Best October deals: Your guide to this month's spooky specials and freebies thumbnail

Best October deals: Your guide to this month’s spooky specials and freebies

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Americans will spend a frightening amount of money.

An October 2018 calendar standing on a surface.
(Photo: Getty Images)

October is about more than ghosts, goblins and candy.
It’s also about pizza, pasta, dessert, cookies and more.
It’s National Pizza Month, National Pasta Month, National Cookie Month along with National Financial Planning Month.
The two biggest days of the month are National Taco Day on Thursday, Oct. 4 and Halloween.
Sweet savings are expected Oct. 14, which is National Dessert Day, and Oct. 17 is another carb day with National Pasta Day. 
Bookmark this page because it’ll be updated frequently with additional deals.
Here are the best deals, big days and ongoing specials, available at participating locations. To be on the safe side, check with your closest location before heading out.
More: It’s National Pizza Month, and yes, pizza is still our favorite food
More: First free burgers, now free salads. Wendy’s has a new freebie through Oct. 7
More: Applebee’s is selling a $1 zombie drink with a gummy brain


Pizza, fondue, grilled cheese sandwiches, who could live without these treats? Well, if you’ve been depriving yourself from some cheesy goodness in order to feel healthy, listen up! Buzz60’s Susana Victoria Perez has more.

National Pizza Month deals
Pizza is one of the most popular dishes and there have been a lot of recent celebrations including National Pepperoni Pizza Day and National Cheese Pizza Day, both in September. Now it’s a month-long pizza party, and here are a few specials:
California Pizza Kitchen: Members of its CPK Rewards loyalty program can log onto the restaurant’s website at on Wednesday starting at 9 a.m. PT to get one of 1,000 free Cauliflower Crust pizzas being given away.
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: Every Monday in October, participating locations will have a 16-inch Traditional Cheese Pizza for $10. Not valid in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.

Hungry Howie’s: Through Oct. 30, buy a large one-topping pizza at regular price and get a medium one-topping pizza with promo code LHP18. The special is to mark Hungry Howie’s Love, Hope & Pizza promotion to benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation and is not valid in Florida.
Papa John’s: Through Oct. 28, get an extra-large two-topping pizza for $10 with promo code XLPIZZA.

Pizza Hut: The chain has expanded its Hut Rewards loyalty program and now is awarding two points for every dollar spent on purchases made in-store and online. Points can also be redeemed on more items including bread sticks.
The new official pizza sponsor of the NFL, Pizza Hut also has weekly deals for National Pizza Month including its limited-time, online-only large two-topping pizza deal for $7.99: 

Through Sunday: 35 percent off menu-priced items with code 35OFFPIZZAMONTH.

Oct. 8-14: Free breadsticks with medium or large menu-priced pizza and code BREADSTICKS2018.

Oct. 15-21: Free dessert or side with a large menu-priced pizza and code DESSERTSOCT.

Oct. 22-28: 20 percent off menu-priced items with code 20OFFPIZZAMONTH.

More: Pizza deals! How to save some dough everyday
Sbarro: Enter the chain’s contest for a chance to win free pizza for a year. Ten will win. 
More deals: Check social media accounts for additional deal announcements.

Haven’t you heard? This month is all about ME and I’m celebrating #NationalPizzaMonth by giving YOU FREE PIZZA for a YEAR. Visit and enter to win… like NOW. Rules & restrictions apply, see rules for details.— Sbarro (@Sbarro) October 1, 2018

Oct. 4: National Taco Day
Thursday is the big day for tacos this week. Here are the restaurants throwing a fiesta.
Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant: Through Oct. 29, the chain is promoting a taco Family Feast. Choose from a taco pack to-go for six people for $21.99 or $41.99 for 12 people.
Bill Miller Bar-B-Q: Get bean and cheese tacos for 65 cents each Thursday.
Bubbakoo’s Burritos: The New Jersey chain has $1 tacos Thursday, limit five per person.
California Tortilla: Buy one taco, get one free Thursday. The Blackened Fish, California Sunset, Korean BBQ and Crunchy BBQ Ranch street tacos are included in this deal and there’s a limit of five free tacos per person.
Chronic Tacos: Get a free taco between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday with a code word, which according to a tweet is “Taco Life.”
Chuy’s: Add a crispy beef taco to any order for $1 Thursday and get $1 off Modelo beers. If you visit the restaurant dressed up as a taco and post a picture on social media with #NationalTacoDay, get a free meal.

Cold Stone is celebrating National Taco Day on October 4th with Waffle Tacos! Don’t miss your chance to try one, they will be available to purchase for one day only!— Cold Stone Creamery (@ColdStone) October 2, 2018

Cold Stone Creamery: While not a deal, only on Thursday, Cold Stone will sell Waffle Tacos. 
Del Taco: Buy one shredded beef taco, get one free Thursday with a coupon at
El Pollo Loco: Get a free Chicken Taco al Carbon at participating locations Thursday and enter for a chance to win a limited-edition taco shirt that unlocks free tacos for an entire year. Find the coupon and enter at
El Fenix: Get $1 beef or chicken soft or crunchy tacos Thursday. Limit three per guest.
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop: Get $1 tacos all-day Thursday. Some exclusions apply.
Moe’s Southwest Grill: From Thursday to Sunday, members of Moe’s Rockin’ Rewards loyalty program, will get one free taco when they purchase two. Download the Moe’s app at
On The Border: For $8.99, get unlimited tacos Thursday. Mix and match between the chain’s Seasoned Ground Beef or Chicken Tinga tacos. Through Sunday, get 15 percent off Taco Buffets catering orders $200 or more with promo code TACO18.


America might run on Dunkin but what’s America’s best Mexican restaurant? If you think it’s Chipotle or Moe’s Southwest, you’re wrong on both! Buzz60’s Mercer Morrison has the story.

Qdoba: Members of the Qdoba Rewards program get double or triple points depending on what tier of the program they are on. The deal is available online, mobile and in-restaurant orders, but does not apply to catering orders. Sign up at
Red Robin: For a limited time, get the Taco Tavern Double served with Bottomless Steak Fries for $6.99.
Rubio’s Coastal Grill: Get a free Original Fish Taco with purchase of a beverage and a coupon Thursday at participating locations. Find the coupon at
Taco Bell: At participating locations Thursday, the chain has a special “National Taco Day gift set.” For $5, get four tacos including the Crunchy Taco, Fiery, Cool Ranch and Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos.
Taco Bueno: Get a free Texas Street Taco with any purchase Thursday. 
Taco Cabana: Get a free Shredded Chicken Taco or Ground Beef Taco from 3 p.m. to midnight Thursday with a coupon on the chain’s Facebook and Instagram pages. One per guest, per visit and per transaction at participating locations.

Taco John’s: Through Friday, the chain that trademarked the terms “Taco Tuesday” and “Wake Up Wednesday,” is giving away free crispy beef tacos. To get the freebie each day, you need a coupon only available in the Taco John’s Rewards app. Download the app at
Tijuana Flats: Choose a deal Thursday. Get two tacos, chips and a drink for $5.99 or a burrito or bowl with chips and a drink for the same price. Prices may vary by state.
Torchy’s Tacos: Dine in Thursday for a chance to win a gift card. Five guests at each location Thursday will have a gold paper lined basket, which they can redeem for a gift card.
More deals: Check social media accounts for additional deal announcements.

Oct. 6: Noodle Day
Noodles & Company is celebrating National Noodle Day on Saturday by giving away a free small bowl of Wisconsin Mac & Cheese with the purchase of a regular entrée to members of the NoodlesREWARDS program. New members need to sign up by Friday to get this deal. Join the program at
Oct. 8-9: Texas de Brazil’s 20th anniversary
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the chain will have original 1998 or throwback pricing for the two days. 
Texas de Brazil’s full, rodizio-style dinner menu will be $28.50 for adults, $14.25 for children 6-12, $5 for ages 3 to 5 and under 3 will dine free. Dinner is from 4 to 10 p.m. Find locations at
Oct. 9: Free Pizookie Day
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse has dubbed Oct. 9 as Free Pizookie Day to celebrate its dessert. On Oct. 9 get this treat for free with a minimum $9.95 food purchase.
Then from Oct. 10 through Halloween, the dessert will be $3 each, which is more than half off the regular price. For this offer, no minimum purchase is required.
New members of the chain’s rewards program also get a coupon for a free Pizookie for signing up 
Oct. 12: World Egg Day
White Castle: Get one free breakfast slider with any purchase Oct. 12 with a coupon available at
Oct. 14: National Dessert Day
More sweet savings are expected. 
Quiznos: Buy an eight or 12-inch sub and get a free dessert Oct. 14.


Want to make a Halloween-themed food — or just get rid of that leftover Halloween candy? Make this., USA TODAY

Oct. 17: Quiznos’ Gyro deal
Quiznos: Participating Quiznos will have $1 Gyro flatbreads. New and current members of Quiznos’ Toasty Points loyalty program can get a $1 Gyro flatbread Oct. 10-16 with the app. Download the app at
Oct. 31: Halloween
Last year, Halloween brought a long list of deals and freebies, some which required dressing in costume.
Captain D’s: This Halloween deal starts Oct. 26 and runs through Nov. 6. With the purchase of an adult meal and a coupon that will be posted on social media, get a kids meal for $1.99.
Mimi’s Cafe: Kids eat free on Halloween with the purchase of an adult entrée.
Quiznos: Get free classic tots with purchase of an 8-inch sub on Halloween.
Sizzler: The Halloween festivities last a week at the chain. From Oct. 24 to Halloween, kids dressed in their Halloween costume get a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée and beverage purchase. One free kid’s meal per adult entrée and beverage purchase. 

A promotion for Applebee’s Dollar Zombie drink. (Photo: Applebee’s)

Ongoing specials
Applebee’s: The October Neighborhood Drink of the Month is the Dollar Zombie, an electric-blue-colored drink topped with a gummy brain for $1.
Baskin-Robbins: Small Cappuccino Blasts are $2.99 in September and October.
Carvel: Through Oct. 31, save $2 off a 48-ounce or larger cake or $3 off any sheet cake with a printable coupon.
Chili’s: The Great Pumpkin is the $5 margarita of the month. The chain said it’s made with Monin Pumpkin Spice Syrup, Lunazul Silver Tequila, Triple Sec and a splash of Captain Morgan.
Dairy Queen: For a limited time, download the Dairy Queen app and register for an account and get a free small Blizzard treat at participating locations. Limit one offer per person per visit. Not valid in Texas. There also are weekly exclusives through the app.
Jack in the Box: Through Dec. 10, get two croissants for $4 when you sign up for a coupon at
Mrs. Fields: For National Cookie Month, get 15 percent off online orders through Oct. 31 with promo code COOKIE.
Olive Garden: The Never Ending Pasta Bowl promotion runs through Nov. 18. The pasta bowl starts at $10.99. During the eight-week deal, 23,000 people will be whipping out a Never Ending Pasta Pass and eating all-they-can-eat and another 1,000 people bought annual passes. The passes sold out in less than a second.
Panda Express: Through Oct. 31, get $3 off any online order $5 or more with the code “HONEYISBACK.”
Red Lobster: The Endless Shrimp promotion is back for a limited time.
Waffle House: Through Oct. 13, get a free regular or large coffee with a printable coupon found at The coupon states it can be “redeemed only once by the original recipient” at participating locations. 
Wendy’s: Through Oct. 7, get a free half-size Harvest Chicken Salad with the Wendy’s app and a purchase. One offer per customer per day. Registration in app is required.
Wingstop: Through Nov. 20, Wingstop has a “Big Night In Boneless Bundle” promotion. For $15.99, get 25 boneless wings in three flavors with three dips at participating locations nationwide.
White Castle: Through Oct. 31, the Columbus-based fast-food chain has $3 Bacon Threesomes, which include three options of bacon-loaded sliders.
Kelly Tyko is a consumer columnist and retail reporter for Treasure Coast Newspapers and, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK. Read her Bargainista tips at, follow her on Twitter @KellyTyko and email her at [email protected] Sign up for her weekly newsletter at 

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