Starbucks ghosts on its Halloween drinks this year

Photo: Wachiwit (iStock

If you were looking forward to getting heart palpitations from an eerie caffeinated beverage this Halloween, we regret to inform you that you’re out of luck.

For the first time since 2014, Starbucks isn’t bringing a special Halloween-themed drink to U.S. locations this year. In the past, they’ve whipped up such festive drinks as the Franken Frappuccino, the Frappula Frappuccino, the Zombie Frappuccino, and the Witch’s Brew Frappuccino. (Okay, so to be more specific, they were all Frappuccinos.) Their 2019 drink, the Phantom Frappuccino, is available only in some locations in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

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This announcement appears to be part of Starbucks’ larger effort to cut down on hyper-fussy orders. Last month, the chain limited the number of drink modifications one can make on the Starbucks app, as baristas had become overwhelmed by drinks like the 20-20 (20 pumps of vanilla syrup, 20 pumps of hazelnut syrup). It’s pretty easy to imagine how orders for the Phantom Frappuccino—which is made with charcoal powder, coconut milk, mango, and a “ghoulish lime slime”—would slow things down behind the counter.

Plus, Starbucks basically invented mass-produced autumnal beverages. The words “pumpkin spice” have become intrinsically and forever associated with Starbucks. Why bother tap dancing for Halloween when they’ve got the PSL market on lock?

In a statement to USA Today, the Seattle-based coffee purveyor said, “There is no Halloween Frappuccino blended beverage in the U.S. this year, however customers looking to celebrate the season with a Frappuccino can enjoy Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino or Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino.” That’s corporate cordiality for, “Is our pumpkin spice empire not enough for you, you miserable ingrates?”

So, if you’re still looking for a scare this week, consider confronting the monster within you that demands a Halloween-themed foam drink.

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