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HalloweenOk, so we've somehow gotten used to Christmas commercials popping up well before Thanksgiving. And we barely bat an eyelash anymore when the Back-to-School promotions roll out just weeks after graduation.

But Halloween in July? Really?

I could barely believe it when I saw this picture, taken at a North Tonawanda grocery store, pop into my Facebook newsfeed.

There, among the sunblock and water toys, was a display for Halloween candy. Not a Hershey's display, not a "summer snack" display. A giant, orange sign with a ghost and bat, emblazoned with the words "Hershey's is Halloween."

Other consumers were surprised, too, judging by their comments.

"It's JULY. What's next? Christmas?"

One commenter called it "ridiculous," another asked if the picture was a prank.

But it's not. The Halloween-themed displays are up at Tops Friendly Markets and will be going up at Wegmans stores over the next week and a half.

Wegmans said the candy is a popular back-to-school item, which also appeals to returning college students, so it is put out in August to meet that demand. Since Halloween shoppers begin shopping for candy in September to prepare for October Halloween parties and "building displays twice would not make sense," stores go with Halloween-themed displays from the start, according to Wegmans spokeswoman Jo Natale.

Tops said the timing of the summer rollout is no different than years past.

"Tops has a small amount of Halloween candy in stores now, and the majority of products ship in late August or early September," said Kate McKenna, Tops spokeswoman. "Some manufacturers like to get consumers excited about the holiday by shipping out extremely popular items, like Cadbury Screme Eggs early and make them available for a limited time."

So what do you think of promoting Halloween in the middle of summer? Exciting or annoying?

 ---Samantha Maziarz Christmann

Got tips or questions about Western New York's retail scene? Send them my way. E-mail schristmann@buffnews.com, Tweet me @DiscountDivaSam or "Like" me on Facebook, Facebook.com/DiscountDiva.