Halloween Costs More This Year, But These British Columbians Say It’s Still Worth It

As you pass through different neighborhoods in British Columbia, you might notice a skeleton standing guard outside a front door or a vampire’s coffin hidden in the grass waiting to open as you pass.

And while inflationary pressures mean some houses have had to take a break, others are managing to carry on the tradition of creating a Halloween paradise this season, despite the added costs.

Kristine Desjarlais Wong and her family have been decorating their home in Surrey, BC for three years. They’ve spent the last month settling in. But buying ghosts and goblins is a year-round business.

While they recycle a lot of statues and animatronics, Desjarlais Wong says every year has an added cost with new parts, more lights, electricity and, this year, a $300 tarp to protect everything from the rain.

Kristine Desjarlais Wong and her family have been decorating their Surrey home for three years and say inflation won’t stop them from looking their best. (Zahra Premji/CBC News)

This year, the costs are higher than his family expected, bringing the house’s equipment bill for the spooky season to between $3,000 and $4,000. The electricity bill, which they believe will also be affected by inflation, will come later.

« Running the fog machines…I actually bought a pitcher of fog juice last weekend, and I mean it’s doubled in price, » she said.

Desjarlais Wong says it went from $13.99 to around $40. They also bought a skeleton reaper for over $400.

« The cost from last year to this year is crazy. I would say 20%, 30% on certain things. »

surrey halloween display
Some of the dolls and animatronics purchased by the Desjarlais Wong family in Surrey for their annual Halloween display. (Zahra Premji/CBC News)

The extra costs, she says, came with extra sacrifices. They’ve had to scale back their outings for family dinners and skimp a little more as they plan every Halloween and even more this year.

Why do it?

If the rate of inflation is so high and the purchase of basic goods so expensive, why invest the little money that remains in decorating a house for a day?

Desjarlais Wong says the answer is simple.

« For the community. Just to see, from the youngest to the oldest, people enjoy it. It’s worth it. »

Their family is not alone.

Laryssa Gervan has been decorating her Vancouver home for three years, with a different theme of the scariest thing on people’s minds each year. And this year, her Halloween theme is inflation.

grave on foods halloween display
Laryssa Gervan says high cash costs weren’t going to stop her from putting up her Halloween exhibit outside her Vancouver home this year. (Mike Zimmer/CBC News)

Gervan says it’s not just for her. It’s for the community.

« For joy and for my own entertainment and the entertainment of my neighbors. »

But cost was definitely a factor.

« The basic supplies I buy, like electricity and lighting, are definitely getting more expensive. But it’s still worth it. »

Instead of relying on trips to the store to put up a creepy inflation display in her front yard, she turned to bargains and found items.

For some neighbours, Gervan said, the cost means they’ve had to take a break this year. But whether it’s tightening the purse strings or giving up on certain social activities, she says the sacrifice is worth it.

So if you witness Halloween scenes, homemade haunted houses, and foggy setups, be sure to appreciate the costly sacrifices made to bring cheers to the community.


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