Halloween Shopping in July

When I first bought a house I was really excited to be able to decorate for the holidays. We moved into it in July which made Halloween the first decorating holiday for us. It was so exciting to go in the beginning of October to get decorations.
Except they were gone.

This was a very rude awakening. I figured out real quick that by October there are scraps left over and stores are already switching over to the Santa season.

What is wrong with these people?

I didn’t make that mistake again.

The next year I kept my eyes open for the first sign of Halloween. It came at the end of July.


No freaking wonder I couldn’t find anything in October that first month.

Here’s the crazy breakdown for my shopping in my area as I have studied it for years:

Starting towards the end of July I keep my eye out for Michaels craft store.

Michaels craft store

They are the first in my area to start putting out stuff. They also sell the Lemax spooky houses and if you keep your eye on the coupons, they usually put out ONE week of a 50% off any item coupon. This coupon comes out last week of July or first week of August. If you’re lucky you can use this coupon in combination of them getting the Lemax houses out and that will be the cheapest you can find them for the season. I also look over all the items and count the number of coupons I will need to save up to buy them. I usually never buy from here without a coupon.


Yes, the hardware store. They put their stuff out middle to end of August. They don’t compete with the back to school stuff so they put out their full display. I find many good things at Menards and they do a nice display.

Big Lots

They do have a back to school section and as soon as that starts dwindling, they start putting out Halloween. I was there yesterday (end of August) and they had 2 rows of Halloween out. It seems to me that they will have more out once they clear out the school and summer items section. I did find a few things and I know that when I see them, to get them. They have a good selection of unique things that I do not find at other stores. I usually get my plastic skeletons here. They’ve gone up in price over the years (from $10 to $16 this year) but still a good price.


I have not gone to Walgreens yet, but again they do school stuff and once that clears out they will put out Halloween. I suspect by the 2nd week of Sept they have their full display out. I usually get my gummy type candies here. They have a good selection of candy and some more unique things than other stores. They also do a nice selection of Halloween props that are at a good price. (update, I went to Walgreens this week and candy is out but not décor yet, still clearing out summer stuff)


I really like Target but they tend to get their display out later than the rest. The prices on things are fair, but not cheap. I did get a bubble fogger there for $40 on sale one year and it’s a big hit. I generally get more indoor Halloween décor there like placemats and candles.

Halloween superstores (Party City, Halloween City, Spirit Halloween)
I am lucky to live in an area that opens many seasonal Halloween only shops. Spirit stores have been advertising that they are open now and Party City is starting to set up now too.

Then there are stores that I just must pop in to see what they have. These stores are not big sources of shopping for me, but you never know:

Hobby Lobby
JoAnn Fabrics
Pier One Imports
My local grocery store (Jewel) has a fair amount of décor that I always check out

Then there’s the online resources, but this post is long enough. Next time.

So what about you? When do you start shopping and where do you find the goods?

13 thoughts on “Halloween Shopping in July

  1. To add to your list: zgallerie has a surprising selection of stuff. Mainly skulls/skeletons; however, they also have a reliable selection of affordable noise machines. Can you tell I help my brother (amateur film maker) source for his splatterfest creations? He won last year and claims the best realistic blood recipe.

  2. Found you via Craftermind…
    I wish I could shop for Halloween in July. I live in Finland where Halloween is gaining popularity year by year but it's nothing big yet. I love it though. Must be those American movies I watched as kid (and as a teen and …) Problem here is that the shops pull out the Halloween stuff (the few that do) in early October. How are you supposed to plan or design anything with only days to spare? The same goes with Christmas DIY-stuff. In shops in LATE November. Seriously. Finland sucks. It crimps my crafting style.

  3. Today, on "Ask Martha"

    Martha, you seem to have found a new zealousness for posting. Is it the autumn air? The invigorating change of seasons?

    TheNextMartha: No, motherfucker, it's freakin' Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I learned the "Buy Early" thing the hard way. Like the year I waited until November to try and buy boots for my 2 year old. Last year, I started buying winter wear in September/October. Buying seasonal stuff on time gives me a lot of anxiety.

    Awesome post!

  5. Such a great post. I bought some purple lights, and like two other things, but this year it's on! Well not like your style, but I want to have some fun this year, so I'll look for a few more items later this month.

    I "Stumbled" this post, because it's such great advice!

  6. I also like to buy at the end of the season for the following season. Sadly I had to get rid of all my decorations for this move. So I've got to start all over. But heck I do love the shopping. Can't wait to see more pictures of your project.

  7. Halloween is beyond huge in our suburb. Like, people commute here to trick or treat. Typically we give out 500+ pieces of candy each year. And that's with judicious distribution of 1 piece per child.

    It's a fun, grand affair though and I wouldn't miss it..

  8. I know a lot of people don't like to buy secondhand, but consignment & thrift shops are good places to look if you are ok with it. I got a ton of Halloween stuff at a yard sale this summer… they were getting rid of everything! I also like to shop after holiday sales. I guess I'm a cheapskate, but hey, it works!

    • oh I have NO problem with it. I know this sounds like I BUY everything but I don't. I make almost 50% or more and fill in with some store bought stuff. Especially if there is a "look" I'm going for, I shop thrift stores.

  9. I like to buy seasonal stuff at the end of the season and save that way :) When I lived in Chicago I was an Asst. Manager for a Hallmark Creations store (a corporate owned/non-franchise store). They have THE. BEST. sales after a holiday. There is actually a $1 section of the store, usually at the very back. If you become good friends with the associates at your Hallmark Creations store, they might tell you when all the mark downs go to $1. Get there when they open and go nuts. One year, I got 60 Christmas items, including an $80 Santa porcelain statue for $60. The majority of my Halloween decor is still what I picked up after Halloween when I worked there.

    Love the list! You're inspiring me to get more creative for Halloween this year :)

  10. This HAS to be the most comprehensive Halloween shopping guide on the Internet. Also, it might be the ONLY Halloween shopping guide on the internet. But that's why we love you.

    You're right about shopping two seasons ahead for anything seasonal. Lose a mitten in January and you're screwed. Just trust me on this.

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