“Halloween Creep,” observes reader Jay. “It almost sounds like a dance some ghouls might do after the Monster Mash.” That’s not what the Halloween Creep is, though. It would be so much better if it were. Instead, it’s what happens when Consumerist readers are out enjoying their summer and stop in their tracks when they see Halloween merch out on store shelves.
Naturally, they reach for their mobile phones when this happens.
Is Halloween Creep a thing? Should stores at least wait until Labor Day before they start putting ou the pumpkins and hauling out costumes? We looked back in our overflowing Holiday Creep mailbox to see how far back in the summer these sightings go, and how widespread they are. The news isn’t good.
Reader Bethany spotted orange Kit-Kats at a Wegmans store in western New York on August 12th. She wasn’t ready for this. School isn’t even back yet where she lives: who is thinking about Halloween candy? “It’s not even mid-August!” she wailed into her smartphone with her thumbs.
Holiday decorations for sale in warehouse club stores have been the subject of a longtime debate on this site. Normally, we disqualify them along with craft stores, which are usually months ahead of everyone else because it takes so long to crochet stockings and pumpkin cozies. There’s also Hallmark’s weird obsession with selling Christmas ornaments in July.
Anyway, there are two schools of thought on the warehouse club question. One side insists that of course you can buy light-up Santas and red and green ribbons at Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s in mid-July: businesses shop at warehouse clubs, and need to plan ahead for the holiday rush. The other side insists that no business that knows what it’s doing sources its supplies from Costco.
We’re not sure that either side is entirely correct, but what we do know is that Christmas wrapping supplies next to skeleton decorations look weird as all heck.
Without the Christmas ribbons, other readers sent us pictures of those skeletons and other Halloween decorations dating back to July 20.
If you insist that warehouse clubs don’t count, that’s fine. Let’s head back to Wegmans. They’re a regular consumer grocery chain. This seasonal display isn’t just fun-sized candies for kids’ school lunches. It’s all Halloween-themed, and reader Kyle took this picture on August 7th.
Christian spotted this similar display in an unnamed store in Louisiana. Also, there is orange soda for some reason.
Kane reports that decorations were making their debut at closeout retailer Big Lots in late July.
Marc was surprised to see a display of Halloween candy in July. He snapped some pictures, and noted:
The display was full of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup pumpkins,
KitKat bars with “spooky packaging”, and Cadbury “Screme Eggs” (I
guess they had to find a way to sell them outside of Easter).
The pumpkins and the slime eggs can justify their premature existence by being awesome. Well, maybe just the seasonal pumpkins.
This picture that Jeff took is pretty blurry, but maybe also my eyes are starting to glaze over from looking at so much orange. I don’t know anymore.
We include it because it has candy corn. Candy corn in late July. CANDY CORN.
You can get a head start on outfitting your little punkin in little pumpkin onesies at Walmart, as spotted on July 24th. This display makes sense for people attending a summer baby shower for a child due in September or October.
“I’m used to seeing this in August, but to start putting it out in July is a new low,” writes tipster Scott. Is it acceptable that we were already used to seeing it in August? Next year, will someone write that they expect to see Halloween decorations out in July, but in June? That’s just ridiculous!
In summary, please stop sending Halloween Creep photos until 2014. We’ve already seen it all and we can’t take it anymore. The Christmas stuff should be hitting stores any day now, though.