Nightmare King

Burger King says that eating its new Nightmare King burger makes people more susceptible to bad dreams.

For some, the idea of consuming a Burger King Whopper is nightmare enough.

But Burger King, which has cornered the fast food market on novelty hamburgers with do-not-adjust-your-set colored buns, ups the ante with its Nightmare King ($6.39), available for a mercifully limited time.

BK, of course, had a black-bunned Halloween Whopper three years ago, and had a red-bunned Angry Whopper in 2016. But for the new Nightmare King, the King has decided to go green.

And, believe me, it’s not easy eating green.

But the Nightmare King may not just be hazardous to your digestion — it could be bad for your sleep patterns as well. The chain proudly announced in a press release that it had partnered with a sleep study organization to feed the Nightmare Kings to 100 subjects over 10 nights. Their findings indicated that those that ate them were 3.5 times more likely to experience nightmares than those that didn’t.

To which I ask: What kind of nightmares are we talking about here? Are we talking about the fun sort of Halloween nightmares where you’re chased by vampires and zombies? Or are these the sort of grown-up nightmares I usually experience, where I suddenly realize I’ve forgotten to pay my income taxes for the last five years?

In any case, I’m confident that any Nightmare King-related visions I experience will be related to the bun. In the promotional photos, the bun is a vibrant, bright emerald color. It looks like something you’d find at a Burger King in Oz.

But the actual Nightmare King burger bun is a truly nauseating shade of green, somewhere between olive and snot. It’s the shade of green that Mother Nature has given to toads and lizards to protect them from being eaten by predators. If Burger King was hoping to install genuine revulsion and terror in its diners, then my crown is off to them.

The burger itself is a protein-heavy bomb that includes a quarter-pound beef patty and a crispy chicken fillet, along with cheese and bacon. There’s no lettuce, tomato or ketchup — just mayonnaise and onions, which is a truly off-putting combination of flavors. 

So I made a game attempt at eating the Nightmare King, but between that gross bun and the bitter onion-mayo flavor combo, I didn’t get very far. Luckily I had picked up a Nightmare Slushie as well to wash it down. It’s so black that I wondered if Burger King had gotten trendy and included activated charcoal as an ingredient, but it was just black cherry.

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Witch's Brew Frappuccino

Starbucks' new Witch's Brew Frappuccino is only available for a limited time.

Still reeling from this monstrosity, I stopped by Starbucks for its limited-edition Halloween item, the Witch’s Brew Frappuccino ($5.45 for a grande size). The flavor is described as “toad’s breath” mixed with “bat’s warts” with a dusting of “lizard scale powder” on top, but the flavor of the purple concoction was more like Froot Loops than anything else.

What really threw me were the “bat warts,” which were pockets of chewy chia seeds in the mix that got stuck in my teeth. My daughter likened them to frog’s eggs (maybe she could taste the toad’s breath on them). It was not exactly pleasant, but was the closest thing to truly scary in the Frappuccino.

Anyway, we’ll see if the Nightmare King really does induce nightmares. If it does, it will probably be a terrifying dream about having to eat another Nightmare King.

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Rob Thomas is the features editor and social media editor for the Capital Times, as well as its film critic. He joined the Cap Times in 1999 and has written about movies, music, food and books.