Photo from InsiderCoupons.com
By Nick Spennato
Once more the earth turns, and the sun sets on yet another All Hallow’s Eve. It is the scariest time of the year, and this can mean only one thing– it is time for bargain-priced fast food. Sonic, America’s drive-in, has taken the initiative and is offering corn dogs at the bewildering price of 50 cents each. Maybe it sounds too good to be true. Maybe this is to be avoided, a trick rather than a treat. But maybe, just maybe, on Halloween night, all that glitters really is gold or at least golden brown.
Of the three methods of transaction available to you at Sonic, it is important to note the strengths and weaknesses of each. The obvious choice is the drive-in. It is what Sonic is known for and commanding an employee to bring you your food on roller skates remains a novel experience. Keep in mind that the popularity of this option will have you waiting for the longest. The next option is the drive-thru. This option trades the pomp and circumstance of the drive-in for expediency, as it is the only option lacking roller skates, and is the option of choice for the glutton on the go. Finally, the option you may not have known existed. Yes, Sonic does have an interior, and perhaps fewer people knowing of its existence is the reason it seems so well maintained, without the overabundance of used napkins and ketchup smear. The interior is the easiest for a group, allowing orders and payment to be divided without causing a wedge between cash and credit users. The interior also makes use of the roller blade delivery system, though it remains the only option which demands that you leave the vehicle.
Regardless of method, Sonic’s employees did dress up for Halloween, most notably in my case being a wheeled waited in an inflatable ostrich suit, who glided through the parking lot delivering burgers and colorful beverages. After my purchase, inside the bag with the corn dogs were a selection of mints. Sonic, as a practice, gives out its own branded mints with every meal. I was unaware of this at the time but was pleased to find them, as they brought back fond Halloween memories of find candy that I did not want at the bottom of my bag.
On the Topic of Corn dogs.
Perhaps, for any number of reasons, you do not know what a corn dog is. This is okay. It does not make you un-American and can be easily remedied. Corn dogs are variants of the traditional American-style hot dog. It is comprised of a sausage or dog (stemming from a commonly held belief in the 1940s that lower-cost sausage products were made with the meat of stray dogs) that instead of a bun has been skewered and the fried in a cornmeal batter, thus the name.
A question that arises is why Sonic would choose to associate the humble corn dog with Halloween, spookiest of the holidays. Are corn dogs innately terrifying? Are they in some way the scariest thing that Sonic offers? It is difficult to say. Sonic does offer a number of beverages with wild colors and high sugar content, some even with candy mixed in, so it does seem like a missed opportunity to not associate the candied beverages which they are known for with the holiday most known for candies. As for the rest of the menu, it is safe to rule out any potato-based dish since potatoes have never been alive (in any legal sense) nor do they carry any substantial risk of disease, which leaves the meats. Poultry does carry the threat of salmonella, burgers were at one time cows, but there is something disturbing about corn dog, they are oddly shaped and their texture is unique. They are slightly phallic, for those of you searching for a special Freudian kind of horror (or not, do as you will). They stick gives the impression of a weapon, some kind of truncheon, something to bludgeon a victim with and then be disposed of. They can accurately be described as pig corpse drenched in corn corpse skewered on tree corpse and then boiled in oil. Yes, corn dogs are perfect for the season.
Sonic’s corn dogs are being sold for 50 cents apiece as part of the promotion when they typically retail for $1.29. A two-pound bag of candy containing sixty fun-sized candies sells for around ten dollars during the season. Assume you do not dictate how much each child takes, and average this out around three pieces of candy each, this ten dollar bag of candy can be divided amongst twenty children. For a similar price, you could go to Sonic, purchase twenty corn dogs, and hand out lukewarm sticks of meat to children at night in the true spirit of the holiday.
Are Sonic’s corn dogs worth purchasing, with or without the promotion? For one, corn dogs are something of a rarity in the culinary world in that a fast food corn dog is not actually that far removed from any other corn dog. Whereas you may second guess ordering McDonald’s new chicken marsala or Pizza Hut’s shrimp scampi, corn dogs are corn dogs wherever you buy them from. Sonic’s corn dogs offer a solid corn to dog ratio, which makes it difficult to get a bite of one without the other, or air-balling it, as it is known on the professional corn dog circuits. The dog is of a smaller size but the same make as those used in their hot dogss, they are pretty good by hot dog standards, though not good enough to change the minds of those that turn their noses up at dogs of every edible sort. If there is one complaint to be made of the corn dogs, it is that the stick lacks the support you would want from a corn dog. They are the foundation on which the corn dog is built, and while they are not in danger of snapping, they do not offer the resistance you may be searching for.
Perhaps you are like me and, up until tonight anyway, have not had a corn dog in over a decade, if at all. Maybe your curiosity overwhelmed you, or the novelty of eating food off a stick rather than a fork was enough to convince you. You will be satisfied to know that if your sweet tooth started craving something else, something horrifying in its own special way, Sonic’s got you covered.