Today kicks off the official return of McDonald’s “Boo Bucket” Halloween Pails, and both McDonald’s and its employees are bracing for the wave of adults clamoring for a spooky plastic container. Three different characters—McBoo, McPunk’n, and McGoblin—are all back for their double duty of serving you fries and holding your (very small) Halloween candy haul.
With the frenzy created by the recent release of the McDonald’s x Cactus Plant Flea Market Adult Happy Meals, it’s no wonder McDonald’s employees would be apprehensive about this next promotion. In a subreddit for McDonald’s employees, one user wrote, “Not too sure if they are going to be one design at a time, but please be nice to employees if they are. The pails being right after the Cactus box is not good for morale.”
Despite this warning, representatives for McDonald’s emphasize that the company is prepared to handle any Halloween-related pandemonium.
“We have a feeling Halloween Pails will be popular with our fans, and we’ve prepared accordingly in close partnership with our suppliers, distributors and franchisees,” McDonald’s told The Takeout via email.
The McDonald’s employee subreddit also claims that each location will receive only one of the three pail designs per week. McDonald’s confirmed this to The Takeout, and from my own experience (more on that in a bit) it did look like my McDonald’s location only had one Boo Bucket design in stock. Perhaps this is to help prevent the chaos of customers ordering a zillion Happy Meals from a single location so as to get their hands on the full range of Halloween pails. This is, hopefully, a welcome process tweak for employees.
“We always keep restaurant crew top of mind when launching new and returning promotions,” McDonald’s told The Takeout via email. “We prep them with training and resources they need to manage higher traffic in restaurants, and we stay in close touch with our franchisees throughout the promotion period. Our restaurant crew members are the best in the business, and we appreciate everything they do to serve customers not only during these seasonal moments, but year-round.”
First, we need to talk about the lid. Specifically, where is it? McDonald’s press photos of the Halloween pails gave the distinct impression that there would be a lid. See below:
I guess I should have given that marketing image a closer look. The buckets don’t have a lid with a handle attached; instead, the handle is attached to the base, and a two-dimensional silhouette of a lid is clipped onto the handle. In a way, this is much more confusing than if there had been no “lid” at all.
I’m not the only person to notice this, either. Twitter user @DinosaurDracula managed to get their hands on a Boo Bucket one day early and noted the lack of lid to another Twitter user who inquired about it.
Setting the lack of lid aside, my little McBoo is serving the spooky vibes exactly as it should, along with the tiniest serving of fries I could imagine and a basic, no-frills burger. Instead of the plastic hat/lid I was expecting, the top of the pail is covered with a thin, round piece of cardboard that includes Halloween stickers and an activity on the backside. I suppose that since these Happy Meals are actually intended for children, this little activity addition makes sense.
And McBoo comes with three different expressions printed on the bucket. These appear to be a shocked face, a happy face, and... a different happy face? There’s one with a crooked smile, while the other smile is nice and wide.
The bucket itself truly isn’t large enough to carry a substantial trick-or-treating haul—it’s much smaller than your average jack-o’-lantern bucket—but it’s still adorable. McBoo will be part of my Halloween decor for years to come. And it might smell like french fries for just as long.