David Lefranc / Getty Images

We rate the Turkey Day tradition's floating, food-themed characters based on how edible they are.

Adam Campbell-Schmitt
November 20, 2017

Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade is a staple of the fall holiday. But as much as Thanksgiving itself is all about food and the parade is all about Thanksgiving (save for the *SPOILER ALERT* appearance of Santa Claus at the end), you might be surprised when you realize that, while there are many food-centric floats including a new Sour Patch Kids addition this year, very few of the parade's iconic balloons are food-related. We took a look back into image archives of parades past for any and all food-related balloons we could find. Here they are rated on a scale of one to ten based on both how adorable and edible they are.

Pillsbury Doughboy

Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

Classic. Perhaps the most famous pudgy mascot in the parade other than Saint Nick himself. Hands down, one of the most true-to-life (if that’s the proper designation for an animated dough man) representations in the entire lineup.

Adorableness: 10
Edibleness: 10 (we assume he’s made of dough and, therefore, edible)

M&M’s

NBC / Getty Images

While Red and Yellow have appeared in a few forms throughout the years, our favorite is probably the hot air balloon, which makes it looks like the two are coasting through Manhattan’s skyscrapers hoping to avoid getting eaten.

Adorableness: 9
Edibleness: 10

Ice Cream Cone

Michael Stewart / Getty Images

A very different kind of ice cream float, these tasty treats have been featured in the parade for decades.

Adorableness: 9
Edibleness: 10

Nestle Quik Rabbit

NBC / Getty Images

The chocolatey drink mascot is seen in full marching band regalia, paying homage to the many bands that come from across the nation to perform in the parade. But if you haven’t seen the commercials in a while, he just appears to be a bunny with a bass drum.

Adorableness: 7
Edibleness: 4

Mr. Potato Head

Hiroko Masuike / Getty Images

The toy spud should be on everyone’s wish list, ages two and up. While no longer made from an actual potato, he’s certainly the smiliest balloon of the bunch.

Adorableness: 8
Edibleness: 3 (10 when he was a real tuber)

Pumpkin

George Napolitano / Getty Images

It’s a balloon of a pumpkin. That’s all you really need to say about it.

Adorableness: 5
Edibleness: 10

Candy Cane

Wendell Teodoro / Getty Images

An edible reminder that Christmas is coming, this candy cane is a simple standby for parade watchers.

Adorableness: 6
Edibleness: 10 

Tom Turkey

Sometimes the classic Macy’s turkey is portrayed as a float, and some years he’s floating above our heads. Based on this year’s sneak peek on Instagram, it looks like the latter this time around.

Adorableness: 7
Edibleness: 10

Kool-Aid Man

Mireya Acierto / Getty Images

Oh yeah! This balloon/float combo gets a radical upgrade by skateboarding down the street.

Adorableness: 8
Edibleness: 10 (Or “imbibable-ness,” really.)

Cookie Monster

Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Also taking to the street as a balloon is Sesame Street’s resident munching monster (and Food & Wine Test Kitchen guest).

Adorableness: 10
Edibleness: 3 (Just stick to eating cookies.)

Cheesasaurus Rex

New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images

The Kraft Macaroni & Cheese mascot is our favorite pasta-vorous dinosaur and recognizable to any kid who grew up eating lunch from a blue box

Adorableness: 9
Edibleness: 5

Honey Nut Cheerios Bee

Doug Kanter / Getty Images

The bee has buzzed his way down the boulevards of New York in many Macy’s parades and is always a sweet addition to the lineup.

Adorableness: 8
Edibleness: 3

Ronald McDonald

The burger-hocking clown has made many appearances in balloon form, each with their own quirks. Here we go:

James Devaney / Getty Images

What’s he reaching for?

Adorableness: 2
Edibleness: 1

Taylor Hill / Getty Images

Snappier outfit. Pretty sure he’s marching, but he’s also horizontal so who knows?

Adorableness: 4
Edibleness: 1

Joseph Sohm / Getty Images

At first glance you might assume Ronald is floating up into the air, being lifted by the bunch of helium balloons in his hand. At second glance, you realize his feet are dragging upward behind him, meaning this clown is free-falling toward the asphalt with only a few party favors to slow his descent.

Adorableness: 1
Edibleness: 1

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

Ice skating Ronald is festive, forward-moving, and just plain fun. Nailed it.

Adorableness: 7
Edibleness: 1 (You should never eat a clown. Maybe consider just inflating some giant burgers and fries next year?)

Will any new food balloons find their way into this year’s festivities? Watch the 91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at 9:00 a.m. ET on NBC this Thursday to find out.