As impressive as it is the Harry Potter room is just the beginning of Kim Panter’s Halloween haunted house in Sidney.
Her impressive family-friendly display features 12 rooms that sprawl over her front and back yards. It’s all covered and each room has a spooky theme ranging from Ancient Egypt to Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Stranger Things.
“It’s a passion, it’s always been a passion since I was a little girl it was a passion,” Panter said.
Panter has been putting the extravagant Mills Road Halloween display on for the past 26 years and each year it only gets bigger and more impressive.
“Children who used to come now are bringing their children,” Panter said.
Not even the rising cost of inflation could scare Panter away from adding to the display this year. Even though she doesn’t charge for admission she says seeing the smiles, and screams makes it all worth it.
“That’s why I do it because Sidney needs community things for the children and they need to know that Halloween can be a safe place for them.”
Panter isn’t alone. Halloween spending is once again on the rise across the country.
A new report shows while not quite back to pre-pandemic levels, spending is up more than 28 per cent over last year with the average Canadian spending close to $88 on the season.
Nearly half of those dollars (47.5 per cent) are going toward costumes, followed by candy (25.5 per cent), then pumpkins and decor (12.4 per cent) and Halloween activities (14.8 per cent).
While consumers’ Halloween dollars may not stretch as far this year they still seem willing to spend and one marketing expert says the current state of the economy and the pandemic are likely both playing a part.
“Today’s environment with the inflation that we’re facing there’s the inability to afford housing, people can’t afford new cars, they can’t go on vacation, I think people their self-concepts of being successful are being challenged and in response, people are spending more on the little things,” said University of Victoria marketing professor Brock Smith.
“It’s basically saying that there’s a lot of things I can’t control in my life but to feel good about myself the little things I can do I’m going to splurge on.”
For Kim Panter there is nothing more enjoyable than Halloween and nothing she would rather spend her money on, Christmas included.
“Financially by that time there’s nothing left anyways because it’s all spent on Halloween and I’m happy for that,” she laughed.
Panter’s haunted house is open every night from 6 to 9 p.m. from now until Halloween at 2159 Mills Rd. It’s free but she accepts donations for UNICEF to help educate girls around the world.