October Country Halloween kicks into high gear

I’m beginning to doubt my sanity.

For so many years, I’ve made a habit of starting to think about Halloween in July. That’s when the first early, early signs appear. Costco starts putting out their bulk sacks of Halloween candy then, and some of more brazen home decor and hobby stores begin moving in seasonal “Fall” items. By early August you will probably see one or two pumpkin beers show up and the Halloween issues of the home and garden magazines. And then of course, September arrives and I give myself permission to act like a lunatic and celebrate Halloween season openly.

Everywhere I go in public, I look for signs of the world around me acknowledging that Halloween is coming soon. But I no longer have any idea when any of this stuff is “supposed” to happen. For example, I think that pumpkins usually show up in big cardboard bins at the grocery store in early September, but when I went shopping on the 16th and didn’t see any, I began to worry that there might be a pumpkin shortage (in the COVID era, everything has the potential to become a shortage, so this seemed reasonable). The pumpkins did eventually show up, but much later than I expected.

Likewise, nobody in my neighborhood has decorated the outsides of their houses yet. This worried me slightly, until I remembered that I MYSELF keep the front of my home Halloween-free until October. That is to say, I’m pretty sure normal people don’t start parading around plastic skeletons and inflatable ghosts in their front yards earlier than October. Of course they don’t.

All this is to say, while Halloween fanatics are used to stretching out a one-day holiday into an entire season, the rest of the world is more… measured about it. It may be the second most commercially lucrative holiday in the country (and #3 isn’t even close), but it’s not yet at Christmas’s level, where the season continually encroaches earlier and earlier in the year, to the point where it’s even steamrolled poor Thanksgiving in its creep. I’m grateful for that. I don’t want people getting cynical about Halloween.

But it is now officially October, and no one can say a word about letting your Halloween flag fly now. In my case, that’s literal.

So fire up those horror movie marathons (check this guide for some inspo), decorate your place with your best corny macabre goods, and soak in the Best Holiday with me. Remember, Halloween is the whole year’s Friday evening. Make it count.

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