By Jacqueline Quynh

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Health experts warned against celebrating Halloween a year ago. But in 2021, things have improved thanks to vaccines.

“This year it’s been busy since the beginning of October,” said Jorge Torres, manager of La Casa De Los Trucos.

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Phones have been ringing non-stop at the long-time costume staple in Little Havana.

“This year it’s been busy since the beginning of October,” Torres said.

Torres knows the big crowds don’t usually come until later in the month, but the excitement this year began early. He predicts a strong Halloween. That’s also in line with the National Retail Federation. It expects this holiday’s shopping to reach more than $10 billion in 2021, an all-time high.

“There’s a lot of shipping issues going on right now cargos that are not being unloaded,” Torres warned.

La Casa De Los Trucos is open year-round, so it’s packed to the brim, so if one superhero costume is out, he still has plenty of other styles like it.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has gone ahead and given the OK for trick or treating this year. She said it’s best not to go to crowded parties.

“It’s a community effort isn’t it, we have to think about our families the children we have to think about the individuals who are not vaccinated,” Homestead Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Charles Augustus said.

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Dr. Augustus doesn’t want people to forget that three pillars that have helped so many get through the pandemic thus far, wearing masks, hand hygiene, and social distancing.

“You should avoid large bowls where people are placing their hands inside,” he added.

The pandemic shut down House of Horror and Haunted Carnival last year as well.

“By luck, by design a haunted house we bring in people in small groups so they can get scared,” House of Horror Executive Director Tony Albelo said.

This year the scary tradition is back, bigger than ever at the old Sears location at the International Mall.

“House of Horror this year is in a 180,000 square foot abandoned department store,” Albelo said.

CBS4 was there as people were lined up early just to be the first through the gates.

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While COVID-19 is still a scary risk, it seems with enough precautions it’s OK to get back into the spooky spirit of Halloween once again.

Jacqueline Quynh