Only a few years ago, while looking forward to the arrival of Friday the 13th in September, I jokingly speculated that the Halloween industry would not be able to resist the temptation to extend the season – and their profits – by using that malefic date as an excuse to open their graveyard gates earlier than ever. After all, Halloween had long been encroaching upon September, with Disneyland Halloween Time starting in the middle of the month, and the Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt and Halloween Horror Nights opening in the last or next to the last week. Still, it was meant to be a joke.
Well, that joke is more or less reality. Disneyland Halloween Time did indeed open on Friday, September 13 in 2013; since then, it has crept forward to September 12 in 2014 and September 11 this year. Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood unleashes hell on the 18th instead of the 19th. The Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt exhumes its spooks on the 24th instead of the 25th. Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest raises the dead on September 26 instead of September 27. Even johnny-come-lately Queen Mary Dark Harbor sets sail on October 1 instead of October 2.
Of course, this slight creep forward is the result of the calendar: theme parks like to launch their Halloween events on a Friday, which falls a day earlier in 2015 than in 2014. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note October 1 is starting to look like a late launch for a major Halloween event. Not too many years ago, it would have seemed absurd to imagine a future in which a mid-September launch resembled the norm rather than an outlier.