Is McDonald's Bringing Back Happy Meal Halloween Buckets?

When it comes to holidays, the fast food industry has an uncanny ability to capitalize on the festivities. For example, McDonald's has little association with Saint Patrick of Ireland, but the chain's famed Shamrock Shake has cemented itself as a symbol of both spring and St. Patrick's Day. Why should Halloween — the season of ghosts, ghouls, and buckets full of candy — be treated any differently?

Fast food chains' attempts at cashing in on spooky season have been as mixed as your average trick-or-treat haul. In 2015, Burger King sold a Whopper with a pitch-black bun, which completely flopped due to some rather embarrassing side effects. The previous year, Subway's Halloween ad, meant to portray its sandwiches as a "healthy" alternative to candy, was slammed for its sexist undertones (via The Hollywood Reporter). 

Of course, there have been more successful forays into the Halloween season than black burger buns and body-shaming commercials. Just as McDonald's managed to instill a green milkshake as a symbol of St. Patrick's Day, the fast food giant made another nostalgic menu item a hallmark of October: the "Halloween Happy Meal," served in a retro trick-or-treat pail that's rumored to be returning in 2022.

Halloween Happy Meals could return in October

While most of today's McDonald's Happy Meals come in a standard red and yellow box, this wasn't always the case. Around Halloween in the 1980s and '90s, kids who ordered a Happy Meal would receive their food in a plastic pail decorated as a ghost, goblin, or pumpkin, which they could later use to hold their Halloween candy. But are these buckets coming back for the 2022 season, or are they going to keep gathering dust in the greasy McDonald's archives?

According to CNET, rumors are beginning to spread that these beloved buckets are making a comeback, fueled by a "leak" from within the company. The Nightmare Nostalgia blog claims that a photo of corporate events calendar suggests that Halloween pails may be making a return on October 4. Both outlets clarify that McDonald's has not released this calendar publicly, nor has the company confirmed its contents.

Additionally, food blogger @markie_devo posted what seems to be a promotion for Halloween Happy Meals, claiming that they are to make a nationwide return on October 18. The user, who often posts accurate updates about restaurant and grocery news, said they received the info through "inside sources" and a memo from fellow user @halloweenloversclub. Whether or not this claim holds any water is yet to be seen.