Even before the calendar flips over into October, restaurants and bars are getting into the Halloween spirit with holiday-themed menu items. This year, cocktails are taking the spookiest turn, with black-tinted mixers and eyeball garnishes. Meanwhile, creepy, crawly things have joined the breakfast menu, and desserts are getting sweetened with trick-or-treat candies. Here’s how operators are celebrating Halloween 2019.
1. Haunting the breakfast menu
To coincide with the opening of “The Addams Family” movie on Oct. 11, IHOP launched five character-themed menu items, several of which feature Hershey products. Included in the lineup are Wednesday’s Web-Cakes (buttermilk pancakes topped with icing and a webbed design formed with chocolate syrup), Morticia’s Haunted Hot Chocolate (toasted marshmallow cocoa crowned with violet whipped topping and chocolate syrup), Gomez Green Chile Omelette and Uncle Fester’s Chocolate Ice Scream Shake. The promotion runs through Nov. 3.
2. Boos join booze at the bar
Kimpton Hotel’s bartenders in several cities have mixed up some Halloween cocktails with frighteningly authentic special touches. Medusa’s Eye, created by Christopher Stephenson of The Vault in Salt Lake City, is a green-hued gin drink garnished with carbonated powder which, when sipped,forms a foam sensation in the mouth similar to Pop Rocks, he says. The finishing touch: a cherry enrobed with slivered orange peel to look like an eyeball. The La Calaca Sour, a spooky spin on a margarita dreamed up by Mirek Struniaksi of Stratus in Philadelphia, features red wine that drips down the sides of the glass to replicate dripping blood. Also on offer are the Bone Shaker at Outlier in Seattle and Witch’s Brew at Fisk & Co. in Chicago.
3. Ice cream moves to the dark side
Black is the color of Boo Batter Ice Cream at Cold Stone Creamery. The chain took its Cake Batter Ice Cream into the dark for the month of October, but it’s more than the color that gives this LTO a Halloween vibe. The black ice cream is mixed with pieces of trick-or-treat candy, including Kit Kat bars and M&Ms. For a more spirited experience, customers can opt for a black or orange waffle cone or bowl to hold their scoops of Boo Batter.
4. Here’s looking at you
Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is offering up several Halloween cocktails, and perhaps the scariest is the Jekyll & Hyde. The sweet-sour blend of vodka, cranberry, pineapple and pomegranate juice results in an eerie shade of purple. But what takes this drink over the edge is the garnish of cherries that look exactly like eyeballs. Tamer cocktails are also on the list, such as Wicked, a potent green drink resembling an appletini, and the Great Pumpkin, a riff on a Moscow mule with an orange tint.
5. Black magic
Activated charcoal is the secret ingredient that is turning cocktails black at Reviver, the new cocktail bar at the Chicago Marriot Downtown Magnificent Mile. For one night only—Oct. 31—all cocktails will be served black, including A Modern Vieux, made with barrel-aged rye whiskey, apple brandy, bitters and that Chicago original, Jeppson’s Malort. Also turning black for one night only are some of Reviver’s signatures, such as O’Leary’s Lantern, a rye and Irish whiskey cocktail, and The Boss’ Blue Devil, made with gin and absinthe.
6. Dress up like a marketing logo
Those still in search of a Halloween costume may want to consider dressing like a Dunkin’ Runner. The costume was inspired by the chain’s slogan, “America Runs on Dunkin’” and comes in the brand’s iconic pink color. But the only way fans can score the limited-edition suit is by entering for the chance to win on Dunkin’s Instagram feed. Those who miss out can still purchase a Spider Donut, returning to Dunkin’s menu this October. The treat is frosted with orange icing and topped with a donut hole drizzled with chocolate to resemble a spider.