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Restaurants ready for Halloween

Operators get into the spirit with spooky dishes and promos

Since Halloween won't fall on a weekend again for years, many restaurants are brewing enticing treats and tricky promotions to lure folks out of their homes. Here’s a list of Halloween-focused celebrations and menus, from the creepy to the crawly.

Scary confections for sale
The Cupcakery is offering “Super Gross” cupcakes at its four locations – two in Las Vegas, one in Dallas and another in Frisco, Texas. The Halloween desserts sell for $45 a dozen and include a Burning Man version and others with eyeball garnishes.

Day of the dead menu features blood, hearts and bones
Chef Lucio Palazzo will be cooking up a five-course Mexican inspired meal on Nov. 2 for $45 at Xochitl in Philadelphia. The proposed Day of the Dead menu includes blood sausage with beets, fennel and walnut-tequila vinaigrette, followed by beef heart tacos with foraged mushrooms, fried bone marrow and pickled nopales, or cactus.

Pumpkin pizza is back
The Vancouver, Wash.,-based Papa Murphy’s Jack-O-Lantern Pizza returned to the 1,150-unit chain due to popular demand, said spokeswoman Lindsi Miller, who quoted Facebook fans in a press release. Participating locations of the take-and-bake pizza chain will offer the seasonal pizza with a pepperoni smile and black olive eyes for $6.99.

New twist on Chipotle giveaway for costumed customers

To highlight “unprocessed” ingredients, the Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill chain will offer $2 “Booritos” to customers dressed like “horrifying processed food” after 6 p.m. on Oct. 31 at more than 1,000 participating locations. In the past, Chipotle  had awarded free burritos to anyone dressed like any of the chain's foods.

"We have a long-standing tradition of rewarding our customers who dress up as their favorite Chipotle menu item with a free burrito on Halloween," said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-chief executive of Chipotle. "It's always been a fun promotion, but we wanted to do more with it this year and use the opportunity to reinforce with our customers our belief in the importance of eating wholesome, unprocessed foods."

Chipotle is also hosting an online photo costume contest with a $2,500 grand prize and five $1,000 runner-up awards. Proceeds from the chain’s “Horrors of Processed Food” program are targeted to benefit Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Click here for a video of Oliver and Steve Ells dressed in their own Halloween garb.

Ghost cupcake promotion unveiled
Luby’s rolled out Halloween-theme cupcakes at its 96 units in Texas. The “Fa-boo-licious” cupcakes resemble ghosts at the Houston-based chain that’s selling six of the cupcakes for $3.99 now through Oct 31.

Bloody Halloween weekend brunch
Boxwood Café at The London in West Hollywood, Calif., has developed a Halloween-theme brunch menu with “bloody steak and eggs, monster hash with duck and deviled eggs with smoked salmon.” The menu will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 30-31. Boxwood’s holiday brunch dishes are priced between $13 and $18.

Halloween parties for gods and goddesses
On Oct. 30, Kellari Taverna in New York plans to serve a Greek feast for $49.95, with “unlimited wine compliments of Dionysus the Greek God of Wine.” According to the restaurant’s promotional material, the four-course meal will allow guests to “dine like gods and goddesses this Halloween featuring divine offerings from the Mediterranean.” A live band and dancing is promised. The restaurant’s sister outlet, Kellari Bistro, which also in Manhattan, will throw a similar party with a $49.95 menu and D.J. the following evening, Halloween night.

Surprising cocktails stirring

Also in New York, bartender Jose Torrella mixed up two “Shocktails” at the Intercontinental New York Barclay Bar & Grill. The ICU, a $12 beverage, includes espresso vodka, Grand Marnier, blood orange puree, an orange slice and floating gummy eyeballs. For the same price, a Bloody City cocktail features vanilla cognac, ginger liqueur, orange vodka, cranberry juice, almond liqueur, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, orange peel and a toy spider garnish.

Philadelphians throw Hogwarts bash and fundraiser
Getting a jump on the holiday, Angel Studios in Philadelphia scheduled a Hogwarts Halloween party on Friday, featuring Three Broomsticks Butter Beer, witch’s wine and finger food. A $25 cover charge includes unlimited food and drink, according to the event’s Facebook page.

Besides a lineup of bands, Angel Studios’ costume party features a “bewitching date auction.” The evening’s profits benefit a Dominican Republic homebuilding charity fund.

Contact Pamela Parseghian at [email protected].

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