Special Report

New Chain Restaurant Menu Items for Halloween and Beyond

In planning new product rollouts, restaurant chains often introduce food and drink items keyed to the season or to a specific holiday. In autumn, in addition to the inevitable spate of pumpkin spice everything, many chains bolster their menus with Halloween-themed specialties (like the Applebee’s Dracula’s Juice cocktail or Burger King’s ghost pepper chicken nuggets), or otherwise acknowledge the coming of chillier weather with hearty and/or spicy dishes of various kinds.

In order to compile an updated list of new offerings for the Halloween season and beyond, 24/7 Tempo reviewed several recent editions of the Menu Tracker column published regularly by Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN), a leading national restaurant trade publication. In it, NRN’s senior food and beverage editor, Bret Thorn, details new additions to menus at a wide range of chain operations around the U.S. — and recently, a number of Halloween- or fall-specific items have been featured. (Many of the operations on this list are among the most successful restaurant chains in America.)

Click here to see what’s new at your favorite chain restaurants this fall

The list covers recent menu additions from some 20 chains, with preference given to those that are best-known around the country. As usual, the new items encompass a wide variety of ingredients and flavors. Chicken, which is usually the most common protein on our lists, appears only twice this time, losing out to pork, with six entries (counting bacon, pepperoni, and the ingredients of a Cuban sub. 

One of these specialties, fans will be happy to hear, is the legendary and elusive McRib from McDonald’s, which seems to come and go more or less at random. (Here are some other fast food dishes we’d like to see back on the menu.) 

Stand by for Thanksgiving- and Christmas-themed additions to chain menus, sure to appear before long.