Review of Starbucks Halloween “Secret Menu”

Two drinks from Starbucks.

Jill Bradbrook

Two drinks from Starbucks.

Jill Bradbrook, Staff Writer

Halloween season is bringing eager Starbucks customers to try some festive drinks. A collection was released for fall, but shockingly nothing for this Halloween, not even the classic “Witches Brew Creme Frappuccino still listed on their menu, which had not been available since its debut in 2018. Fans raved about the frappuccino, though it disappeared after the season wrapped up. 

I decided to do some digging on alternatives for some Halloween drinks, leading me to find endless articles on Starbucks’ “secret menu.” I discovered people creating recipes for drinks to order using the ingredients Starbucks carries. There was a whole section for Halloween beverages available. The steps on how to order the drinks at your local Starbucks are listed underneath a picture of each creation. These orders are not being released by Starbucks but by everyday people. The way they are being heard about is through social media platforms like TikTok.

 I picked two drinks from the Halloween list found on the Taste of Home website. Walking in, right away I noticed the shortage of staff, with only three baristas being in the shop. I was a little skeptical if I should continue ordering the extremely modified drink. The gentlemen taking my order did not seem to care about the number of add-ons, almost used to it. This leads me to believe that quite a few people participate in ordering off the so-called secret menu. The baristas seemed aware of the drinks I was asking for. I ordered two Tall frappuccinos. Each was 12 ounces and both cost 7 dollars each! My facial expression after he told me the cost showed my total shock. 

 I ordered a recreation of the Witches Brew Creme Frappuccino and the Fear Street Frappuccino. When ordering off the secret menu, you must list the ingredients instead of the drink’s name. The baristas are not aware of the drinks name or how to make them without the steps because they are not listed on the Starbucks menu. 

The Fear street frappuccino consists of a Grande Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino with two pumps of funnel cake syrup for extra sweetness. The drink is topped with strawberry drizzle for a truly spooky blood-red decor. It looked just like the picture on the secret menu website and tasted exactly like the grande mocha cookie crumble frap that is already on Starbucks’ website, with the exception of the added strawberry sweetness. Although this drink tasted quite good, I can’t see myself ordering it in the future because of the high additional fees and the complex ordering process. 

For the witches brew creme frappuccino, I asked for a Grande Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with one scoop of dried blackberries. The drink had a scoop of matcha at the bottom of the cup, whipped cream topping, and some matcha powder sprinkled on top. The barista replied saying they were out of the dried blackberries and recommended I do strawberries instead. After getting my order I realized the replacement of fruit changed the color it was supposed to be. There was more matcha than strawberries, causing the drink to be all green instead of half green and purple. I had never had matcha before so my disappointment in the drink was solely due to that. It tasted very earthy, like mold with the consistency of milk. I definitely would not order this one again. 

Julianna Cora, who graduated from HB last year, is a loyal customer of Starbucks. She prefers Starbucks as her coffee choice due to the quality provided, finding the price to be reasonable. She finds they offer more on their menu and encourages modifications. The company specifically located their buildings in popular areas which is beneficial to Cora, with one being by her college and work. 

Cora finds that the employees are always excited to make new drinks for her. They seem interested when she orders something they have never heard of before or made. “I have tried the Dracula frappuccino, to get in the Halloween spirit. It was similar to a strawberry and crème frappuccino but had more strawberries to represent blood for Halloween,” said Cora. She is always trying new drinks there, especially ones from the secret menu for holidays.

If it’s a busier time when Cora asks for a new drink the employees get a little bothered by all the customization, but that is mostly on the basis that they are suffering from short staffing, as most of the time the baristas are constantly trying to satisfy their customers. I mean everyone has turned away from the Starbucks line at least once because they were intimidated by the size, especially with the impact COVID has had on the lack of workers throughout the country. 

Colie Toupen, 22’, a senior at HB and past employee at Starbucks, shared her experiences with customers ordering secret menu drinks while working at Starbucks. “We [baristas] would have to ask for the recipe because we do not have a secret menu,” said Colie. Starbucks employees only know how to make the drinks on the menu. There is this misconception that Starbucks created the secret menu, when in fact they are not contributing to it. “Starbucks drinks are not difficult to make, some of them are just complex with the steps needed to make them given by the customers,” added Colie. She expressed that customers need to be lenient with the baristas on how long it takes them to punch in the order. Making drinks that are not on their menu is more work than a typical Starbucks drink. 

If you’re interested in learning about what the secret menu entails or how to order special drinks the Taste of Home website is accessible here, one of many websites on this subject.