McDonald's Brings Back Classic Halloween Happy Meal Buckets for Spooky Season

McDonald's is handing out a dose of nostalgia alongside treats this spooky season. In anticipation of Halloween, and more than three decades after they first rolled out, McDonald's Halloween Happy Meal pumpkin pails are reportedly set to return to the Golden Arches in October 2022.

The exciting news was first reported by NightmareNostalgia. In a Sept. 16 report, the site claimed that Halloween Happy Meals, and the iconic plastic buckets they come in, are set to return to McDonald's locations nationwide for the first time since 2016 beginning Tuesday, Oct. 18, according to a photo of the official office corporate calendar of events sent to the site by a McDonald's employee. Several other employees reportedly confirmed the legitimacy of the report. However, McDonald's has not yet publicly confirmed the return of the beloved pails, so it seems the report is nothing but rumor at the time being and fans will ultimately have to wait for official word from the company.

First introduced back in 1986, the Halloween Pumpkin Happy Meal took all of the fixings of a Happy Meal, but swapped out the traditional Happy Meal box for a spooky-themed pail. Three different pails were available – McPunk'n, McBoo, and McGoblin. The trio of pails, first tested in the Boston and New York area in 1985, returned for the 1987 Halloween season before undergoing a makeover in 1989 with the addition of a white ghost and a green witch, dubbed the McWitch pail.

The Halloween Pumpkin Happy Meal remained a staple in the early '90s, a period during which they underwent yet another makeover. In 1990, the buckets added a glow-in-the dark feature. When they returned in '91, however, they underwent an even bigger change, with McDonald's replacing the buckets with vinyl glow-in-the-dark trick-or-treat bags. In '92, McPunk'n, McBoo, and McWitch returned with new cookie-cutter lids. The bags disappeared for several years before returning in 1996 with new buckets featuring McDonaldland characters as Ronald McDonald, Grimace, and the Hamburglar. McDonald's then introduced new characters sporadically until 2016, when It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown-themed pails became the final Halloween Happy Meal.


NightmareNostalgia's sources did not say what the new Halloween Happy Meals pails will look like, so it is unclear if they will take on the traditional look from the '80s or if the chain will continue the more recent trend of theming the pails around popular characters. The return of the pails has yet to be confirmed by McDonald's. Stay tuned to for the latest updates!