Halloween is 100 days away; the first day of fall still has two months to go. Yet the past few weeks have brought the first whisperings of spooky, autumnal vibes into stores. I’ve already heard some complaints about how “summer has barely started” or “it isn’t even October”, but—as someone devoted to this holiday—I thought I’d explain why it’s worth scouring the stores in summer for a touch of scary serotonin.
Halloween as its own holiday—not to be confused with autumn or Thanksgiving vibes—has picked up commerciality in the past five or so years. This may be due to hype from social media for new products, a greater sense of joy in the experience, or a concurrent rise in popularity along with horror media (a la The Renaissance). Whatever the case, many stores started pushing their fall-season products earlier: first to September in a post back-to-school fashion, then August, and now July. I don’t control capitalism (obviously), but when a holiday reaches this level of consumerism this tends to happen. Christmas has enjoyed that perk for decades, and we all know it’s not that unusual to find a store that sells Christmas-themed stuff year-round. This is just a different type of holiday magic.
While it may be tempting to wait till the last minute to shop for costumes, décor, and more, I recommend shopping for Halloween in summer—for at least five reasons.
- FIRST COME FIRST SERVED. Halloween and horror nerds (like myself) wait anxiously every year for the announcement of products and eventual release. If any items are tagged “must-have” for the season, we’re already aware. So the second that witch hand candle holder hits Bath & Body Works, it’s almost gone or being sold at mark-up on Mercari. The earlier you shop, the greater selection you have in items, especially if you’re particular or looking for something specific. Since merchandise now releases in July or August, by the time October actually occurs most of the stock has been picked through multiple times and you may not find what you want. (It’s also not worth it to wait for a discount unless you’re stocking up for the next year).
- SEARCHING FOR NO-PRESSURE TREASURE. As mentioned in the previous reason, waiting till October can put some stress on your holiday preparation. Online orders can be delayed. That must-have costume could be sold out. The bulk bags of good candy won’t be available anymore. Shopping in summer, especially early, turns your preparation into a stress-free treasure hunt. Instead of driving to every store in search of the perfect candy bowl, you can find what appeals to you during your everyday schedule. Instead of scoffing that it’s too early for Halloween, pick up those mini chocolate bars with your groceries and stock them away. Get a spooky scented candle along with your regular body wash. You don’t have to be a Halloween fanatic or search for the perfect haul in order to add a dash of the diabolical to your day.
- SHOP FROM YOUR HOME SCREAM. Yes, finding cool items in-store has its own kind of magic and you don’t have to wait for delivery. However, with more stores putting out Halloween items ever year and with limited availability in-store, you may find it easier to beat the rush and enjoy your iced tea with thoughts of colder weather. This also works great if certain stores are unavailable in your area, and you may be able to apply coupons or membership discounts more easily. We also can’t negate how great online shopping works for businesses on Etsy (who do this year-round but may have limited designs) and other online-only retailers.
- PUMPKIN SPICE UP THE SUMMER. Every summer we have new record-breaking heat, and while trips to the pool and sunscreen and barbecues are idyllic, we all know that first breath of fall is sacred. If you want the endorphin rush of imagining a warm sweater, the crunch of multi-colored leaves, or hot chocolate, shopping for the fall season when it’s ninety degrees out is surprisingly effective. The bonus, too, is that if you pack your purchases away until the season “officially” begins, you get a second rush as you finally get to put them out or use them.
- MORE SPIRIT DURING THE SEASON. This reason applies mostly to decorations. If you buy early then you’ll spend less time during October searching and trying to find what you need, and more time enjoying your decorations. I’m not going to prescribe a day or time for when decor should be applied (like Christmas, that’s personal), but it seems to defeat the purpose if you don’t have time to experience them. Some of us leave Halloween decorations out year-round, but I understand for others it’s that momentary haunted house, a touch of the spectacular or eerie, or something cute to bring Halloween magic to life for little ones.
As of this blog, Halloween has started to make its way into Homegoods, At Home, Pottery Barn, Bath & Body Works, and Michael’s Crafts. Other stores, like Joann’s, Spirit Halloween, and Target, will be on their way soon. Whether you’re a casual connoisseur or frantic fan of October and all it entails, the selection has never been better and the chance to buy in summer is a treat you shouldn’t ignore.
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