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

McDonald’s Halloween teamaka Boo Buckets, are back to Halloween. What the heck are they, you ask? They are simply plastic or treat trays in three designs that replace the usual paper Happy Meal containers that McDonald̵[ads1]7;s uses to serve children’s meals.

The fast food chain first introduced the buckets in 1986 and has offered them off and on, with many changes, ever since. Their return wouldn’t seem like a big deal, except that many people feel nostalgic for their return, and anticipation for them dominated social media as the buckets’ arrival approached.

They’re now available at participating McDonald’s across the US, and I ordered one (er, two, really) to take a look.

McDonald’s Boo Bucket: My Review

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

Spoiler: I chose “Halloween team.”

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

You can choose between Chicken McNuggets or a hamburger or cheeseburger for the Happy Meal main course.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

The Halloween buckets themselves are pretty much what you’d expect – plastic treat buckets that are essentially too small to hold a child’s Halloween candy unless they’re a toddler. But they are cute nonetheless.

There are three varieties, but my McDonald’s only had the white McBoo ghost face bucket on day one of the promotion. (In the past, the white buckets have been glow-in-the-dark, but I tested mine and they weren’t.) I asked when my McDonald’s would be getting the other two colors — orange McPunk’n and green witchy McGoblin — but the staff didn’t know. I guess each restaurant could eventually get all three colors, but depending on demand, it seems like a toss-up as to which one they hand out when.

In the past, the buckets have sometimes come with plastic lids that you can put on and take off, and sometimes the lids have even had built-in cookie cutters. Not this year. Instead of a lid, it’s…a sort of false lid, meaning a piece of plastic that looks like a pumpkin top curves between the two places where the bucket’s handle attaches to the bucket. It’s cute, but it’ll probably break five seconds after a kid starts tricking. Also, as a Minnesotan, I think the white pumpkin top design looks like the now-demolished Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.


Here are the McDonald’s Boo Buckets with the sticker sheet top in place.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

The food in the Boo Bucket is covered with 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 sticker sheet. The sticker sheet has drawings of skeletons on one side and (mostly) pirate themed stickers that you can peel off and use to “dress up” the skeletons on the other side.

stickers size

Here are the two sticker sheets I received with the McDonald’s Boo Buckets.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

These Happy Meals do not come with extra toys. The bucket is the toy. But McDonald’s new happy meals for adults comes with toys — classic McDonald’s figures, plus a new character, all of whom have not two, but four eyes. (My McDonald’s is sold out of these. Something tells me Ronald and friends have hit an oil well for money here, and I expect to see more Happy Meals for adults 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 might only sell one variety of bucket at a time. Imagine the poor frail clerk who has to take orders when little Liam wants a ghost, but Maddy wants a witch, and meanwhile nobody wants the pumpkin, and the orange buckets pile up in the storeroom next to 800 gallons of ketchup. You get what you get, and you don’t get bored, as they say in kindergarten.

I would have rated the promotion higher if each bucket had an actual plastic top instead of a piece of paper and the fake top, but stickers are a nice consolation prize, and a bit like a toy.

I don’t grade the food. It’s McDonald’s. You know what it is.

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