East Van woman builds housing crisis Halloween display

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      Who needs goblins and ghosts when you have an affordability crisis?

      Halloween is a chance to make believe—to dress up as someone else, to embrace your darker side. It’s also, for one East Van woman, a chance to discuss the darker sides of our city.

      Laryssa Gervan takes pride in her Halloween displays, but these setups don’t feature the regular blow-up vampires or twinkling spiders. Instead, each year, she focuses on a different issue facing Vancouver. Last year it was inflation; for 2023 it means the housing crisis.

      “It's a dark and divided scene,” Gervan writes in an email statement. “A happy developer family feasting on money on one side. Behind the blinds, mutilated dolls and Eeyeores (from Winnie-the-Pooh) are crammed into tents and subpar hovel housing. In the foreground [is] a graveyard of tombstones honouring Vancouver music and arts venues no longer with us.”

      Photo courtesy of Laryssa Gervan.

      Minimum wage is basically not enough to afford renting a one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver (and, you know, save anything). Home ownership costs a middle-income household 96.1 per cent of their pay. This year’s homelessness count was the highest one on record. Beloved venues and restaurants continue to close.

      A cheeky Halloween display won’t solve these problems, but it can certainly help with reinvigorating a conversation that desperately needs to be had. Those who want to see the spooky setup with their own eyes can find it at 715 Victoria Drive.