So, tomorrow’s the big day. Kids everywhere are going to be on the prowl for goodies and that sugar rush that makes parents cringe. Nothing is better than going door to door as a child reciting the infamous,”Trick or Treat!” But, maybe this year you’d like to do something a little different with your children. Many restaurants and retailers offer free “treats” for our miniature superheroes and monsters.
“A growing parade of restaurant chains – from Olive Garden to IHop to Krispy Kreme – will offer free eats around Halloween in order to lure traffic during a seriously slow time.
Halloween evening is a time when most families eat at home. While Halloween is one of the pizza delivery industry’s biggest days of the year, it’s an evening when many casual dining restaurants are scraping for business.
“Restaurants are like ghost towns on Halloween,” says Derek Farley, a restaurant industry PR guru. Much like Labor Day and July 4th, Halloween is a holiday that’s not very restaurant-friendly, he says.
So, what’s a savvy restaurant to do? Entice families by giving away the kids grub, of course. Although the specific dates, times and rules vary — so it’s best to check restaurant websites for details — here’s some of 2013’s Halloween lures:
- Free kids meal with coupon. Three of Darden’s most familiar chains, Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, all offer free kids meals for much of Halloween week. All require the purchase of an adult entree for each free kids meal. And all require sign-up — and a coupon — from the chain’s website or Facebook page.
“Halloween isn’t a day you’re going to see a lot of kids in restaurants—they’re trick or treating,” notes Jay Spenchian, executive vice president of marketing at Olive Garden. “We see this as an opportunity to help drive additional traffic into the restaurant on an historically slow day.”
Last year, 6,000 families came to Olive Garden with kids in costume. While still encouraging costumes, the chain dropped that requirement for the freebie this year.
- Free kids pancake. On Halloween, kids age 12 and under get a free Halloween “Scary Face” Pancake at IHOP. The pancake, with a whipped-cream smile dotted with candy corn, is one of IHOP’s “most requested holiday promotions,” says Natalia Franco, vice president of marketing.
Here’s some more!
- Free Kid’s Meal at Bob Evans from 4 p.m. to close kids 12 and under eat free with the purchase of an adult entree on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
- Free Kid’s Meal at Boston Market. Bring in this coupon and get a free kid’s meal with the purchase of any individual meal. Coupon expires Oct. 31, 2013.
- Free Kid’s Meal at Longhorn Steakhouse: Get one free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entree on Oct.31, 2013, when you bring in this coupon. To receive the coupon, “Like” Longhorn Steakhouse on Facebook and click “Get Offer.” You will be e-mailed your coupon, which you can either show on a mobile device or printed on a piece of paper.
- Wendy’s: Buy a Jr. Frosty Halloween book for $1 and support the Dave Thomas Foundation. The book has coupons for free Jr. Frostys and 90 percent of the book sales go to the Foundation.
Looking for some other great Halloween deals? Check out this website: Free Halloween Stuff 2013.
Have a blast with your children tomorrow and remember to keep them safe!
Make Sure Your Doorway Is Safe for Trick-or-Treaters
“We in the risk-control department are all about keeping people safe, whether it’s from wires or preventing slips, trips and or falls,” Gustin said. “Make sure that driveways and walkways are cleaned up and well maintained. Also lighting at transitions between the driveway and the walkway can prevent a potentially dangerous situation where someone could slip.”
Pay Close Attention When Driving
More than twice as many children are killed in pedestrian-car accidents on Halloween between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., compared with the same hours on other days throughout the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Eliminate any distractions you might have and keep your eye on the road for any Halloween activity and trick-or-treaters, Travelers advises.
Be a Safe Pedestrian
Like drivers, it’s important to stay alert and pay attention when walking from house to house with trick-or-treaters, Travelers recommends. “We want to stress to folks as they or their children are out walking on Halloween that they need to pay attention, have a flashlight and have reflective clothing,” Gustin said. “If people don’t have their lights on, don’t approach those homes because it has the potential to be a more dangerous situation.”