With the overall restaurant business being a bit frightening in 2016, a number of chains have decided to offer special Halloween deals or menu items to scare up some business.
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With industrywide traffic dropping at least 1.9% over each of the past five months, according to data from MillerPulse, as reported by Nation's Restaurant News, Halloween gives restaurants a chance to encourage sampling by lapsed customers while also attracting new ones. Whether that means offering something for free or rolling out a special treat just for the spooky holiday, eateries are getting creative with their offers,
Of course, Halloween alone won't turn around an industry which has struggled to bring people through its doors, but it can provide a bit of a jump-start. And with the holiday falling on a Monday. Halloween 2016 gives chains a chance to pump up sales on what is usually one of the slow days of the week.
Before you strap on your Dracula mask, put on your Pikachu costume, or attempt to be a sexy version of a not-so-sexy profession, it might be worth checking out one of these chains. These are not the only deals being offered this Halloween, but these are some of the best and/or most ridiculous.
Starbucks first introduced its Frappula Frappuccino in 2015. Image source: author.
Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) has been a leader in offering limited-time special drinks for holidays. This year, the coffee chain has brought back a Halloween-themed favorite it introduced last year, the Frappula Frappuccino.
The frozen beverage is "made with a layer of mocha sauceand a dollop of whipped cream on the bottom. White chocolate mocha sauce, milk and ice blended together are then layered on top, while a drizzle of strawberry puree oozes from the rim," the company explained in a press release. Finished with a layer of whipped cream, the Frappula was released Oct. 27 and will stay on Starbucks' menu until close of business on Halloween.
Wear a costume, get a doughnut
Starbucks rival Krispy Kreme, a company recently taken private by JAB Holdings, has a straightforward Halloween offer. Wear a costume and you will receive a free doughnut, including any of the company's special holiday lineup of doughnuts.
Scream for ice cream
Dunkin' Brands' (NASDAQ: DNKN) Baskin-Robbins is offering all regular and kid-sized ice cream scoops for $1.31 on Halloween only. In addition, the chain is selling a special "Silly Monster cake," which is an ice cream cake that looks like a less-than-scary monster. It also has a take on its ice cream pizza called Halloween Polar Pizza, which features a double fudge brownie crust, Snickers ice cream, candy corn, M&M's Minis, and a hot fudge drizzle.
The right kind of scare from Chipotle
After the year Chipotle (NYSE: CMG) has had, the chain might want to avoid doing anything the least bit scary. To celebrate the spooky holiday the company has brought back its "Boorito" promotion.This deal offers customers a $3 burrito, bowl, salad, or order of tacos if they come to any Chipotle location after 3 p.m. on Oct. 31.
A Halloween corn dog?
Nothing says Halloween like an inexpensive corn dog. That may not be true in any way, but it has not stoppedSonic(NASDAQ: SONC) from offering 50-cent corn dogs on Halloween. Using the tag line "Bring your monster cravings," the chain has made no attempt to explain why it's offering up corn dog deals on this particular holiday, but you have all day Oct. 31 to indulge in the corn-meal-coated treat.
Is it a shake or an ice cream?
Halloween marks the last day Wendy's (NASDAQ: WEN) offers a popular annual promotion where customers can get five Frosty coupons to give away (or keep for yourself). Through the end of Oct. 31 the chain is selling coupon books for $1 that contain five certificates entitling the holder to a Frosty Jr. The promotion, which has been running since Sept. 19, benefits the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
The best of the rest
In addition to the offers above, Halloween diners can also bring their children ages 12 and under to IHOP from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. for a free Scary Face Pancake. If pancakes aren't your thing, Sbarro will offer any customer in costume a free XL NY Pizza slice with any $5 purchase. If you would rather skip trick-or-treating and opt for a sit-down Halloween meal, Outback Steakhouse is offering 15% off your meal through its app or via a coupon offered on its website.
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Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned. He is not going out for Halloween, but plans to eat candy. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill and Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.