The first Halloween decorations are up in our neighborhood. Even better: the first giant inflatable Halloween decorations. This begins inflatable decoration season, which lasts from now until well past Christmas. At this point, though, I can't recall if there are Thanksgiving inflatables, or if the Halloween ones hang on until the Santas go up. A giant inflatable turkey would be pretty classy out on the lawn, would it not? Ooh, ooh, or how about a blow-up pilgrim?!
The fact that the Halloween stuff is showing up so early points to something that I've thought for some time: that the holiday is replacing Thanksgiving as the United States' main fall festival. See, it's my belief that we humans are programmed to celebrate the turning of the seasons, and regardless of the 'official' justifications for certain holidays they are in actuality observances of seasonal milestones. Christmas and Easter are obvious, but I would also posit that Fourth of July is so exciting because it's not only our nation's birthday, it's also our summer solstice party! Thanksgiving is ostensibly meant as a harvest—read, autumnal equinox—festival, but it's obviously too late in the year to provide any real emotional fulfillment in that role. Halloween has taken over, thus the the constantly increasing stream of decorations in recent years.