Before there was Black Friday, there was Moonlight Madness.

It’s a night when the stores in Philadelphia put items on sale and stay open until 9 p.m. Moonlight Madness will be this Thursday night and there should be plenty of good deals.

“When I opened in 1983, they were having Moonlight Madness the day after Thanksgiving,” Steve Wilkerson of Steve’s On The Square said. “It actually started sometime in the 1970s. At first, they called it Midnight Madness, but I think they changed that after a year or two.”

The day for Moonlight Madness changed with the start of Black Friday. For a while, it was held on another date in November but then shifted to December.

“This is three weeks until Christmas,” Wilkerson said. “We had three special nights in November with Moonlight Madness, Open House and Black Friday so a few years ago we decided to spread it out.

“It is popular. People are doing last-minute shopping and some are just getting started. They are looking for bargains. It has always been a big event,” Wilkerson said.

Tammy Lee said that Moonlight Madness brings a variety of customers.

“We have regular customers come in, and others we don’t see that often,” Lee said. “We get people who are from out of town, looking for bargains.”

Most stores that participate close at 4 p.m. do their markdowns and reopen at 6 p.m. Lee said the Clothesline will open at 4 p.m. Thursday and stay open until 9 p.m.

“That works best for us,” Lee said.