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News release

Deck the halls with jack 'o lanterns: Halloween mega displays overtake holiday décor

VANCOUVER: New BC Hydro research finds when it comes to getting into the holiday spirit, more British Columbians went all out decorating their homes with lights and decorations for Halloween for the first time this year than for the winter holidays.

The survey[1] conducted on behalf of BC Hydro finds half of British Columbians decorated their home for Halloween this year, and of those 13 per cent considered their outdoor décor to be a 'mega display,' of ten or more strings of lights, and at least one plug-in inflatable decoration. In comparison, while just over half of British Columbians are also planning to decorate for the winter holidays, ten per cent are planning a mega display for the exterior of their home.

"Elaborate holiday displays account for about three per cent of the provincial electricity load during the winter holiday season, and Halloween displays are starting to keep pace with what was once unique to the December to January period," said Susie Rieder, BC Hydro spokesperson. "While winter holiday season decorating is still more popular, those who go all out with mega displays are favouring Halloween for the first time ever."

British Columbians may not realize some of their decorating choices and habits may be contributing to higher costs. For example, when it comes to outdoor holiday lighting, most who are decorating are planning to use three to five strings of lights, and multicoloured are the most popular choice (45 per cent). However, 26 per cent are using old incandescent light strings or a mix of old incandescent and LED lighting. Incandescent lighting uses significantly more power and is more expensive to run. Fourteen per cent used plug-in inflatable decorations for Halloween this year, and of those who plan to decorate for the winter holidays 14 per cent also plan to use plug-in inflatable decorations which can add to costs because they are typically run 24/7 and use a lot more power than a strand of LED bulbs.

There is also an element of 'keeping up with the Joneses' when it comes to holiday displays that could add to costs. For example, almost 30 per cent said they are more likely to put up an elaborate holiday lighting display if their neighbours do so, and seven per cent said they overtly or covertly compete with their neighbours over who has the best exterior lighting display. Interestingly, 46 percent concede their neighbour has the best lighting display in the neighbourhood, with just 11 per cent self-proclaiming their display to be the best.

Whether you prefer Halloween or the winter holidays, BC Hydro recommends the following to keep decorating costs down:

Switching to LED lighting: Save about $40 over the holiday season by switching eight strands of incandescent lights to energy efficient LEDs. LED holiday lights also last ten times longer and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours.

Using timers: Reduce electricity costs by only having lights on when needed.

Reconsidering inflatable decorations: These decorations are simple to install—with limited set up and no ladders or tools required, which makes them an easy addition to a holiday display. The electricity used by these can vary from around 52 watts for a smaller 4-foot one, to around 85 watts for a 12-foot inflatable, and they are typically run 24 hours a day—adding up to $50 each to British Columbians’ electricity costs over the holidays.

Using MyHydro: See how holiday decorating impacts electricity use by using the electricity tracking tools available on MyHydro, which can be accessed from a mobile device or at

For more information on smart holiday energy choices, visit BC Hydro Holiday Countdown.

[1] Survey conducted online by Majid Khoury of 800 British Columbians from November 22-27, 2023. Margin of error 3.46%.