MILL BAY, B.C. -- Stephanie is preparing to celebrate the season. “It’s bigger than Christmas for me,” she smiles. 

So it’s only fitting that she decorates a Halloween tree with pumpkin baubles, topped by a ghost saying ‘Boo.’

“It’s my favourite day of the whole year because you can be anything you want to be,” she says, before showing me pictures of her dressed up as a witch, fallen angel and steam-punk maiden. “It’s so much fun!”

But then Stephanie started dating David. They had many fun things in common, but one major difference. 

“He’s Mr. Christmas,” she laughs. “And I’m Ms. Halloween!”

That didn’t stop him from helping her transform their front yard into a series of elaborate spooky scenes, casting skeletons as cowboys round the campfire or the characters from Game of Thrones.

“We don’t even get 11 kids,” she says of their usual trick-or-treaters. 

What they lack in trick-or-treaters, Stephanie and David make up for with Halloween party-goers. Like a few years ago when he was dressed as a zombie cowboy and she was a zombie bride. 

“I was going to cancel the party because something had come up,” Stephanie starts explaining. 

But David — Mr. Christmas — was insistent that the Halloween party go on. And then when it did happen, he suddenly stopped the festivities to express his gratitude for everybody being there.

“He said ‘thank you,’” Stephanie recalls. “And then, ‘Steph says she’s a zombie bride because she’s never going to get married.’”

Then David got down on one knee and proposed. Stephanie said yes. 

That was followed by a wonderful wedding and Halloween display featuring a pair of skeletons saying ‘I do.’

“I just think you should live life,” Stephanie smiles. “And celebrate the things you love.”

Which is why this Halloween — although there will be no party — Stephanie and David are still celebrating with a display. But it’s different.

“This year I wanted to do something for the essential workers,” Stephanie starts saying, before fighting back tears. “I think they’ve done such a wonderful job.”

This display features skeletons dressed as front-line workers. 

There’s the grocery store employee who faced their fears to keep us fed (they’re putting a jack o’ lantern in a basket). There’s the person at the local pet store who stayed open to care for our critters (played by skeletal animals), and the health-care workers who missed their own families to protect ours (they are wearing stethoscopes and carrying a pumpkin on a stretcher).

“I want to make sure they know that people really, really loved what they did and were appreciative,” she says, wiping away a tear.

The display also features a Dr. Bonnie Henry skeleton, standing at a podium with a blonde wig, bold necklace and a pink blazer. On her boney feet, she’s wearing pink shoes.

Next to her are three large hearts, saying ‘Be calm. Be kind. Be safe.”

“It’s my way of giving back,” Stephanie smiles through her tears. “I can’t go and hug everybody and say thank you. So this is my Halloween hug!”