McDonald's Halloween Pails Are Officially Returning

The Happy Meal pails, first launched in the 1980s, haven't been on the menu in six years.

The nostalgic Halloween Happy Meal is making its return to participating McDonald’s restaurants nationwide
Photo: McDonald’s

For weeks now, rumors have been swirling on social media that McDonald's nostalgia-inducing Halloween Pails — first launched way back in 1986 — would be returning this year. As a journalist, I need more than rumors, so I reached out to McDonald's corporate and… received no response. Sometimes no response is actually quite telling, but despite our suspicions, we remained patient, waiting for an official date.

Today, consider those suspicions confirmed, as McDonald's admitted that, yes, the rumors are true: McDonald's Halloween Pails in their self-described "OG" characters — McBoo, McPunk'n, and McGoblin — will be returning for the first time since 2016 to participating McDonald's restaurants nationwide from October 18 until October 31 while supplies last.

But though the pails remain mostly the same (the original lids have been replaced with two-dimensional silhouettes embedded in the handles), McDonald's realizes that times have changed, and so, for 2022, the burger chain is bringing the pails back with a social media campaign hoping to inspire fans to find ways to keep these buckets from going to waste after Halloween and reuse them for more than just holding candy.

The nostalgic Halloween Happy Meal is making its return to participating McDonald’s restaurants nationwide

"[The pails] may have vanished for a while... but that didn't stop you from finding clever ways to keep their spooky spirit alive — from potting plants in them to using them as OOTD accessories," McDonald's wrote in the announcement. "So, in honor of the return of one of your fave Happy Meals, we're serving up five fan-inspired ways to reuse your Halloween Pail after you've enjoyed the delicious eats inside."

Specifically, McDoanld's has teamed up with five TikTok users (minimum followers: 483,000) who are all releasing videos showing off ways to use the pails. Two of the ideas are for fledgling recording artists: "Music Mashups" and "Bucket Beats." Two are intended to enhance your interior design: "Decor to Die For" and "Pail Planter." And the last idea is intended to give your style a bit of McDonald's flair: "Spooky 'Fits."

Still, the real appeal of McDonald's Halloween Pails is grabbing one for your kids and using them for trick-or-treating. As much as McDonald's is looking to market them to adults with this new upcycling campaign, the real nostalgia comes from reliving your childhood.

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