Dunkin’ Is Scaring Mouths With a Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut in Time for Halloween

The chain is capitalizing on customers' hankering for all things spicy

Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut
The Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut will only be available for a limited time. Dunkin'
Headshot of Richard Collings

Just in time for Halloween, Dunkin today unveiled its new Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut, capitalizing on a savory trend typically associated with more savory fare like chicken nuggets, sandwiches and tacos.

It’s the latest menu entrant in the spice wars heating up between the major fast food and coffee chains. Most recently, McDonald’s followed Wendy’s lead in introducing Spicy Chicken Nuggets to tap into the growing popularity of spicy foods.

“Halloween looks a little different this year, and so do our donuts. While our classic bakery offering has plenty of crave-worthy treats, we’re excited to show our spicy side with a donut that packs a touch of heat with something sweet and can be enjoyed any time of day,” said Jill Nelson, vp of marketing strategy, in a statement. 

The coffee, donut and sandwich chain said the donut “delivers heat with every bite.” It’s a classic yeast donut ring topped with strawberry-flavored icing that holds a blend of cayenne and ghost peppers, decorated with red sanding sugar.

The new menu offering will only be available for a limited time, until December, at participating Dunkin’ locations nationwide.

Helping to introduce the Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut is Sean Evans, host of Complex Networks’ First We Feast series Hot Ones, who will try the item in a special episode airing Oct. 19.

Dunkin’ is promoting the donut on Twitter with the hashtag #SpicySide. In fact, fans are encouraged to get their friends to try the new treat and post images of their reactions on social media using the #DunkinSpicySide hashtag.

The chain’s Spider Donut, a concoction of orange icing on a donut ring with chocolate drizzle and a glazed chocolate Munchkins donut hole, will also be making a reappearance this year.

In addition, Dunkin’ is letting customers “Boo It Yourself” by offering DIY donut decorating kits for Halloween that feature the chain’s old fashioned cake donuts, prepackaged icing in orange, white and black colors, plus three sprinkle blends.

“With our scary-good lineup of the Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut, Halloween DIY Dunkin’ Donut Decorating Kits and fan-favorite Spider Donut, Dunkin’ is here to help our guests keep their Halloween spirit alive this season,” Nelson said.

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@RichCollings richard.collings@adweek.com Richard Collings is a retail reporter at Adweek.