HALIFAX -- While Halloween may look a bit different this year, some Maritimers are determined to celebrate in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even with strict guidelines in place, some people seem to be jumping at the opportunity to relax and be social for an evening.

Jim Pashkoski is notorious in his Middle Sackville, N.S., neighbourhood for intricate Halloween and Christmas decorations.

With uncertainties about Halloween this year, Pashkoski says he considered cutting back on his decorations, but decided against it for the community’s sake.

“A lot of people come here because of the display and to see all of the inflatables and everything. We get over a hundred kids here usually,” says Pashkoski, who estimates he has already put between 40 and 60 hours into this year’s display. “When I see the little kids and their faces light up, it makes it all worthwhile.”

As COVID-19 cases continue to grow across the country, many regions have all but cancelled trick-or-treating this October.

But most children in the Atlantic bubble will have the opportunity to dress up and celebrate the day, albeit with some safety precautions.

Candy sales across the country are down this year, but Sylvain Charlebois, professor in food distribution and policy at Dalhousie University, says that may be because retailers are already starting to push Christmas. 

“Companies are basically enticing consumers to buy ahead of time,” says Charlebois. “That’s why you’re hearing a lot about Christmas, more so than Halloween, even though we’re at the end of October.”

Business is surprisingly good at a seasonal Halloween store in Halifax. 

“A lot of times people are just saying, we’re not sure what’s going to happen this year, but we’re going to do something for the kids with our bubble, in our neighbourhood, with our close family,” says Paula Beck, manager at Glow Halloween in Bayers Lake.

That includes customers like Janet Pettipas, who was shopping for some final costume pieces for her 10-year-old daughter Ella.

“We’re happy to get what we can get to be honest with you, for extracurricular activities,” says Pettipas.

A refreshing take on the occasion after a year with plenty of horror on its own.