All the free food deals in October 2018

October brings all kinds of fun things with it: Halloween, scary decorations, and the fun sort of pressure that comes with deciding what this year's costume is going to be (along with sales on bags of Halloween candy, and let's be honest — no one just buys candy to hand out to the kids). School is in full swing, the kids have their routines down, and you know what days of the week are crunch time when it comes to all that running around the school year brings. There's pumpkin spice everything, sweaters and flannels, and hot chocolate at night.

Autumn is a beautiful time of the year, and fortunately, October also brings a ton of deals to the table when it comes to getting free or deeply discounted food from all your favorite restaurants. Let's talk about all the best deals, and if you love coffee and tacos (does anyone not?), this is your month. Enjoy!

Moe's Southwest Grill

National Taco Day is October 4, and this is one holiday we can all get behind. Tacos are so versatile there's something for everyone out there, no matter what your tastes. Americans eat a ton of tacos — literally — it's estimated they put away about 775 million pounds a year. That's around 4.5 billion tacos!

So, a lot of people are going to be interested in snagging a free taco from Moe's Southwest Grill this October (via QSR). From October 4 to 7, they'll have a buy two, get one free promotion running, and there's only a small catch. You'll have to download and order through their app to get it, but it's not all bad news. Signing up will also get you free nachos (with the purchase of a drink), and you'll also be getting a free burrito on your birthday. That'll make getting older at least a little less painful.

Taco John's

Sure, we can say Americans eat 4.5 billion tacos a year, but what is that really? That's about the equivalent of the weight of the Empire State Building… and another Empire State Building on top of that. That makes National Taco Day a big deal!

If you needed a reason to head over to Taco John's, how about the fact they're not just celebrating National Taco Day, but they're turning it into National Taco Week? Download their app and every day from October 1 to 5, you'll be eligible for a free crispy beef taco. The reward refreshes every day, and using the app gets you other rewards, too. Earn a "punch" for every purchase over $5, and when you have eight punches you'll be eligible for a free combo meal.

You say you need another reason? Their Pumpkin Churros are back on the menu for a limited time, and 'tis the season to enjoy some pumpkin spice before it's gone.

Wendy's

There's a lot going on over at Wendy's in October, and it starts with a free salad. All you need to do to try their new Harvest Chicken Salad is download the app, use it to buy anything on the menu, and get a free half-sized salad with your order. The promotion is running until October 7, but that's not all Wendy's has this month.

It's also time for the reappearance of the Boo! Books, a Wendy's fan favorite around Halloween. For just $1, you get five coupons for a free Jr. Frosty. What's better than a Jr. Frosty? The fact that 85 cents of each dollar goes to a great cause: the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The foundation was established in 1992 by Dave Thomas himself, who was adopted when he was just 6 weeks old. Their mantra is "Unadoptable is Unacceptable," and they're helping out with a problem that's bigger than most might think. With 400,000 kids in foster care and 100,000 eligible for adoption, it's a worthy cause where every contribution — and every Frosty — helps change lives.

White Castle

There are a ton of weird holidays out there, and at first glance, October's World Egg Day seems like another one. It's the second Friday in October (which falls on October 12 this year), and it's not as weird as it seems. It was started in 1996 by the International Egg Commission, and it's meant to highlight just how important eggs have been on a global scale throughout human history. People have been eating eggs for a long time, after all, and just image life without them.

The last fast food chain you might expect has picked up on this celebration of the humble egg, and on October 12 only, you can redeem a World Egg Day coupon at White Castle. You'll get a free breakfast slider (with any other purchase), and let's be honest: breakfast sandwiches and sliders are quite possibly one of the best uses for eggs yet. Way to make the chickens proud, White Castle!

Dunkin' Donuts

Coffee-and-donut giant Dunkin' Donuts wants to know if you're "Peelin' Lucky" this October (because… geddit?). Until October 15 (or until game pieces last), customers who pick up any large or extra-large beverage have a chance to peel off stickers for a chance to win some serious prizes.

And there are a ton of prizes up for grabs, making it incredibly easy to be among the lucky. According to their official press release, there are millions of instant win prizes, and those instant win prizes mean free food for you. There's also half a million bucks in gift cards floating around out there, and other prizes, too. The super-lucky can score movie tickets, sports gear, access to Fandango's streaming movies, and there's a grand prize vacation just waiting to be claimed, too. Need another reason to hit up Dunkin'? Their autumn line of flavors — including maple, apple, and of course pumpkin — are back, and that's a win for everyone.

Applebee's

Every month, Applebee's serves up a new drink special, and for October, it's appropriately a Halloween-themed drink they're calling the Dollar Zombie. It's just cheap enough that no one's going to complain about buying a round for the table, and it sounds pretty delicious, too. The blue drink is made with rum, pineapple, passionfruit, lime, and cherry, and then topped with a gummy brain. What zombie-themed drink would be complete without a brain?

While they say it'll be on the menu for the entire month of October, they also say that if you're making a special trip just to to local Applebee's for this incredible-sounding cocktail, you might want to reach out first and make sure it's available — due to differences in state laws, this one might be a bit hit-or-miss in your location. (They also remind everyone to drink responsibly, and don't drink and drive — at that price, it would be easy to overindulge.)

McDonald's

McDonald's is still running their free Big Mac promotion in celebration of the burger's 50th anniversary, and in case you missed it, it's a pretty neat promotion. Back in August, Time says they started handing out commemorative coins with every Big Mac purchase. Hold onto the coins, and redeem them at a later date for a free Big Mac. There are a ton of them out there, too: they had 6.2 million coins made.

There are also some good deals to be found if you order and pay through their app, including one that's going to make you the talk of the office. Until December 30, you can buy any five McCafe beverages and get one free — perfect for treating a group of friends or coworkers. There's also a deal on cheap McNuggets: if you order through the app, a pack of 20 will only set you back $4.99 until December 30. Their app deals change regularly, so it's worth it to keep checking back.

Red Lobster

Love shrimp? You'll be happy to know that Red Lobster's Endless Shrimp deal is back… for now. There are some variables involved in this one, and that starts with the price (but Woman's World says it's usually around $18, for all the shrimp you can eat, some of those delicious cheddar bay biscuits, and salad). The end date on this one is also up in the air, and all we know right now is that it's a limited time offer.

So, if Crunchy Fiesta Shrimp, Garlic Shrimp Scampi, Sesame-Ginger Grilled Shrimp, or Hand-Breaded Shrimp sounds like a great meal, get to Red Lobster ASAP. And we know what you're wondering: how endless is it really? Are they going to kick you out after a few dozen shrimp? Business Insider had the same questions, and in 2017 they sent a few reporters out to test the limits of "endless." They sat there for seven and a half hours, ordered plate after plate of shrimp, and literally ate hundreds and hundreds of shrimp. So feast away!

Hungry Howie's

Throughout October, you'll be noticing something different about your Hungry Howie's order. It'll come in a pink box, and once again, they'll be making donations to the National Breast Cancer Foundation when customers order. It's a part of their Love, Hope & Pizza campaign, and it's a great thing. So far, the annual campaign has raised more than $2 million to help cover the costs of breast cancer screenings and research, and there's a good food deal in it for customers, too.

Order online, use the code LHPBBOGO, and order a large, 1-topping pizza at regular price. You'll be eligible to add a medium, 1-topping pizza for only $1, and that's way less than those semi-decent frozen pizzas you were thinking about picking up at the store, isn't it?

You can also sign up for their rewards program while you're at it, and when you join, they automatically give you enough Howie Points that you're just one purchase away from a free pizza. Not a bad deal!

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday might be struggling, but they haven't given up yet — and they're trying all kinds of new things in hopes of getting people to rediscover them. They may have had their fair share of cringey marketing campaigns, but one offer that's definitely not cringey is their limited time offer of $3 entrees.

All you need to do is buy their Endless Garden Bar, and you can tack on their 6 oz. Top Sirloin, Hickory Bourbon Chicken, Cajun Grilled Shrimp & Rice, Chicken & Broccoli Pasta, or Blackened Tilapia for just an extra $3. Not a bad upsell, right? Especially considering you were going to get the endless salad bar anyway, so now you're sorted for lunch tomorrow. There's no official end date announced on this one, but they do note that it's a limited time offer only. That means it might disappear at any time, so you might want to give your local Ruby Tuesday a call before you head over there… just in case.

Hooters

Even if you're not a NASCAR fan, you might want to set some alerts on your phone for this one. Keep an eye on race results, and if Hooters-sponsored Chase Elliot places in the top 10, you can head to Hooters for free fried pickles. If he wins, they up the ante to a free order of 10 boneless wings (with any 10-wing purchase). If you're not sure you're going to remember to keep an eye on the racing results, you can head over to the Hooters website and sign up to get reminders if there's free stuff up for grabs.

We mean… for reminders that he's won.

Racing season ends in November, but there's also some good news on the horizon. NASCAR has just announced Hendrick Motorsports and Chase Elliot have renewed their partnership with Hooters for the 2019, 2020, and 2021 seasons. They haven't said whether or not the same free food deal is going to be on the table for future seasons, but it's a safe bet they'll be doing something.

Outback Steakhouse

Hooters isn't the only one with a horse in the NASCAR race, so to speak. Outback Steakhouse is one of the sponsors of driver Kevin Harvick, and that's another reason you might want to start paying attention to race results, at least until the end of the season. 

According to Outback's tweets, every time Harvick places in the top 10 of a NASCAR Cup Race, the following Monday, race fans (and anyone else who's paying attention) can get a free Bloomin' Onion with any purchase. And that's going to happen more than you think. As of the beginning of October, Harvick has started in 28 Cup Series races, won 8, and placed in the Top 10 a whopping 24 times. That means Outback had better stock up on those onions, because they're betting on a winner that everyone can get behind — even people who aren't necessarily Ford fans.

Pizza Hut

Best of all, Pizza Hut has something geared toward even the youngest members of the family. Let's start with the little ones, because it's the first month of BOOK IT!, where they have the chance to meet their reading goals and get a certificate for a free Pan Pizza.

It's also National Pizza Month, which surprisingly isn't every month. Pizza Hut has a different deal going every week, and NBC News has the codes you'll need to use when you order online. Until October 7, you can use 35OFFPIZZAMONTH to get 35 percent off your order, from Oct. 8-14, get free breadsticks with the code BREADSTICKS2018 and the purchase of a medium or large pizza, from Oct. 15-21, get a free dessert or side with DESSERTSOCT, and from Oct. 22-28, get 20 percent off any pizza with 20OFFPIZZAMONTH.  

They're also going to be kicking off their role as the new, official pizza sponsor of the NFL, and they're doing it with a good deal. Forbes says that for the whole season, you can order online and get a large, 2-topping pizza for just $7.99. Game day just got better!

Smashburger

This one's a little different, and it requires handing out some cash upfront and a long-term commitment to eating a lot of burgers. (Nothing wrong with that last part, right? And besides, you're going to buy lunch anyway.)

Smashburger is offering customers the chance to buy a Smash Pass, and here's how it works. It's available throughout October, and you'll have to fork over $100 for it. But starting November 5, you can use it to get a free burger every day until February 14, 2019. That's 100 days of burgers, all for free! That can add up to a savings of about $600, and if you buy a drink to go with your Smash Pass free burger, you're entered to win an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Vegas. There's more details coming on that, but they have said all you'll need to do to redeem your free burgers are show the cashier the coupon on your app, or give them the associated email address or phone number. It's really that easy, and you won't have another one of those little cards cluttering up your key ring.

Wawa

Wawa is't just a gas station, it's so much more. They've definitely invested in making their coffee a reason to stop even if your car isn't running on empty, and now, they're offering a ridiculously good deal: $1 for any size coffee, any time of the day, and any kind that strikes your fancy.

It's not technically free, but it might as well be — especially considering how much you might end up paying for a coffee somewhere else. There are plenty of choices, from lightly roasted decaf to French Vanilla to a bold, full-bodied dark roast. They're even including their Peru Amazonas Wawa Reserve Limited Edition, all for just $1!

There's no information out there on when this promotion is going to end, but the website does note that it's a limited time offer (and one that's not available in Florida). Grab this one before it disappears… and just be warned, there are no guarantees it won't leave you hooked on their coffee.

Cumberland Farms

Cumberland Farms has some good stuff going on in October, too, starting with their buy-one-get-something-free offer. They're getting into the spirit of Halloween, offering customers a free bag of Cumberland Farms Sweet Treat Candy (with a choice of seven different types) with the purchase of a 20-ounce Pepsi or Pure Leaf Tea.

Starting on October 12, Live 95.9 says they're also going to be bringing back "Free Coffee Fridays," and the only thing that might be better than free food is free coffee. All 600-odd locations will be giving away free coffees on October 12, 19, and 26, and the only thing you need to do to take advantage of this offer is stop in. Don't forget, they also offer free flavor shots, and that's an option most coffee shops charge extra for. Prefer your caffeine fix to come with raspberry, coconut, caramel, or hazelnut? This is your place.