Halloween is now an established event here in Japan. While the revelry differs greatly compared to other places (it’s less about collecting candy and more about clogging Shibuya crossing), the country has got the marketing part of it down pat. Companies now roll out special items featuring ghosts and skeletons on the packaging well ahead of time.

Pepsi Japan has gotten into the October spirit over the last few years, putting out special editions of their carbonated beverage to coincide with the spooky holiday. This year’s contribution, simply dubbed Pepsi Halloween Cola, features cute pink imagery. The drink (¥140) comes in a bright shade of pink that might not feel very Halloween-like but matches the soda’s theme of celebrating candy.

The 2017 version features some similarities to the 2015 Pepsi Ghost variety, which bore a strong resemblance to Cherry Pepsi. While this year’s soda has some cherry taste, it gets countered by an aftertaste that is closer to (extremely sugary) bubble gum. A few sips are OK, but trying to get through the whole bottle can be a challenge. It may be good for shots on the night of Oct. 31, but it’s probably best shared with friends.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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