Halloween is about the dark but it was also an excuse for some light and levity in Braddon on Friday as traders shook off 2020 to have some fun.
Businesses were decorated and traders dressed in their ghoulish best to put a horror year behind them and look forward with only positivity.
The staff at florist Moxom + Whitney were each dressed as a character from The Addams Family, owner Loulou Moxom hiding her trademark red tresses underneath a wild wig to become Cousin Itt.
Ms Moxom was glad to have a reason to celebrate and, literally, let her hair down after small business was pummelled by the impact of bushfire smoke and, then, COVID-19.
"It's been the most testing year," she said.
"It's been frightening, it's been interesting. It's astounding to see businesses fight and crawl back, adapt, improvise and overcome and succeed and get through this. And any businesses that has, you've got to take your hat off to them.
"It's been the most frightening time ever, but we're doing okay. People still send flowers. 'I can't come to your bar mitzvah, here's some flowers'; 'I can't come to your wedding, here's some flowers'. We're doing okay."
But not quite back, yet, to pre-COVID times.
"No, not yet," Ms Moxom said. "I would say at least March, April next year, we're hoping we'll be back where we were'."
The staff at Moxom+Whitney always dressed up for Halloween but this year was all about fun and rallying other businesses to join in.
"It's community and neighbourhood and Braddon, we're family," she said.
"It's just a chance to lighten up and let's have some fun. We're nearly out of it, we're nearly there. Well done Melbourne."
Braddon's United Retailers & Traders spokeswoman Louise Yabsley said it also encouraged the businesses to don their Halloween best and celebrate looking forward.
"Given people have had some pretty tough times lately, this was a great way to bring the community together and have a bit of fun and laugh at ourselves," she said.
"It's also the unexpected. Halloween is not particularly popular in this area, but walking into a shop and seeing the costumes and some extra decorations I think is a really cool thing."
Ms Yabsley said it was thrilling to see the businesses not only operating but busy.
"We're really, really grateful for all the support from the Braddon and Canberra community," she said.
"People have been coming back in droves. You can tell by the traffic on the street, it's already busy again. In the lead-up to Christmas, this is our really key time, so we just really encourage people to come down. We've got so many new shops and it's all beautiful, quality stuff."
Christine Fowler, from Real Maple + Co and Phyllis and Me, got into the spirit, giving her popular candles a Halloween twist, with some orange and spice fragrance and treat or treat lollies on top.
Mia Somerville was dressed up with Michael Jackson's Thriller playing in Unique Diamonds.
"This is one of the first times I've actually celebrated Halloween. As a kid I never got to celebrate it. My mum was one of the weird ones who didn't want to do it," she said, with a laugh.
"I think it's fun. I think it brings everyone together, which is nice."
Unique Diamonds had experienced a bit of a post-COVID boost with many couples deciding to become engaged.
"I don't know if the time together made everyone that little bit closer, but we had everyone coming in for engagement rings after COVID," Ms Somerville said.
"I think it was June or July - crazy. We were really lucky in that way."
Braddon is not Braddon without coffee and the staff at Elemental were also dressed up for Halloween, serving through a pumpkin-adorned window.
Owner Julian Fresi said he was glad to participate.
"It's good to have a bit of fun after a rough year with the coronavirus and even the fires. It's been a horrible year but it's good to see everyone getting together having fun," he said.
"People have been really, really good. Customers have been so loyal. Without them, we wouldn't be here. It's all ups and no downs now."
Outfit of the day went to Kirsten Gray from Naked Foods who glammed up by spending $14 on her costume from The Green Shed.
"Given we're a zero-waste business, it was nice to be get it second hand," she said, with a laugh.
Ms Gray's organic bulk wholefoods business stayed open throughout COVID-19, getting a boost from the initial run on food and, then, the "sourdough epidemic" when everyone wanted to start their own cultures in lockdown.
"So, literally, we could not keep flour in stock," she said."That was good."
Businesses had not yet fully recovered.
"I definitely have noticed it's been quieter and the routine of trade is different, people who would usually come after work now come during the day and weekend trade has changed too."
Ms Gray hoped things were turning a corner.
"Hopefully, we're in the upward swing," she said.
"We have a really, really loyal, strong customer base which I think has been absolute godsend through the whole time. I think Canberrans are super-loyal when they get to know you, especially in Braddon, which I think is it's own little epicentre."