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Some October Bargains Are Terrifyingly Good

Look for end-of-year garden sales and big-box tech sales

spinner image October retail sales are illustrated with two Halloween pumpkins and a percentage symbol on an orange background.
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Halloween and Christmas are nearly two months apart, but you’d never know that by walking the aisles of stores like Costco, Michaels or Lowe’s, which have already been hawking wares for both holidays for weeks. Whether you’re outfitting your home — or yourself — for Halloween or working on your holiday shopping list, there are plenty of bargains available for savvy shoppers this month.

As in recent years, several high-profile retailers are planning big, storewide sales this month to help shoppers kick-start their holiday shopping. Here are a few important sales to keep in mind.

  • Target Circle Week (for Target Circle members) — Oct. 1-7
  • Home Depot Decor Days (online only) — Oct. 5-9
  • Walmart Holiday Kickoff (online only) — Oct. 9-12
  • Amazon Prime Big Deals Days (for Prime members) — Oct. 10-11
  • Best Buy Flash Sale — Oct. 10-11

“The holiday shopping season used to kick off with Black Friday, and it was four weeks of crazy sales,” says Brad Godwin, senior vice president and head of retail partnerships at Shopkick. “Now it’s been expanded and extended. Retailers think if they can get shoppers in earlier, they’ll get that sale and then incremental additional sales later in the season.”

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If you need a snack to fuel all that shopping, keep an eye out for deals at fast-food restaurants and supermarkets on National Taco Day (Oct. 4) and National Dessert Day (Oct. 14). You may also see deals from pizza chains or local shops in honor of National Pizza Month.

Beyond that, here’s a look at some of the categories where, according to shopping experts, you’ll find sales this time of year, as well as where to shop and how much you could possibly save.

Plants and gardening supplies

While many gardeners spend most of the fall working on leaf removal and getting their lawns ready for winter, autumn is actually a great time to plant perennials, flower bulbs, and some trees and shrubs — and a good time to find discounts on those items. Many nurseries shut down entirely in the winter and need to clear out their inventory, while hardware stores are looking to make room for winter outdoor products like snowblowers and shovels.

Keep an eye out for larger equipment, such as lawnmowers or outdoor trimmers, since you’re likely to find clearance-level prices on them this time of year.

Where to find deals: Local nurseries, Home Depot, Lowe’s

Potential savings: 50 percent or more

Halloween items

If you have your heart set on a particularly trendy Halloween costume (like Barbie or a Super Mario Brother this year), you may need to shop early and spend closer to full price to make sure you can snag the outfit in your size. If you’re less picky, waiting a few weeks will yield savings.

“The trick with Halloween is that the closer you get to the actual day of Oct. 31, the lower the price will drop, but the caveat is that there is less selection,” says Kimberly Palmer, a spokesperson with the personal finance website NerdWallet.

The second half of the month also brings price drops on pumpkins, Halloween candy and decorations. (Of course, you’ll find even better deals starting on Nov. 1, if you’re willing to purchase items and store them until next year.)

Where to find deals: Halloween pop-up stores, Party City, Costco

Potential savings: Up to 80 percent or more in the last week of the month

Flowers & Gifts

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(Some) electronics

While Black Friday remains the best day of the year to purchase certain electronics, including televisions and video game systems, many of the storewide events (listed above) will include hefty discounts on tech products.

“For consumers who want a smart home device or new headphones, those early holiday sales are a good opportunity to get them on a discount way before Black Friday,” says Kristin McGrath, a savings expert with RetailMeNot.

Manufacturers, including Apple, are also releasing product updates this time of year, so you may find the best value on an older-generation version. If you’re looking for Amazon-branded electronics like a Kindle or Alexa, you’ll find the deepest discounts during Amazon Prime Big Deal Days.

Where to find deals: Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart

Potential savings: 30 to 40 percent

Bicycles and bike-related gear

​As the thermometer ticks down in most parts of the country, so does demand for bicycles and biking gear like helmets and locks, prompting outdoors and sports retailers to discount them. Prices may inch back up as holiday shopping truly gets underway, so October is a great window for deals.

Where to find deals: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Cabela’s, Academy Sports

Potential savings: 30 to 50 percent

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