What Ever Happened To McDonald's Halloween Buckets?

Was there anything better than rushing home to pull a plastic ALF mask out of a cardboard box, putting it on, throwing on the matching garbage sack-like costume it came with, grabbing a cheap, orange flashlight and a plastic bucket painted like a jack-o-lantern, and heading out for a candy-fueled evening that would make any Oompa Loompa's best day look like child's play? (Maybe that's just us...) While trick-or-treating remains a popular way to celebrate Halloween, the holiday's list of required equipment has changed over the years. One of the more curious changes is the absence of the McDonald's Halloween bucket.

Admittedly, not everyone was a fan of the Halloween bucket itself being considered a happy meal toy rather than simply being a cool container the meal came inside. But, as Dinosaur Dracula points out, the buckets took on a life all their own: "Those pails were not simply 'one-and-done' toys... Instead, they became forever fixtures. Too large to lose and too durable to break, kids used the pails for just about everything: Crayons, LEGO pieces, action figures... everything." With such versatility and longevity, it's a little spooky these fast-food artifacts have been missing from Halloween as of late.

Where have all the Pumpkin Pails gone?

When McDonald's debuted the iconic Halloween version of their pails in 1986 (following a perky, non-holiday specific bucket launch years earlier). The buckets were orange, with curved pumpkin-like tops. They came in three designs: the just-got-scared McBoo, the might-scare-you McGoblin, and the happy-go-lucky McPunk'n (via Tedium).

Over the years, the buckets' designs changed, according to Dread Central. In 1989 a new McBoo was on the scene, along with McGhost, a white, ghost jack-o-lantern, and McWitch, a green witch complete with pointed hat lid. Then, 1990 saw a glow-in-the-dark McBoo and 1992 brought with it cookie-cutter lids. There were some even bigger departures from the original designs in the following years, including everything from scenes with Ronald McDonald to themes like Mr. Potato Head, "The Book of Life," and "Minions." In 2016, the last year of the pumpkin pail party, McDonald's released Halloween buckets with a "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (via Dread Central).

But, will future generations of Halloween revelers get to pick up their own Halloween buckets complete with crispy French fries and yummy McNuggets? The popularity of the Halloween buckets isn't lost on McDonald's archivist Mike Bullington, according to McDonald's corporate website. Bullington noted the whimsical vessel's popularity: "I think the favorite items have probably been the Pumpkin Pails, but Halloween at McDonald's has been successful year after year. And as a customer, it's exciting to see the new ideas generated." We have a new idea: Bring back the Pumpkin Pails!