The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing colors and the weather is ideal. Fall is here and I couldn’t be happier.
This is my favorite time of year. For me, the time between Halloween and Christmas is all about family and making memories. I love to fill my weekends with family events, dinners with neighbors and enjoying the outdoors before the weather gets too cold.
After Halloween, you should be able to score great deals on Halloween costumes and decor. Not only will Target and Wal-mart discount merchandise, but the short-term Halloween stores will also clearance their merchandise starting this weekend. Costumes will be on sale for up to 90 percent off their original prices, and décor will be discounted up to 75 percent.
The costumes can be used for dress up and for trick or treating, so don’t dismiss the chance to do a little bargain shopping. The costumes also can be given as dress-up gifts to other children for birthdays or Christmas, especially with the addition of a few accessories.
My little girl has developed a taste for matching her outfit to her dolls, so we jump at a chance to find new princess costumes to add to the mix. Don’t forget little boys, too! When my son was smaller, he often dressed up as Star Wars characters, knights, policemen, firefighters, Power Rangers and even Transformers.
Adults should also take advantage of the sales to buy costumes for themselves or décor for the home.
Another favorite buy is the Wilton Cake Decorating Kit. You will often find Halloween-themed sets that have sugar crystals or other items that can be used at other times.
With the onset of colder temperatures, you will start noticing some deals on cold-weather merchandise such as blankets and quilts and hot drinks such as tea, coffee and hot cocoa.
Now that football season is in full swing, sports fans can score some great deals on some college-themed merchandise. I’ve also seen a lot of bedding, curtains and household items in the clearance aisles recently.
This year, expect to see some sales well before Black Friday. J.C. Penney and Macy’s have already announced that they will be open to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day. Also expected to open Thursday evening are retailers Toys ‘R Us, Wal-Mart and Target. This year, there are only 25 days between Black Friday and Christmas, so retailers have only four weekends for sales compared to the five weekends they had last year. This means more aggressive deals much sooner. Ads and rumors are already leaking on the Internet, and more will follow in the next few weeks. You can keep an eye out on Web sites such as www.blackfriday.com to get more.
According to AllYou.com, November is the best month to buy televisions, stereos, wedding dresses and clothing.
This month, you will find plenty of sales on baking goods. The coupons that come out during this season follow sales cycles of 24 weeks (most items have six- to 12-week sales cycles). Now is a great time to stock up on any baking goods you might need for Thanksgiving and Christmas. You should find great deals on canned foods including broth, condensed milk, canned pumpkin, vegetables, fruits, spaghetti sauce and cranberry sauce. You will also find other pantry goods on sale such as stuffing mix and potatoes. Other items on sale this month include butter, turkey, gravy (canned and mix), breads and rolls and frozen pies.
November is National Peanut Butter Month, The Great American Smokeout (a stop smoking initiative), American Diabetes Month, Lung Cancer Awareness Month and National American Indian Heritage Month.
Produce in season includes sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, kale, celery, bok choy, leeks, chard, mustard greens, parsnips, carrots, beets, rutabagas, turnips and winter squash. Fruits include cranberries, pumpkin, pears, kiwi, lemons, kumquats and some varieties of oranges.
Keep in mind that produce in season is cheaper, so take advantage of sale prices to include plenty of fresh fall vegetables into your family’s diet. My current favorite seasonal treat is a pumpkin curry soup made with chicken broth, blended caramelized onions and topped with a dollop of sour cream. Happy fall, y’all!