Sandwiched between back-to-school shopping and the mad dash of the holiday season, the month of October can be a tricky time to find bargains. But even though the best October shopping deals aren't heavily advertised, they're still out there — if you know where to look.

The best items to purchase for your family in the month of October include:

Summer Clearance Items

Summer clearance sales started in September, but discounts hit rock bottom in October as retailers try to move seasonal inventory in preparation for Black Friday merchandise. Need a new grill, lawnmower, or set of patio furniture? Watch Columbus Day sales for the best deals.

Summer Sporting Goods

Summer sporting goods — think tennis rackets and baseball gloves — are also on clearance in October. If you know which sports your children will be playing next summer, purchase the equipment they'll need now, before prices go back up at the start of the new season.

Jeans

Prices on jeans will typically be better after Thanksgiving, but if your children need jeans now, October is not a bad time to buy. Retailers who stocked up on jeans for the back-to-school season still need to move their excess inventory, and this translates into deals for consumers.

Halloween Costumes and Decorations

The best deals on Halloween items won't start until November 1, but you can still save if you're willing to wait until the last week of October to make your haunted holiday purchases. For additional savings, check out FatWallet's Halloween Deals from October 24-31.

Hot Holiday Toys

Many of the Christmas season's hottest toys hit the shelves in October — in fact, Toys R Us has already released its 2012 Holiday Hot Toy List! Early Christmas shopping may not save you money, but it will save you a massive headache, since you'll beat the crowds and get your hands on the most popular gifts before they're sold out.

For more October savings, be sure to visit Centsible Life's Best Time To Buy column and the Best Deals Today feature at Wise Bread. And if you'll actually be starting your Christmas shopping this month, let us know in the comments!