The burger chain is giving out free Whoppers to clown-costumed customers at select locations on Halloween.
burger king halloween
Credit: Courtesy of Burger King

The argument could be made that Burger King has always lived in fear of a clown. The flame-grilled hamburger joint has spent its entire existence playing second fiddle to Ronald McDonald and company. But with this year’s blockbuster success of Stephen King’s horror classic It, Burger King has seen an opportunity to capitalize on the public’s fascination with scary clowns. In an attempt to co-opt its competitor’s mascot as something to be afraid of, this Halloween, Burger King is giving out free Whoppers to hundreds of customers in clown costumes.

Dubbed “Scary Clown Night,” the promotion will provide a free Whopper to the first 500 customers who show up dressed as a clown on Halloween night (starting at 7 p.m. local time, officially) to one of five locations near Boston, Massachusetts; Miami, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Austin, Texas; and Salt Lake City, Utah. (As an additional FYI, the validity of each clown costume will “be determined by Burger King restaurant personnel in their sole discretion,” so make sure your gear is up to snuff.)

“We don’t usually talk about clowns,” Alex Macedo, President, North America, for the Burger King brand, said in a statement, dancing around his company’s longtime rivalry. “But for this Halloween, come dressed as a clown to eat like a king.”

For those questioning the extent to which this promotion is truly intended as a shot at McDonald’s, Burger King’s #ScaryClownNight promotional video clears things up pretty quickly. In the 90-second clip, the very first scary clown we see is wearing Ronald’s unmistakable red and yellow colors (stripy red and white socks included). Though none of the other clowns are in this attire, the ad is conveniently bookended with the same McDonald’s-colored clown proclaiming, “I want my Whopper.”

Still, though Burger King clearly has reason to jump on this promotional opportunity, it’s not like the idea of scary clowns is anything new. It was first published in 1986, and John Wayne Gacy had brought the idea of a “Killer Clown” to the public’s attention before that. All the while, McDonald’s has continued its reign at the top. In fact, Ronald McDonald isn’t even the scariest character in McDonaldland. Why the heck is Mayor McCheese’s head a freakin’ cheeseburger?!? Let’s talk about that, Burger King!