The uncertainty that hangs over Halloween and the ban on parties has repercussions on costume and decoration stores, which hope that Quebecers will still celebrate this holiday with their families.
At Groupe Party Expert, a Quebec company that notably owns Halloween Expert stores, the pandemic has reduced the number of employees from 600 to 315.
As soon as the government announced that regions were in the red zone, a drop in sales was observed, reports the president of the company, Lynda Bouvier.
The co-owners of the independent Montreal boutique Au Bal Masqué, Janie Saint-Pierre and Méliza Théorêt, had planned the coup and ordered fewer costumes than usual in anticipation of Halloween.
“Usually it’s a very good season. This year, we do not know how it will go, but having ordered less, even if my turnover is lower, we will try to balance like that ”, confided Ms. Théorêt, in front of the premises of the shop which has been established in Lachine for seven years.
The couple of entrepreneurs also chose to sell their inventory of 400 costumes usually intended for rental, to limit the risk of transmission.
All is not dark in the industry. Groupe Party Expert’s online commerce tripled during the pandemic, and merchants could have a surprise at the end of the month: everything is usually played out at the last minute for this holiday, argues Ms. Bouvier.
“At the last minute, people decide what to do and what to wear. When there was no COVID-19, 50% of our sales were made the last week before Halloween, ”she explains, indicating that she has seen a slight increase in sales over the past few days.
Severe restrictions around gatherings are the death knell for most Halloween parties, and it is argued that door-to-door candy collecting may be banned if the situation does not improve.
Halloween will therefore be a holiday celebrated in family units, believes Ms. Saint-Pierre, who has also seen customers buy a piñata for the occasion.
“It’s a new reality, we’re not going to stop living, we’re going to learn to celebrate differently […] “, Insists Ms. Bouvier, whose company has published an online guide with suggestions for alternative activities.
According to the Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the sooner the government decides on the fate of Halloween, the faster retailers will adapt to offer family alternatives.
Foodies can rest assured: we may be entitled to the famous discounts on Halloween candy at the beginning of November.
Even if retailers have ordered less candy than usual, they cannot be kept indefinitely and the unsold items will have to be sold, as they do every year.
“We will try to sell off the surplus inventories with specials, with promotions and all kinds of elements to ensure that there is no waste on this side”, explains Jean-François Belleau, director of government relations in Quebec for the CCCD.
What do Quebeckers think?
According to the results of a Léger poll released on Monday, the majority of Quebecers would not let their children spend Halloween this year even if the government allowed it.
60% of respondents mentioned that they would not let their children spend Halloween this year, while only 47% had made this decision in 2019. Some 65% of them would like the government to step in to cancel Halloween given the current situation.
The web survey is based on a representative sample of 1,523 Canadians, including 412 Quebeckers. The data was collected between October 2 and 4, when several regions were in the red zone.
Remember that public health has still not determined whether the door-to-door candy collection can take place this year. Until now, only the city of Rouyn-Noranda in Abitibi has banned door-to-door in its municipality.