British Columbia

Halloween's costing more this year, but these British Columbians say it's still worth it

While inflationary pressures mean some homes have had to hit pause, others are managing to continue the tradition of creating a Halloween haven this season, despite the additional costs.

Laryssa Gervan says decorating her house is not just for her, it's for the community and that's enough

Vancouver resident Laryssa Gervan sets up an inflation-themed Halloween display outside her home. (Zahra Premji/CBC News)

As you drive through different neighbourhoods in B.C, you may notice a skeleton standing guard at a front door or a vampire's coffin lurking in the grass waiting to pop open as you pass by.

And while inflationary pressures mean some homes have had to hit pause, others are managing to continue the tradition of creating a Halloween haven this season, in spite of the additional costs.

Kristine Desjarlais Wong and her family have been decorating their home in Surrey, B.C., for the last three years. They've spent the last month setting up. But shopping for ghosts and goblins is a year-round endeavour.

While they recycle a lot of the animatronic statues and figurines, Desjarlais Wong says each year has an added cost with new pieces, 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 isn't going to stop them from giving it their best. (Zahra Premji/CBC News)

Costs this year are higher than her family expected, bringing the bill to outfit the house for the spooky season to between $3,000 and $4,000. The electricity bill, which they expect will also be affected by inflation, will come later.

"Running the fog machines … I actually bought a jug of fog juice last weekend, and I want to say it doubled in price," she said.

Desjarlais Wong says it went from $13.99 to roughly $40. They also purchased a skeleton reaper for more than $400.

"The cost from last year to this year is crazy. I'd say 20 per cent, 30 per cent on some things."

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

The added costs, she says, have come with added sacrifices. They've had to scale back on going out for family dinners and scrimp a little more as they plan for each Halloween and even more so this year.

Why do it?

If the inflation rate is so high and buying staples so expensive, why invest the little money left into decorating a house for one day?

Desjarlais Wong says the answer is simple.

"For the community. Just to see, from young to old, people enjoying it. It makes it worth it."

Their family isn't alone.

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

Laryssa Gervan says hefty costs at the till weren't going to stop her from setting up her Halloween display outside her Vancouver home this year. (Mike Zimmer/CBC News)

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

"For the joy and for my own entertainment and the entertainment of my neighbours."

But cost has definitely been a factor.

"The basic supplies I purchase, like the power and lighting stuff, definitely get more expensive. But it's still worth it."

Instead of relying on trips to the store to set up a spooky inflation storefront in her front yard, she's turned to bargain buys 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 some social activities, she says the sacrifice is worth it.

So, if you're taking in Halloween scenes, the homemade haunted houses, and foggy setups, be sure to appreciate the costly sacrifices made to bring shrieks of happiness to the community.


Zahra Premji


Zahra Premji is a host/reporter for CBC News Vancouver. She has worked as a host for CBC Alberta News in Edmonton, and a reporter in B.C. and Manitoba on various stories from racism to health and crime to asylum seekers and immigration. You can reach her at