McDonald's Halloween Buckets Officially Returning: When Do the Happy Meal Pails Come Back?

McDonald's is serving up some nostalgia this spooky season. More than six years after they disappeared from the Golden Arches, and amid plenty of fan demand, McDonald's Halloween Pails are officially returning nationwide beginning Tuesday, Oct. 18. After rumors first surfaced in September that the Halloween-themed buckets would be returning this season, the fan-favorite fast food restaurant chain confirmed their upcoming return in a tweet on Thursday, teasing, "guess who's coming back."

When the Halloween Happy Meal Pails return later this month, guests will be available in three different styles, each of which pays homage to past designs. The trio of bucket designs includes McBoo, a white ghost, McPunk'n, an orange pumpkin, and McGoblin, a green witch. Each of the pails also features a raised, decorated lid, with McBoo having a white pumpkin top lid, McPunk'n featuring an orange pumpkin top lid, and McGoblin boasting a green witch hat lid. The pails, which come with all of the typical fixings of a Happy Meal order, do not include a toy, as the buckets are the added treat.

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.


In September, reports surfaced that McDonald's was planning to reintroduce Halloween Pails, though those reports remained nothing but rumors until the chain's Thursday confirmation. Guests can find Halloween Pails at participating locations nationwide for a limited time starting Oct. 18. The pail will stick around through Monday, Oct. 31 or while supplies last.