Head down the High Street and you're confronted with rack upon rack of fibre optic Christmas trees. This year saw the earliest festive displays yet, with some Christmas stores opening days after the children returned to school, conscious that the early bird catches the worm.
But the festive shop window arms race could be much worse. The only thing now restraining stores from festooning floor to ceiling in glitter from early August is the mid-term hiccup of Halloween. It's tempting to wonder whether, without the buffering effect of barricades of cobwebbery, the store owners would launch into Christmas as soon as Easter was over.
For weeks, supermarkets have stocked racks of Halloween costumes, garden centres have been bursting with giant spiders and lanterns and a Haunted House in Connswater Shopping Centre spookily foreshadows the Santa grotto to come.
But Halloween wasn't always so commercial. In recent years Britain has increasingly caught the bug from the US, where kids reared on ET lapped up the trick-or-treat culture.
But even though we in the province have always preferred Halloween to Guy Fawkes night, it wasn't the all-singing all-dancing commercial version that has resulted in queues down the street outside Elliotts for two weeks straight.
Back in the day, it was a swift trick-or-treat round a couple of houses with a sweaty plastic mask, and quickly home for sparklers, apple bobbing and that blindfold game that involves pretending a peeled grape is a gouged eyeball.
It wasn't a good idea to wander the streets after dark when packs of shadowy paramilitaries presented an ominous threat, and firework displays were a rarity until the regulations were relaxed.
And the only Halloween decoration was a butchered turnip with the muck rubbed off.
As with most Christian festivals, Halloween emerged from an ancient Celtic festival - Samhain. Hallows Evening was the night before the Christian festival of All Souls.
During the Celtic festival, all fires in homes around the country were extinguished except for those of the Druids. Deities were sacrificed to the gods on these holy pyres, which were used to relight the hearths of ordinary people.
Jim Ledwith of the Mumming Foundation says Halloween is celebrated as the end of the year, when an exhausted Mother Earth recharges her batteries.
"It was also a time when the other world would come back to meet the present world. That's why you have to leave the house open for all the spirits to come in and out," he says.
The Arran Islands still celebrate the eerie festival of Oiche na Pukai, in which sinister disguised figures enter the bars to drink and dance in total silence, before entering each house by the open front door and leaving by the rear.
Since the Troubles, Halloween has erupted into a colourful celebration, with a more relaxed attitude to fireworks and people newly comfortable with emerging after dark.
Tonight the National Trust will lead a guided walk up the Belfast Hills to watch the fireworks light up the city skies, an event that would never have happened during the Troubles. The trust has organised a host of family events at its properties, when once the stately homes would all have been in hibernation by now.
"Whereas once people would have stayed in their homes and didn't really go out - because that was just the way Northern Ireland was - now children and families want to socialise and get out and about much more," says communications manager Marisa Lavery.
"Halloween really helps to break up the time between summer and Christmas. People don't want to be sitting indoors until Christmas - with all the colours and richness of autumn, it's a beautiful time to be out and about."