I Tried McDonald’s Halloween Boo Buckets: The Good, the Bad, and the ‘Caps’

I Tried McDonald's Halloween Boo Buckets: The Good, the Bad, and the 'Caps'
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McDonald’s Halloween bucketsaka Boo Buckets, have Back for Halloween. What are they, you ask? They’re just plastic promises in three designs that replace the regular paper Happy Meal containers that McDonald’s uses to serve kids’ meals.

The fast-food chain first introduced buckets in 1986 and has offered them with many variations since then. Their return wouldn’t seem like a big deal, except that many people are feeling nostalgic about their return, and anticipation for the buckets has dominated social media as the arrival of the buckets approaches.

They are now available at McDonald’s in the US, and I ordered one (actually two) to take a look.

McDonald’s Boo Bucket: My Review

I ordered two Happy Meals in the McDonald’s app and picked them up at the drive-thru at my local McD’s. The app lets me choose between four-piece Chicken McNuggets, six-piece Chicken McNuggets, or a hamburger (you can upgrade to a cheeseburger). The meal comes with kid-sized fries, and you can choose between extra fries or apple slices and a drink. At the end of my order, the app asked me what toy I wanted and let me choose between “Halloween buckets”, “kids toy” or “no thanks”. (WHO would turn down a TOY?)

Spoiler: I chose “Halloween buckets”.

happy meals-eating

For Happy Meals, you can choose between Chicken McNuggets or a hamburger or cheeseburger.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

The Halloween buckets themselves are what you’d expect — plastic containers that are too small to hold a child’s Halloween candy, unless they’re a child. But they are cute nonetheless.

There are three varieties, but my McDonald’s only had the white McBoo ghost face bucket on the first day of the promotion. (White buckets have glowed in the dark in the past, but I tried mine and it didn’t.) I asked when my McDonald’s would get the other two colors — the orange McPunk’n and the green witch McGoblin — but the staff didn’t know. I think every restaurant could eventually get all three colors, but depending on the demand, it seems very murky as to which one to deliver and when.

In the past, buckets sometimes had plastic lids that you could put on and take off, and sometimes the lids even had built-in cookie cutters. Not this year. Instead of a lid … there is a kind of false lid, which means a piece of plastic that looks like the top arches of a pumpkin between the two spots where the handle of the bucket is attached to the bucket. It’s cute, but it will break five seconds after the kid starts trick or treating. Also, as a Minnesotan, the white pumpkin top design looks like it’s been ripped off now Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.


Here are McDonald’s Boo Buckets with a sticker sheet.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

The treats in your Boo Bucket are covered in what looks like a round piece of paper, which turns out to have Halloween stickers on it. My two Happy Meals came with the same McBoo ghost bucket and the same label sheet. One side of the sticker sheet has pictures of skeletons and (mostly) pirate themed stickers, and the other side you can use to peel and “dress” the skeletons.

sticker size

Here are the two label sheets I bought with the McDonald’s Boo Buckets.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

These Happy Meals do not come with extra toys. The bucket is a toy. But McDonald’s Happy Meals for New Adults Come with toys — classic McDonald’s figures, plus one new character, all with four eyes instead of two. (My McDonald’s sold out of them. Something tells me that Ronald and friends have hit the money-making oil well here, and I expect to see more adult Happy Meals in the future.)

I give McDonald’s Boo Buckets a solid B+ as a promotion. The three different colors and faces are cute and I totally understand why they can only sell one type of bucket at a time. Imagine the poor crippled clerk who has to take orders when little Liam asks for a ghost and Maddie asks for a witch and nobody wants a pumpkin, while stacking buckets of oranges next to 800 gallons of ketchup. You get what you get, you don’t get mad as they say in kindergarten.

I would have appreciated the incentive more if each bucket had a piece of paper and an actual plastic top instead of a fake top, but the stickers are a good consolation prize and kind of a toy.

I don’t appreciate food. This is McDonald’s. You know what it is.

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