Category Archives: Nostalgic Eats

Celebrating 35 Years Of McDonald’s Halloween Buckets

Celebrating 35 Years Of McDonald's Halloween Buckets

Halloween in the eighties ruled. Being born in 1982, this allowed me to live most of my childhood throughout the glorious decade, following being an angsty pre-teen during the Grudge era, and ending my adolescent years as the Class of 2000. I feel pretty lucky to have experienced these monumental changing of the tides; but one thing that has changed too much and I fondly miss, is the way Halloween WAS growing up. Most people could attribute that to, “eh, it’s never the same as when you were a child”; which is of course, true. However, some Halloween traditions should never have gone away- and that one is the McDonald’s Halloween Buckets.

I’ll never forget the first commercial I saw for these national treasures. It was during a CBS airing for Garfield’s Halloween Adventure, which I uploaded in it’s entirety WITH that commercial in the most cringe way possible, but hey, I tried. Anyways, I along with all other kids my age became obsessed. With the arrival of October meant shopping for noisy plastic costumes with masks at our local Sav-On drugstore, Halloween community carnivals, Halloween parades at school, and of course McBoo and friends.

The orange bucket Happy Meals that originally were released in 1986, resembled that of a pumpkin and had a variety of three available; McPunk’n, a traditional jack-o-lantern face; McBoo, a ghost face; and McGoblin, the “scariest” of the three- which is the one I still have to this day!

The buckets themselves were nowhere near large enough to take on a night of heavy tricks or treats, but they sure were great storage pails and maintained a versatile function for the past 30 years. This little bastard went from holding my Polly Pockets and stickers in the 80s’, to pins, hair accessories, and makeup in my teenage 90s’, and circling back today in 2021, where I actually use it to hold my rather large collection of face masks. Not a terrifying Halloween mask by any means, but considering everything, they’re just as scary these days.

While most know to believe the Halloween buckets weren’t available until 1986, that’s not actually entirely accurate. McDonald’s ran a test promotion in the Boston and New York area with prototypes of several Halloween Happy Meal Buckets from October 11 thru October 31, 1985 . After a successful run, they were introduced nationally in 1986. They came back the following year after but for some reason were absent in 1988. Then in 1989, the buckets got a mild makeover with McBoo turning white and a new friend- the McWitch, complete with pointy hat on the lid!

In 1990, the buckets added some glow in the dark flair to the designs, while changing the faces entirely to a more cartoonish look- one that I personally think is less than the originals, but not a bad second-place prize if these are the ones you had. In 1991, the buckets were replaced by vinyl glow-in-the-dark trick or treat bags, which get a LOT OF SHIT by Halloween bucket lovers, but I actually used this fucker for trick-or-treating and it served me well. The handles seem pretty flimsy, but this bastard held up for a full bag filled with Tootsie Rolls and Mr. Bones. So I can’t hate on them.

To keep in with the now tradition of refreshing the successful Halloween product, 1992 saw another makeover to McPunk’n, McBoo, and McWitch with minor facial changes, but with the addition of a new cookie cutter lid!

And that my friends, was the last time we got a quality McDonalds Halloween Bucket. After taking yet, another hiatus in 1993, the pails came back, with a more “modern” makeover that just sort of plain sucked. McWitch looked like an angry cartoon drunk, and even though they still had the cool cookie cutters, it seemed less magical than their predecessors.

After this monumental modern fuck-up, the pails again disappeared until 1999, when they came back only as a duo, with no more spoopy faces. Instead we got Halloween scenes that wrapped around the bucket featuring Mcdonald Land characters. On the upside, the cookie cutters were still there.

In 2001, the quality diminished further and the cookie cutter lids were abolished entirely. We got the same cartoonish scenes around the pail, but we got bat handles instead on the lid now- which although sort of cool, were so damn uncomfortable, cutting into your palms like Shakaka the Great White Bat trying to escape Ace Ventura’s hands while running through the jungle.

In 2010, Mr. Potato Head was apparently spooky enough to get a themed Halloween pail. This is where the downfall of a soft society began folks.

The 2011 pails were somewhat of a return to nostalgia with a pumpkin or a monster face, along with the again, gnarly bat handles. But that was the last time we would see Halloween faced pails at all. Following years brought cartoon themed buckets such as Scooby-Doo, Monster High, and eventually Minions pails. Then, the year that ended it all in 2016, the pails made their final appearance with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown– in which I guess if they’re gonna go out, at least it’s with a Halloween classic and not a damn Potato Head toddler toy.

It’s been 35 years since the nostalgic Halloween buckets entered our childhood Halloween fantasies and while these little pieces of big corporate plastic may seem trivial, they serve as a staple of fond Halloween memories for the kids of past generations. It would seem fitting if indeed, McDonalds celebrated this milestone with a grand return of McBoo and friends, however, I haven’t heard of any plans to do so. McDonald’s was once, the king of fast food Halloween and no one did better promotions for the favorable holiday than the french fry giants. I’m not sure what’s happened in recent years that the company has turned the cold shoulder to our beloved holiday, but it’s almost as if it’s become a traumatic break-up with an abusive ex. They barely acknowledge the holiday even exists anymore. In any regard, I’ve championed for the comeback for as long as I can remember, and I’ll never stop fighting the good fight.

You Can Now Buy Goosebumps Monster Blood Ice Cream!

YOU CAN NOW BUY GOOSEBUMPS MONSTER BLOOD ICE CREAM!
Credit: Salt and Straw

Monster Blood is back baby and just in time because Holy Horrorland it’s HOT! Cousins Tyler and Kim Malek, founders of Salt and Straw have teamed up with Scholastic for a monster summer in a collaboration effort infusing tasty treats and, well, the holy grail of sweaty Summer days- ice cream available for a limited time at the shop!

Now through July 1st, 2021, Salt & Straw’s Rad Readers menu will be available in the company’s brick and mortar stores as well as for online order nationwide.

With the launching of R.L. Stine’s Slappyworld series and the newly released “Monster Blood Is Back” earlier this year, the delightful treats shop has concocted a blend of salted Mango ice cream with streaks of citrus-y, shiny green goo with chunks of deep red strawberry bark.

Sounds about on par with what I would expect a Goosebumps flavored ice cream to go with!

In addition to the nostalgic nature of Goosebumps, Salt and Straw has also unleashed these limited flavors in conjunction with other famed Scholastic books to their menu:

Geronimo Stilton & The Frosted Frozen Feast (Author: Geronimo Stilton)⁠⁠
Smile: Words & Pictures (Author: Raina Telgemeier)⁠⁠
Amulet: Fruit of the Gadoba Tree (Author: Kazu Kibuishi)⁠⁠
Twins: A Matching Pear w/ Twinnamon Swirl (Author: Varian Johnson & Shannon Wright)⁠⁠

You can order your Monster Blood summer cool-down by ordering through Salt and Straw’s website HERE.


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“Gimmie Dem Mr. Bones!” 10 Nostalgic Pieces of Halloween Candy

Candy has always been KING at Halloween, and one can’t deny remembering Halloweens’ past in our adolescent years with a great fondness. As we opened our eyes in the comfort of our cartoon character bedsheets on October 31st, we immediately thought of the glorious haul of Halloween treats we would possess that night. Pillowcases full of homemade popcorn balls, candy apples, and even the dreaded nickels and pennies were not only expected, but a Halloween staple in what seems like not so long ago.

Looking inside my child’s trick-or-treat bags these days is a far cry from what they looked like when I was a kid. Homemade treats from neighbors are strictly taboo as urban myths have pretty much put an end to that era. Long gone are the days of accidentally ingesting wax and smoking pseudo candy cigarettes. And I kind of miss it! Kids these days will never know about us giving absolute zero fucks and taking full trust in our neighbors were’t trying to poison or hide razor blades in our Snickers Bars.

However, 2020 ain’t got nothing on the very low possible risk of this EVER happening.

Still one of the most terrifying scenes in “Halloween 2” from a child’s view.

What’s even worse this year, and a big reason why I’m writing this is that we don’t know what Halloween in 2020 will look like for many. Of course, I think most people will make up their own minds on whether to embrace their yearly trick or treating traditions or opt for something different to cater to their own comforts and safety. Either way I feel is OK. And in regards to the current shit show, I dug up this old article I wrote for Dread Central a few years back, revised it, and brought it home to Nightmare Nostalgia for some fuzzy-good childhood-Halloween memories because we could all use some of the good stuff right now!

*Although these candies are still very much available at old-time candy shops and online, I sure do miss seeing that super cool Mr. Bones in my kid’s pumpkin pails. So let’s take a stroll down Halloween memory lane and fondly remember the Halloween candy that has become an obscure item to see in present times. So let’s do our due diligence everyone and seek out some of these fun retro candies to put a smile on everyone’s face behind that mask this October 31st!

10. Candy Cigarettes

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Even with an unsavory past in regards to marketing, these were still pretty cool to get in your Halloween haul. Sitting around with friends negotiating candy trades with one of these suckers in your mouth made you feel like an adult, especially if you suckered someone out of their peanut butter cups. That one small “poof” of glory sugar smoke just made it that much more satisfying, and hey if you’re a rebel you can still pick up a few packs and hand them out to trick or treaters!

9. Whack-O-Wax Lips, Fangs, and Mustaches

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These over-sized red lips and ‘stashes were such a fun addition to our candy stash, even if you ended up shitting out waxy poops the next day. As a matter of fact, I think I still have that waxy taste in my mouth from 1992. In any case, they still ruled. And you can still buy them!

8. Wonka’s Dino Sour Eggs

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This sweet and sour variation of the Gobstopper was way more interesting than its plain counterpart. Depending on how long you sucked on these bad boys, they would change colors and flavors, eventually shriveling up into what looked like dino doo-doo if you got that far without spitting it out.

7. Monster Candy

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Another variation of candy cigarettes was the Monster Candy that came in various tiny boxes that usually contained 2 sticks (if I can remember correctly).  They weren’t the tastiest, much like the latter, but goddamnit if they weren’t one of the coolest things to find in your pile of candy. Just look at that gorgeous packaging with Karloff and Lugosi. Are you really going to disagree?

6. Drac-Snax

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Oh man, Drac-Snax were THE TITS. Just like the Monster Candy mentioned above, this had some of the coolest packaging ever for Halloween treats. The hard fruit-flavored candies were not only good, but they completely captured the essence of what Halloween is all about. Bats, tombstones, and some poor headless sonofabitch.

5. Orange Juice Bubble Gum

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I may be alone on this one; however, I really, really, miss this stuff.  It was hard not to just slide all those tiny nuggets into your mouth all at once.  The Topps gum had different flavors available like grape and lemon, but orange was by far the best. It was pure candy crack, I tell you.

4. Nik-L-Lip

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Yes, the official name for these things was Nik-L-Lip, but we all just called them “wax juice.” You approached this in one of two ways: Either you bit the top off and sucked out all that sugary flavored syrup inside, or you just popped the fucker in your mouth, releasing an explosion of super sweet sugar-water onto your taste buds. Also, if you were like me, you chewed on the wax bottle until all the flavor was gone while, again, trying to avoid the waxy Halloween poops. Worth noting my significant other thinks I’m absolutely crazy for even including this. I say, give me my strange addiction!

3. Garbage Can-dy

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Who remembers sugary fish bones?! Or perhaps the old shoes along with some old soda bottles that definitely tasted a lot better than they looked. These Pez-like candies came in a super cool toy trashcan that you could use for storage. I personally used mine for Garbage Pail Kids stickers. It just seemed fitting.

2. PB Maxx

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Oh, PB Maxx, how I miss thee. The ULTIMATE chocolate-coated peanut butter bar was fuckin’ heaven. If history has taught us anything about nostalgia foods (such as the return of Ecto-Cooler, then we just might get to see it again IF our voices are strong enough. And I would be all kinds of okay with this.

1. Mr. Bones

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Was there really anything more radical than Mr. Bones? I mean, you not only got some delicious tart candy, but you got to build a skeleton out of your food! Oh yes, those sneaky bastards tricked us to use our minds to put together this jigsaw puzzle of a treat, and then devour it like an animal. Brilliance. Plus it came in a cool coffin box! The ultimate Halloween treasure treat was absolutely getting multiples of these spectacular candies. I miss you, Mr. Bones. You delicious little fellow.

While it isn’t TOTALLY the same, Amazon does have a pretty close in taste Skeleton Bones candy packs on their site. No fun toy coffin but if you want to get pretty close to the nostalgia factor, it’s an option!


What is a Halloween candy you would like to see make a comeback? Gimmie your retro rant below and let’s talk about it!