Most people take the traditional path when it comes to Halloween decorations.
Skeletons stand guard while witches and bats float in the air. Zombies and gravestones litter the ground. Vampires, ghosts and other icky or undead things pop up, while cobwebs and blood round out things. It's a scene meant to evoke creepiness and death (though usually with the edge taken off).
Laryssa Gervan decided to go with something that's less creepy, but perhaps scarier than death.
"I'm trying to play on actual fears," Gervan says of the scene she built in front of her East Vancouver home.
Display is a 'bizarro' grocery store
Gervan spent hours building a 'Grave on Foods' in her front yard, focusing on the theme of inflation. While pulling from traditional Halloween motifs (like mutilated dolls or jack-o-lantern heads), the central fear she's playing on isn't death, but the cost of life—specifically food and groceries.
"Everyone is feeling the squeeze in a daily way," she says.
The display is a bizarro grocery store, with child mannequins (that have boxes of cereal and granola bars for heads) being held up by the cashier demon with a handheld scanner (the device that looks a lot like a sci-fi gun).
"The cash register display is ticking up and up and up until it glitches out at $1,000," Gervan explains, noting a friend who's a programmer helped her with that part. "It starts at nothing and the price climbs seemingly at random until it glitches out."
The display is notable for another reason, aside from its theme. Many of the items Gervan, a former set designer in Vancouver's film industry, found. That includes discovering the scanner gun in a pile of junk, building the till, and using old grocery items to fill things out.
Unusual Halloween display takes on 'what is inspiring fear in people right now'
So far the response has been pretty positive, though some mutilated dolls have been a bit too frightening for some kids. Adults, though, seem to enjoy the scary store, despite its reminder of a very real fear.
It's not the first year she's created real-world-focused decorations. Last year the COVID-19 pandemic was in her spotlight, and before that it was Trump's fear-mongering about immigrants and wanting to build a wall with Mexico.
"I was just thinking what is inspiring fear in people right now," she says.
The display will be up into November, Gervan says. You can see it at 715 Victoria Dr.