Over 179 million Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, up about 5% from 171 million last year, according to a recent National Retail Foundation report. As the holiday creeps closer, restaurants are launching special promotions to scare up brand awareness—and sales. Here are a handful.
1. Creeping it digital
Dunkin’ Donuts is hosting a Halloween costume contest on Instagram for the chance to be featured on the chain’s Times Square billboard in New York City. Fans enter the contest by posting a picture of their costume with the hashtag #DDHalloweenContest. The multiple winners also receive $2,500 and a year’s worth of coffee.
2. Finger-lickin' gourd
KFC is releasing Colonel Sanders costumes and trick-or-treating buckets for its celebration of Halloween. The $5 costumes, available via the chain’s online retail site, include a Colonel Sanders mask and a vinyl bow-tied bib. The buckets come in various designs, featuring the Colonel dressed as a mummy, vampire, cat, werewolf, robot, firefighter or astronaut.
3. Costume craze
Taco Bell has created the All Tacos’ Eve Costume Contest to boost fanfare. To enter, participants post their DIY, taco-themed costumes on social media using the hashtag #AllTacosEveContest. Winners get a $500 gift card, $1,000, and a trip for two to Taco Bell’s headquarters to produce a costume for next year’s Halloween. In addition to the contest, the chain has released instructions on how to create a Baha Blast Freeze costume. The chain’s promo runs through Nov. 1.
4. DIY treats
Chick-fil-A is helping guests make creative party snacks for their Halloween events at home. The chain’s website offers instructions to create Chocolate Chunk Vampire Teeth, which dress up the QSR’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies with mini marshmallows and icing, and Candy Corn Lemonade—a combination of its fresh-squeezed lemonade with clementine oranges, ice, whipped cream and candy corn. Lastly, Fruit-Ka-Boos—a pumpkin with fruit skewers stemming from the top—turns one of the chain's fruit trays into spiked hair on a jack-o-lantern.
5. "Seinfeld, four?"
The Vanguard in Milwaukee is transforming itself into a "Seinfeld" tribute for Halloween. Starting at 7 p.m., the independent restaurant will offer a new food and drink menu inspired by the sitcom, which will be kept secret until the 31st, Vanguard Co-owner Chris Schulisttold the Milwaukee Record.Patrons are encouraged to dress in a "Seinfeld"-themed costume, and whoever is deemed to have the best one will win a gift certificate to the eatery.