably, Tracy Young (who has worked with the likes of Madonna and Britney Spears) will be setting the tone for a night of dancing.

The party will be thrown at the Alfred I. Dupont building -- built in 1939, it was the first skyscraper in Miami at the time and a welcome sign of better times to come after the Great Depression. With its brass accents on the gates, soaring columns, vaulted ceilings, and Tennessee marble flooring, the Art Deco ballroom will take on the look of a haunted mansion. The five bank teller windows will be converted into a bar, and the giant cash vault a spooky drink lounge.

“We’re at a very pivotal time for our community, it’s been a banner year,” Lima said, citing local election wins, human rights ordinances, and 2013’s DOMA amendment. “Seeing how the organization has grown so much in the last 20 years, I’m proud.”

If You Go
What: Once Upon a Midnight Scary 20th Annual Halloween Ball
When: Oct. 25 at 10 p.m. to Oct. 26 at 3 a.m.
Where: Historic Alfred I. Dupont Building, 169 E. Flagler St. in downtown Miami
How Much: $50 to $100
More Information: Visit SAVEDade.org