By Shannon Collins

It’s October. Pumpkins picked, costumes planned; witches’ brew waits to be spiked by college kids all around the country in preparation for Halloween. So it seems only logical that country artists would be releasing their Christmas albums in the next few weeks, right?

Well, that’s exactly what Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton, Scotty McCreery, and Steven Curtis Chapman all seem to think. These country artists have either released or are going to release Christmas-themed albums in this gloriously mistletoe-free month, for one reason or another.

While it may seem counterintuitive to release Christmas albums before the season officially starts, this strategy appears to be doing well for Shelton, if his number one position in the iTunes holiday store is any indication. In fact, only three of the current top 10 holiday albums have to do with Halloween at all. Presumably, market research shows that now is the time to start rockin’ around the Christmas tree.

McCreery’s Christmas with Scotty McCreery and Chapman’s JOY will drop on Oct. 16, with Lady Antebellum releasing On This Winter’s Night Oct. 22, the same day Taylor Swift releases her fourth studio album, Red. Shelton’s Cheers It’s Christmas came out Oct. 2.

It will be interesting to see how the charts play out for these artists in the next few weeks, as fans and the industry alike will be able to see who really holds the popularity. There are only so many Christmas songs artists can sing, and only so many ways to make a classic holiday tune sound country, so there’s even more of a competition among these artists than before.

Right now, Lady A is the favorite for the No. 1 spot, based on its previous chart success. The simple fact that its album is being released the same day as Swift’s indicates how much the label believes in the group. The next few weeks will decide how smart a decision that is.