I pride myself on being on top of the many nutty Halloween food promotions, but every now and again, I’m thrown a delicious curveball.
Earlier today, someone from Twitter informed me that there was a special Goosebumps Shake, and I’ll repeat that in all caps, GOOSEBUMPS SHAKE, at participating Johnny Rockets restaurants. (…to promote the upcoming movie, which looks phenomenal.)
I absolutely flew there, propelled as if by supernatural means. Three red light cameras are now spreading photos of my junky car.
The nearest Johnny Rockets was over in Jersey, which, considering bridge tolls, raised the price of my shake from $5.99 to $17.74. Wonderful!
Until today, I’d actually never been inside a Johnny Rockets restaurant. Too much movement and too many bright lights. To me it seemed like the savage marriage of a discotheque and a dentist’s office. No amount of hamburgers could make me put up with that, but the promise of an official GOOSEBUMPS SHAKE did the trick.
Oh, thank God. They were advertising it. They really had it.
I made my girlfriend come with me, believing that her presence would somehow make the sight of me photographing milkshakes seem less weird. Basically, she’d be the difference between “look at this guy” and “can you please call somebody about this guy.” I live on the line, but I won’t cross it.
We decided to have lunch there, due to the same psychoses mentioned in the prior paragraph. “They’ll pay less attention to me if I order a full meal. They won’t see me take 40 pictures of the GOOSEBUMPS SHAKE. Also, the burgers look good.”
Soon enough, our orders arrived. Accepting my cheeseburger, fries and enormous milkshake, I wondered if our waiter might ask me to sign a waiver, first.
Side note: I’ve never seen greener lettuce or redder tomatoes. Everything looked like Fisher-Price play food. That’s not a complaint.
I guess I gotta admit that the GOOSEBUMPS SHAKE looked not nearly as cool as advertised. It wasn’t missing the promised gummy worms, but they were simply thrown into the soup. I expected a delicate array of Christmas-colored worm candies, rimming the glass like mutant margarita salt. I bet it all on that.
Whatever. It still tasted great. Ridiculously great. Like Nesquik mixed with an egg cream mixed with one of those Mickey-shaped popsicles from Disney World. And that’s coming from me — the guy who never stops telling you how much he hates milk.
Here’s the key thing, though. Making the most out of the Halloween season takes a little work. Bullshit work, but work all the same. You can’t just stand in place and then complain that you’re not “getting enough out of it.”
When there’s something Halloweeny to be done, go and do it. These small moments — moments as simple as driving to a shopping mall to find a milkshake — are the threads that form Halloween’s fabric.
I left Johnny Rockets full of Halloween spirit. And also literally full.
Lo and behold, there was a Halloween store just a few doors down. We went in, tried on some $50 Michael Myers masks, and walked out. And so came a second thread.
This was a good day.
Such a good day.