Early Halloween festivities show that ‘holiday creep' is getting scary

Cox NewspapersSeptember 28, 2013 

Happy Halloween.

I know, I know. The calendar says that we’re still in September, and nightfall on the final day in the month of October is 32 days away.

But Halloween has already broken out.

Halloween costumes are popping up on store racks, and those big bags of fun-sized treats are already on sale in the grocery’s candy aisle.

Celebrating Halloween this early is the equivalent of having a New Year’s Eve party two weeks before Thanksgiving or handing your valentine a dozen roses and a heart-shaped box of chocolates on Christmas Eve.

There’s a name for this sort of disregard for the calendar. It’s called “holiday creep.”

Halloween has become a victim of an ever-creeping Christmas, which used to be a December holiday until it was moved up to the day after Thanksgiving with the creation of a marathon of competitive shopping better known as Black Friday.

Last year, Black Friday shopping turned into Black Thanksgiving, with stores opening on Turkey Day rather than waiting until after midnight to begin the annual holiday shopping onslaught.

And this year, Wal-Mart jump-started the Christmas holiday season on Aug. 21, by announcing a holiday layaway shopping program that began on Sept. 13.

So Halloween has been under pressure.

So far, the local haunted houses haven’t succumbed to the September push.

Clayton’s Fear Farm and Haunted Scream Park will crank up on Friday; 3 1/2 weeks before Halloween seems modest now, unless you’re one of those people like me who remember Halloween as a single night, one centering on a pretty simple door-to-door candy gathering operation.

Clearly, that’s an outdated model.

There’s a bumper crop of websites that advise you to give trick-or-treaters something healthier than candy.

A woman identifying herself as “Sexy Vegan Mama” on the Circle of Moms website claims to have found the perfect alternative to the traditional Halloween candy.

“I’m a big fan of grabbing multipacks of toothbrushes at The Dollar Store, where I often find them eight-for-a-dollar, and stuffing goody bags with a toothbrush and stickers or other inexpensive party favors like spider rings,” she wrote.“Also, I give mad props to parents who choose not to give out candy. With two little ones allergic to red dye, those non-candy items are a treasure because they don’t have to be culled!”

Handing out toothbrushes on Halloween?

Maybe it’s time to reimagine the holiday, even if it does fall in September.

With staff contributions.

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