McDonald’s bucket for Halloweenalso known as Boo Bu Buckets back to Halloween. What are they, you ask? These are simply plastic plastering buckets in three designs that replace the regular paper Happy Meal containers that McDonald’s uses to serve children’s meals.

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

They’re now available at participating McDonald’s across the US, and I ordered one (um, really two) to check out.

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 the 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 a kid’s order of fries, and then you choose between extra fries or apple slices and choose a drink. At the end of my order, the app asked me what toy I wanted and let me choose between “Halloween buckets,” “toddler toy,” or “no thanks.” (WHO WOULD REFUSE A TOY?)

Spoiler alert: I chose “halloween buckets”.

You can choose between Chicken McNuggets or a hamburger or cheeseburger for your Happy Meal entree.

Gael Faschingbauer Cooper/CNET

The Halloween buckets themselves are what you’d expect – plastic treat buckets that are actually too small to hold Halloween candy unless the child is a toddler. But they are cute nonetheless.

There are three varieties, but my McDonald’s only had the white McBoo bucket with the ghost face on the first day of the promotion. (The white buckets used to glow in the dark, but I checked mine and they didn’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 every restaurant can get all three colors eventually, but depending on demand, it seems like a crapshoot which one they give out.

In the past, buckets sometimes came with plastic lids that could be put on and off, and sometimes the lids even had built-in cookie cutters. Not this year. Instead of a lid, there’s … a kind of faux lid, that is, a piece of plastic that looks like the top of a pumpkin, that curves between the two places where the bucket handle attaches to the bucket. It’s cute, but it’s likely to break five seconds after the kid starts working on the treats. Also, as a Minnesotan, I think the white pumpkin top looks like Hubert H. Humphrey’s now-demolished Metrodome.


Here are the McDonald’s Boo Buckets with sticker tops.

Gael Faschingbauer Cooper/CNET

The food in your Boo Bucket is covered with a round sheet of paper that turns out to have Halloween stickers on it. Two of my Happy Meals came with the same bucket of McBoo and the same sheet of stickers. The sticker sheet has pictures of skeletons on one side and (mostly) pirate themed stickers that can be peeled off and used 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 Faschingbauer Cooper/CNET

These Happy Meals do not come with additional toys. A bucket is a toy. But McDonald’s new adult Happy Meals come with toys – classic McDonald’s figures, as well as one new character, all with not two, but four eyes. (McDonald’s has sold out of them. Something tells me that Ronald and his friends have hit a cash-generating oil well, and I expect more grown-up 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, exhausted clerk who has to take orders when little Liam wants a ghost and Maddie wants a witch, and meanwhile no one wants a pumpkin and buckets of oranges pile up in the warehouse next to 800 gallons of ketchup. What you get, you don’t get upset, as they say in kindergarten.

I would have rated the promotion higher if each bucket had a real plastic top instead of a sheet of paper and a faux top, but the stickers are a nice consolation prize and kind of like a toy.

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

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