I tried McDonald’s Halloween Boo Buckets: the good, the bad and the ‘tapas’

McDonald’s Halloween Bucketsalso known as Boo Buckets, are back for halloween. What the hell are they, you ask? They are simply trick-or-treat plastic buckets in three designs that replace the usual paper Happy Meal containers that McDonald’s uses to serve its kids’ meals.

The fast food chain first introduced the buckets in 1986 and has offered them off and on, with many changes, ever since. Their return wouldn’t seem like a big deal, except that a lot of people are nostalgic for their return, and anticipation for them dominated social media as the arrival of the cubes drew closer.

They’re now available at participating McDonald’s in the US, and I ordered one (actually two) to take a look.

McDonald’s Boo Bucket: My Review

I ordered two Happy Meals on the McDonald’s app and picked them up at my local McD’s drive-thru. The app lets me choose between a four-piece Chicken McNuggets, a six-piece Chicken McNuggets, or a hamburger (you can upgrade to a cheeseburger). The meal comes with a kid’s order of fries, and then you choose between additional fries or apple slices, and select a drink. At the end of my order, the app asked me what kind of toy I wanted and let me choose between “Halloween buckets,” “toddler toy,” or “no thanks.” (WHO WOULD REFUSE A TOY?)

Spoiler alert: I chose “Halloween cubes”.


You can choose between Chicken McNuggets or a Hamburger or Cheeseburger for your Happy Meal entrée.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

The Halloween buckets themselves are pretty much what you’d expect: plastic buckets that are really too small to hold a child’s Halloween candy haul unless they’re a toddler. But they are cute nonetheless.

There are three varieties, but my McDonald’s only had the white cube with McBoo’s ghost face on the first day of the promotion. (In the past, the white cubes glowed in the dark, but I tried mine and it wasn’t.) I asked when my McDonald’s would receive the other two colors: McPunk’n Orange and Witch Green. McGoblin, but the employees didn’t know that. I guess every restaurant can eventually get all three colors, but depending on demand it seems like a dice game as to which one they give out and when.

In the past, buckets sometimes came with plastic lids that you could snap on and off, and sometimes the lids even had cookie cutters built in. Not this year. Instead of a lid, there is… a kind of fake lid, i.e. a piece of plastic that resembles a gourd top arch between the two points where the bucket handle joins the bucket. It’s cute, but it’s likely to break five seconds after a child starts trick-or-treating. Also, as a resident of Minnesota, I think the design on the top of the white pumpkin resembles the now demolished Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.


Here are the McDonald’s Boo Buckets with the top of the sticker sheet in place.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

The food in your Boo Bucket is covered in what looks like a round piece of paper, which just so happens to have Halloween stickers on it. Both of my Happy Meals came with the same Ghost McBoo cube and the same sticker sheet. The decal sheet has skeleton drawings on one side and (mostly) pirate-themed decals that you can remove and use to “dress up” the skeletons on the other side.


Here are the two sticker sheets I received with the McDonald’s Boo Buckets.

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET

These Happy Meals do not come with additional toys. The cube is the toy. but mcdonald’s new Happy Meals for adults They come with toys: classic McDonald’s figures, plus a new character, all of whom have not two, but four eyes. (My McDonald’s is sold out. Something tells me Ronald and his friends have found a money-making oil well here, and I hope to see more Happy Meals for adults in the future.)

I give McDonald’s Boo Buckets a solid B+ as a promotion. The three different colors and faces are cute, and I fully understand why they can only sell one variety of buckets at a time. Imagine the poor exhausted clerk having to take orders when little Liam wants a ghost but Maddy wants a witch and meanwhile no one wants the pumpkin and the orange cubes pile up in the warehouse along with 800 gallons of ketchup. You get what you get, and don’t get mad, as they say in daycare.

I would have rated the promotion higher if each bucket had a real plastic lid instead of a piece of paper and the fake lid, but the stickers make a nice consolation prize and are like a toy.

I am not rating the food. It’s McDonald’s. Know what it is.

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