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I have been obsessing over Halloween all year long for the past years but this year I really want to hit all the stores I love that I can get too i.e., pottery barn, Walmart, target, homegoods, bed bath and beyond and Michaels. Walmart is very far for me but this year I am going to make it a day trip.

When do you do your biggest shopping? Before Halloween or do you do the after Halloween hauls. I love doing both but I never planned very well. I want to get a great deal but I don't want to end up losing out on something.

How do you guys and gals shop?
 

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I usually start shipping around in August. Nightmarefamily is right, most of the store stuff is cheesy, but I usually buy a few things, if I like it. I tend to stay away from Spirits since their stuff is overpriced. My main stores are Michaels, hobby lobby and home depot
 

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I check out all the stores when I find out they have their merchandise out. But I don't spend much in them these days as most of my stuff is DIY. I probably buy more stuff in the Christmas section of the big box stores to use at Halloween than I buy from their Halloween selections. I haven't rushed to the after Halloween sales in a while since the surplus of "what I want" just doesn't exist anymore.
 

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As soon as stuff is out! Sometimes places like TJ Maxx have a couple odds and ends in relation to Halloween put out in July. I have no shame in buying them out, haha
 

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I always start checking the stores late July and early August. I don't buy much in the stores beyond the spooky town at Michaels but I get ideas from seeing stuff in the stores. If you throw a Halloween party like me now is the time to shop if you want paper plates, napkins, utensils etc. Most schools have let out and are done or almost done with graduation parties so a lot of stores have extra colored paper plates and goodies on sale to get them off their shelves. I'm lucky enough that one of the local schools in this area have their school colors as orange and black so I can always find the colors I want. I usually make a note of what I need when I pack up the extras after my party so I don't have to dig it out and do a count this time of year.
 

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I'm with Deadview, I shop all year round. Typically during the "off' season, I scour estate sales and tag sales. The holiday decor is usually pretty cheap and I can get it even cheaper if I just ask and throw a price I'm willing to pay. The people running the sale are looking to 1. get rid of as much as possible and 2. they focus on selling the big ticket items, since they usually take a 20%-30% cut. They really don't care too much about the holiday decor, they just want it out. I start stalking the stores in September. I go into Spirit once, on November 1st and buy the half off stuff that is left. I also hit just about every other store in the first week of November to see what is on clearance.
I really have to say that estate sales are my favorite though. I have found amazing items at a lot of them.
 

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I've picked up things all year round since I also like to set the scene. Some years the money runs out to do much day after shopping and sometimes even month of shopping but that's OK. Unless it's a big item or something I wanted all season and held off buying because of other priorities, I don't care much. Early on I found that I would be enticed to buy a lot of small things on great clearance that I really never used so kind of a waste of money and sucker of storage space. Probably end up donating some of these things down the road.

I will go and check out SH the first day I can get there and come up with a wishlist, usually a few items, sometimes big, sometimes small (loved the attic lights and fire and ice spot lights last year for example). I'll use my coupon thanks to signing up to their site and promos mentioned on here. I have gotten some nice items day after but it really depends on what I need now. Passed up some nice things that just didn't fit my themes. But doesn't hurt to look and it's kind of my way of saying goodbye to another year.

I guess I also tend to check out GR's offerings starting what, June or July timeframe, and beyond. Pick out anything that i think will sell out early if I really like it. Sometimes you can get lucky holding out for a good sale or free shipping offer but other times you miss out...thinking the lady in black for example. One year prop that sold and out and didn't return. Win some and lose some. Never found e bay to be a deal on stuff afterwards.
 

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I pretty much do it all year long! Many online retailers have sales in the summer, so I try to take advantage of them. Of course, I get most of my in-store done during September. That's when the evil summer is almost gone and I can enjoy it more.
 

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I look year round in antique and thrift stores and any garage sales. July is when I notice some stores starting to put Halloween stuff out. As someone stated earlier, its a good idea to buy your party products like plates and silverware now. I can't wait to see what GR has this year, I was disappointed in what they had last year, hopefully this year is better. Other stores like Homegoods put stuff out slowly. I love looking at everything, even if I don't want to buy it!
 

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Being an Aussie, Halloween stuff doesn't come into the shops till October, so I try to find stuff to do or make before then, by shopping on Ebay or Garage Sales for those things that can be recycled etc. Wish they put stuff out early here. It's extremely difficult to get skeletons here unless they're only around 6" big. I am working on making one this year with PVC pipe, IF I can make it work. LOL
 

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Going bump in the night..
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When looking for bargains for Halloween decorations, I've had some great luck with using items that aren't sold as "Halloween".
I managed to pick up a bucketfull of those small flicker bulbs (where the filament is in the shape of a flame, and they glow orange) that I purchased after Christmas (the bulbs were clearanced with a bunch of Hanukkah decorations - they were intended for use in a menorah. I picked up just under a hundred or so for pennies per bulb).
I found these at Walmart, on clearance.
So, Jewish decorations, at Christmas clearance, at a store that I don't equate with acceptable Halloween decorations.

Always be thinking Halloween, and deals appear everywhere.
 

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Far Away Eyes
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I like to wait for the annual rummage sales held as fundraisers by local high schools and churches. There is so much to choose from, like a hundred yard sales all in one spot. And I always find stuff to make into props. Like my $4 clown car, clothes for my skellies, actual Halloween décor, and a whole lot of luau party decorations that I am using this year for our Forbidden Tiki Island theme.

I hit up Spirit and Big Lots after Halloween last year and found some cool additions. A skull stack that attaches to the fog machine and a haunted candelabra from Spirit, and from Big Lots some skulls and six large snakes.

Home Goods usually has some great items for indoor decorating, so I check them out in July/Aug. After that, it is almost too late; the good stuff is all sold out.

Dollar Tree all year round for projects, but I will check there in July too. And CVS carried some fun props last August? as well, so they may be worth checking again.

Trying to scale way back on the purchasing this year, so July and August will be tough - trying to resist all the new offerings! But like someone else said, it is fun just seeing all the Halloween out in the stores.
 

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Rutherford Manor Haunt
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We shop pretty much all year around as well, most of my purchases are from thrift stores and garage sales. I check out the seasonal Halloween stores as they open up, when I do buy stuff it is usually something I need to finish out a set design, some odd ball thing that I have only seen at a Halloween store. I agree many of the Halloween store props can be a bit cheesy, I think all of them need "touch ups" when you get them home to make them creepier and less cartoon looking.
 

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I'll check out the after holiday clearances- both Halloween and Christmas. But mostly, I love the treasure hunt of cruising garage sales and thrift shops all year long. I never look for anything in particular.
 

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I am just like most everyone else, always have my eye for something I can alter to make it for Halloween. Always find things at the local flea market & Goodwill stores. Rarely do I buy an actual Halloween figure or prop, most of my things were made for another reason like DJ's or Christmas that has been altered.
 
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So much of our stuff is DYI so I guess I never stop shopping. I will look at what's in the stores when the new stuff comes in to borrow their ideas, maybe if it's priced right or is special in some way I might buy but otherwise I'd do it at home or hope it's still around for the after sales. Michael's, usually with a coupon, JoAnn fabric again usually with a coupon, Dollar Tree, Home Depot/Lowe's, sometimes Big Lots, even the wrecking yard (nice place to find wiper motors and door latch activators) are my go to places. Freecycle.org and Craigslist are great places to make free or almost free finds - pallets, foam, old wood, paint, stains. I've noticed that the thrift/second hand stores like Value Village and Goodwill at getting a little pricey with their stuff but some good finds can still be made. Yard/garage sales, heck a couple of my best finds were at a church sale, got to love the end of the day sales when it's what ever you can fit into a bag for a $1. No one wants Halloween stuff in the middle of July.... well I do.
 
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