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

McDonald’s Halloween Bucketsalso known as Boo Buckets, is Back to Halloween. What the hell is it, you ask? They are simply plastic trick-or-treat pails in three designs that replace the usual paper Happy Meal containers McDonald’s uses to serve its children’s meals.

The fast food chain first introduced Buckets in 1986 and has offered them intermittently, with a lot of changes, since then. Their comeback wouldn’t sound like much, except that a lot of people are nostalgic for their comeback, and anticipation has taken hold of them on social media as the buckets arrive.

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

McDonald’s Bo Bucket: My review

I ordered two Happy Meals from the McDonald’s app and picked them up in the car through my local McDonald’s. The app allows me to choose from four pieces of Chicken McNuggets, six pieces of Chicken McNuggets, or a hamburger (you can upgrade to a cheeseburger). The meal comes with an order of kid-sized French fries, after which you can choose from extra French fries or apple slices, and your choice of drink. At the end of my order, the app asked me what kind of game I wanted, and let me choose between “Halloween buckets”, “toddler game” or “No thanks”. (Who would turn down a game?)

Spoiler: I chose Halloween Buckets.

Happy Meals

You can choose between Chicken McNuggets, Hamburger or Cheeseburger for your Happy Meal entry.

Gail Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

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

There are three varieties, but my McDonald’s only had a white McBoo pail with a ghost-face on the first day of the promo. (In the past, white buckets would glow in the dark, but I tested mine and it wasn’t.) I asked when McDonald’s would get the other two colors – orange McPunk’n and charming McGublin green – but the staff didn’t know. I think every restaurant might eventually get the three colors, but depending on the demand it seems like a crapshoot as to which restaurant they’re handing out and when.

In the past, buckets sometimes came with plastic lids that you could put on and take off, and sometimes the lids had cookie cutters built in. Not this year. Instead of the lid, there is…a kind of false lid, which means a piece of plastic that looks like the top pumpkin brackets between the two points where the handle of the bucket attaches to the bucket. It’s gentle but likely to break five seconds after a child starts trick-or-treating. Also, as a Minnesota I think the white pumpkin top design looks like it’s been torn down now Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

buckets stickers on

Here are McDonald’s Boo buckets with the top label in place.

Gail Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

The food in the Boo Bucket is covered with what looks like a round piece of paper, which turns out to contain Halloween stickers. My happy meal came with the same McBoo ghost bucket and the same sheet of labels. The sticker sheet has drawings of skeletons on one side and (mostly) pirate-themed stickers that you can peel off and use to “decorate” the skeletons on the other side.

stickers size

Here are the two stickers I received with my McDonald’s Boo buckets.

Gail Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

These Happy Meals do not come with additional toys. Aquarius is the game. But McDonald’s New Happy Meals for adults Comes with toys – classic McDonald’s characters, plus one new character, all of whom have not two eyes but four eyes. (McDonald’s is among those sold out. Something tells me that Ronald and his co-workers have hit a well to make money here, and I expect to see more Happy Meals for adults in the future.)

I give McDonald’s Boo Buckets a strong B+ grade as a promotion. The three different colors and faces are cute, and I totally understand why only one bucket variety is sold at a time. Imagine the poor, exhausted employee who has to take orders when little Liam wants a ghost, but Maddie wants a witch, meanwhile, nobody wants a pumpkin, and orange buckets pile up in the storage room next to 800 gallons of ketchup. You get what you get, and don’t get upset, as they say in the nursery.

I would have rated the upgrade higher if each bucket had an actual plastic lid rather than a piece of paper and a fake top, but the stickers are a good consolation prize, sort of like a game.

I don’t rate the food. It’s McDonald’s. You know what that is.

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