It’s the Super Bowl of shopping, the Oscars for retailers. It’s a time when below-the-radar soccer moms and soft-spoken grandpas take to the shopping cart raceways, weaving in and out of the throngs in search of the Holy Grail, that larger-than-life bargain. There’s a game plan, an emergency plan, and lots of coffee. It’s Black Friday!

Black Friday hype increases every year, and this year, retailers are upping their game by opening earlier than ever. While Black Friday has traditionally begun the day after Thanksgiving, Wal-Mart was the first to announce they would be opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving to accommodate those shoppers looking for both great deals and a social experience. Now Target and Kmart have followed suit, opening Black Friday sales earlier than they ever have before.

READ MORE: 'Black Friday Creep' Spurs Online Petition Drives to Save Thanksgiving

Black Friday deals are heavy with technology favorites including flat-screen HD televisions, Blu-Ray players, game consoles, cameras and cell phones. Toys are also (link back to your toys story) at the top of the list with many of this season’s hottest items such as Monster High, Barbie, Nerf and Air Hogs at low, low prices. In fact, there are items for everyone on your shopping list, with a variety of products marked down. Many retailers also offer special incentives like free gift cards with qualifying purchases.

Take a look at what the major retailers are offering, then make your list and check it twice.

  • Walmart in Lake Saint Louis and Walmart in Wentzville are 24-hour stores, but they open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving for Black Friday deals.
  • Target opens at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving for Black Friday deals.
  • Best Buy’s Black Friday deals start at midnight Friday.

Local retailers are also cashing in on Black Friday mania.

At The Meadows in Lake Saint Louis, the following stores are opening at Midnight on Black Friday:

  • Aeropostale
  • Altar'd State
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Maurices
  • New York & Company
  • NIKE Factory Store
  • Old Navy
  • SOMA Intimates
  • Victoria's Secret
  • Yankee Candle

Also at The Meadows, if you bring a canned good to Old Navy at the midnight opening, you'll get a free cup of hot cocoa.

If you are a bargain shopper always wanting to hit the best possible deal, check out PC Magazine’s article about six things not to buy before Black Friday.

Now, let the games begin!

What’s your craziest experience during Black Friday? Why do you look forward to Black Friday? Do you have any Black Friday traditions? Share with us in the comment section below.

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