If you're a serious Black Friday shopper, you're going to want to add caffeine to your Thanksgiving menu.
There won't be much time to rest after filling your stomach with turkey and stuffing, because this year more and more stores throughout the Fox Valley are opening at midnight -- and even before in some spots -- in hopes of luring shoppers in to spend money on good deals.
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While it's forecasted to be a milder than usual Thanksgiving, you still will want to bundle up and come prepared with water, layers and maybe even an energy bar, as the lines and waits are expected to be long.
"We anticipate Black Friday to be a huge shopping day," said Beth Hicks, director of marketing for Inland Commercial Property, which manages Algonquin Commons.
For gung-ho shoppers, the Premium Outlets in Aurora will kick off the Black Friday shopping with many stores opening at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving. They'll have their Starbucks open, too, to help fuel your shopping quest as you stop in stores such as Michael Kors, Gap Outlet and Izod.
At 10 p.m., even more stores at the Aurora outlet mall will open, as will stores such as Aeropostale and Ann Taylor at the Premium Outlet Mall in Huntley.
Stores at both malls will continue opening until midnight, when the majority of stores will be ready for shoppers.
Midnight seems to be the magic hour for many stores with Black Friday specials in the Fox Valley.
You'll see most of the Target, Kohl's, Macy's and Toys 'R Us stores open at midnight, and the Wal-Marts, which will be open all night long.
At Spring Hill Mall, those big box retailers, along with Carson Pirie Scott, will open at midnight.
Geneva Commons, which in the past has seen most of its stores open at 8 a.m. on Black Friday, will see more and more early birds this year.
At midnight, you can start shopping at the Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, Claire's Express and Hollister Co. The next wave of stores will open at 5 a.m., with more stores in the mall open by 8 a.m.
"It seems like this year we have quite a few more that are opening early, so we will see what happens," said the mall's manager, Cathy Charhut. "I'm not sure what to expect."
While Algonquin Commons also will see a handful of stores open at midnight, Hicks said she expects shoppers to be lining up by at least 10 p.m. for the mall's annual tote bag giveaway.
Starting at 6 a.m., Algonquin Commons will be giving away 1,500 tote bags to customers ages 13 and older. They'll be filled with gift cards ranging from $10 to $500, coupons, random store prizes and more, Hicks said. Each tote bag is guaranteed to have at least a $10 gift card, she said.
Though some are expected to wait for the bags as early as 10 p.m., Hicks said she expects the biggest crowds to arrive by 3 or 4 a.m.
At midnight, shoppers will be filing in to Charlestowne Mall, which will welcome Black Friday devotees at that early hour. Anchor stores will be open at midnight, with others set to open at 5 and 6 a.m. Von Maur, however, won't open until 9 a.m.
If early bird shopping isn't for you, all of the malls and stores will remain open throughout the day on Friday, many with late hours until at least 10 p.m.
Geneva Commons will hold its family events later in the day Friday, Nov. 25.
Santa will arrive at the mall at 5:30 p.m., and he'll lead the lighting of the Christmas tree that evening.
"He'll stay to visit with the kids afterward," Charhut added.
Whether they'll be out late or hit the stores early, Black Friday shoppers are preparing for the annual shopping day.
"I've got my plan down and I'm ready to get my list of people done so I can enjoy the rest of Christmas," said Algonquin resident Anne Chalmers, who was out scouting some of the deals early this weekend.
"I hope I can get nearly everyone finished Friday morning and then just have some fun."