Montreal’s costume shops and bars are going up in flames for Halloween this year

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But the global pandemic will ensure it still won’t be normal this weekend.

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As COVID cases continue to decline in Quebec, it looks like it’s going to be a much more action-packed Halloween this year, both for candy-lovers and people who go to parties. But the shadow of the pandemic will ensure it still won’t be a normal Halloween this weekend.

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Bars were closed during the Halloween period last year, but at least some will be having costume parties on Saturday night, the day before Halloween. But customers will have to wear protective masks as opposed to Halloween masks and capacity remains limited.

Marc Choran, owner of Giggles costume store in LaSalle, said the arrival of much of his Halloween merchandise has been delayed due to slowdowns in international distribution. But he finally received his suits on time and is happy to report that business has been booming in recent weeks. It was also difficult for him to manage his Giggles store and his pop-up costume shop in Hudson. Like restaurant and bar owners, he struggles to find enough people for available jobs.

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The other problem for costume stores like Giggles is trying to predict what the upcoming Halloween trends will be. In the past, he ordered most of his costumes in January, and most of the hot trends were based on Hollywood movies. But there were few major movie releases during the pandemic and now he says trendy costume items are triggered by shows on streaming services like Netflix. Problem is, the hot show could be brand new, and that’s exactly what happened this year. He says one of the best-selling costumes is based on the popular Korean Netflix series Squid Game, which has only become a phenomenon in recent weeks.

“I don’t buy that many things in January because I don’t know what’s going to be popular or not,” Choran said. “We were able to import products inspired by Squid Game, but we had to bring them directly from China. We brought him in by plane.

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Bar owners and managers are feeling optimistic as they are open for Halloween this year and the provincial government is easing many of the restrictions on bars effective November 1.

“It’s exciting,” said Joe Pilotte, COO of The Orchard Group, which manages the seven Ye Olde Orchard pubs in the Montreal area. “To be honest with you, I’ll be a little more excited for St. Patrick’s Day. We were shut down just as this happened (in March 2020) and we missed two in a row, and it’s obviously our Mardi Gras.

“But Halloween is a prelude to Christmas and, yes, we are looking forward to it. It’s the holiday season. We are looking forward to Halloween. We think it will be a fun time. And the next day, November 1, we moves on to a few fewer restrictions. The news is definitely improving. It’s great to be outside again. Halloween gives people a reason to dress up and feel like 2019 again. “

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Rick Lourensse, co-owner of the Next Door pub in NDG, is also excited to be able to throw a costume party, but he notes that the only difference this year is that if your costume includes a Halloween mask, you won’t be able to wear it in. walking around the bar. You will need to wear your usual pandemic mask.

There will be a Halloween street party on Crescent Street between de Maisonneuve Boulevard. and Ste-Catherine Street West Thursday through Saturday night, and that should help business, said Ziggy Eichenbaum, owner of Ziggy’s Pub.

“But I think nothing will be normal,” Eichenbaum said.

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