While Thanksgiving is often called A classic American food holiday, Halloween is just as strongly associated with treats – and is also a prime food marketing opportunity.
For fast-food chains in particular, this can be a way to experiment with “scary” foods that wouldn’t fly at any other time of year.
Earlier this month, Restaurant Brands International (RSQ) by Burger King launched a Seasonal Ghost Pepper Whopper – a flame-grilled beef patty with spicy queso, crispy jalapeños, bacon, and ghost pepper cheese on a bright orange poppyseed bun.
This year includes the Spooky Spider Donut with spiderweb-like frosting and the Scaredy Cat Donut dipped in purple frosting and with a piece of black cat chocolate.
Pokemon and Secret Halloween Heat
Known for their innovations, Asian branches of popular fast food chains are a good place to look for overdone seasonal menus.
This year, Domino’s in Japan announced a Halloween Double Roulette Promo in which customers order a pizza of their choice and ask a worker to randomly add a super spicy jolokia sauce to two of his slices.
Popular in many Asian countries, jolokia is a type of ghost pepper three times hotter than habanero – so an unassuming pizza eater is in for a hot surprise.
As Eat Brand Also reported, Domino’s in South Korea launched a Pokémon Poké Ball pizza for Halloween – the iconic Pokémon catcher is created from a standard pizza topped with pepperoni and ricotta cheese and cottage cheese sauce.
Some cherry tomatoes are also used to spread the red atop the Poké Ball while bulgogi (thin slices of South Korean marinated beef) are used to emphasize its opening and button. The pizza sells for 19,900 South Korean won (about $14).
Halloween and international fast food companies
“While olives could have been an option for the black outlines in the center, bulgogi was used instead,” Japanese news site SoraNews24 said. written by one of their reporters testing the Pokémon Poké Ball Pizza. “It was actually a smart idea, as it made everything about the pizza suitable for a wide variety of tastes, including those of children, who would probably cheer happily at the sight of this edible Poké Ball.”
Since bulgogi is particularly suited to local taste buds, the Asian branches of popular fast food chains are often more experimental than in their home countries.
Many seasonal items, such as the Tsukimi burger that McDonald’s Japan brings back each year for the country’s annual moon-viewing festival, would not sell well in the United States due to different palates and lack of cultural associations.
McDonald’s Thailand Chilli Paste Pork Ice Cream has also gone viral on the internet due to what to most Westerners are completely incompatible flavor profiles.
For local channels, Halloween is one of the biggest opportunities to try out other channels under the guise of “spooky”. Another example this year is Baskin-Robbins Spicy and scary October Flavor of the Month ice cream – a mix of white chocolate and dark chocolate ice cream with spiced blood orange flakes and ghost chili mixed in for good measure.