Want some nostalgia with your fast food this fall? Here’s a rumor you may find boo-tiful. As ComicBook.com reports, a site called Nightmare Nostalgia appears to have the inside info about McDonald’s bringing back its beloved Halloween Happy Meal buckets.
What are McDonald’s Halloween buckets?
Back in 1986, McDonald’s started offering its Happy Meal kids meal in cute little Halloween-themed buckets, which can double as a kid’s trick-or-treat pail — if they’re not out for maximum candy, that is. Happy Meals usually come in cardboard boxes shaped kind of like little houses, so the buckets were a spook-tacular treat.
What did the original McDonald’s Halloween buckets look like?
The three original designs were named McPunk’n, McBoo and McGoblin. All of them looked like jack-o-lanterns, just with different faces. McPunk’n looks happy, McBoo looks slightly started, and McGoblin looks … sleepy, but he’s probably supposed to look scary.
Ghost and witch McDonald’s Halloween buckets
A few years later, a white ghost design and green witch design were added. They all looked pretty happy — even the supposedly spooky witch. Here they are in an ad from 1990. As the commercial explains, the ghost bucket even glows in the dark. (Don’t think too much about how the Chicken McNuggets are busying themselves making sauce, presumably to be used in their own consumption.)
When did McDonald’s stop making Halloween buckets?
Nightmare Nostalgia has a wonderful timeline of the history, if you really want to delve into a fast-food chain’s promotional past. (Not knocking you if you do, because I am one of you.) Some of the bigger changes involved a switch to vinyl glow-in-the-dark trick-or-treat bags, called McBoo Bags. In 1992, the buckets were redesigned to include cookie cutters that popped off the top. That had to be a high-water mark for McDonald’s Halloween bucket creativity. Hope somebody got a raise that year.
After that, the pails kept being tweaked, and finally vanished in 2016, going out with a It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, design. So it’s got to be time to bring them back, right? Hello? Anybody listening? Ronald? Grimace? Good grief!
What will the new McDonald’s Halloween buckets look like?
Halloween fans are surely hoping this is a treat and not a trick. A representative from McDonald’s did not respond to repeated requests for comment — leading me to believe that the company really wants to keep this news under wraps, if it’s indeed true.
But the reliable snack-news Instagram account markie_devo posted what appears to be a photo of the new buckets. The buckets look to be the ghost, witch and pumpkin variety, so maybe the ghost will once again glow in the dark. Not sure what is going on with those lids, though.
When will the McDonald’s Halloween buckets be available?
Nightmare Nostalgia shared what appears to be a leaked calendar page of McDonald’s events, listing the Halloween pails as arriving on Oct. 18 and running through Halloween, Oct. 31. It also mentions “Halloween Pails” on Oct. 4. Perhaps that’s when the ad campaign will begin and we’ll get notice that this is real? Or when the buckets will ship to restaurants? It’s also McRib day, apparently, so sauce it up.
But without confirmation, we can’t say for sure that the McDonald’s Halloween buckets are returning, just as Linus could never guarantee the arrival of the Great Pumpkin.
Unreleased Halloween buckets we’ll never see
According to YouTuber Consumer Time Capsule, there were six proposed Halloween buckets that were never released, including this purr-fect black cat. Whoa, we missed out on some pop-culture goodness here. There’s also a wonderful McMummy.
How is social media responding?
We can say that certain nostalgic types would love to see this happen. There’s plenty of yearning for these pails on social media.
“But I need to know if McDonalds is bringing back the Halloween buckets because I need them all,” one Twitter user said.
We’ll update this story if McDonald’s responds to a request for comment, or more news is revealed.