I will always be loyal to McDonald’s, and that has little to do with the company’s food. God knows how many paper-wrapped cheeseburgers I tore through during adolescence, but what I really loved about the place was how it could turn nothing days into something days.
This was especially true during the Halloween and Christmas seasons. When I was growing up, that was when McDonald’s busted out its best promotions, turning garbage trinkets into must-haves, and giving every kid a reason to beg Mom not to cook.
Through these promotions, McDonald’s taught us that holidays weren’t just single days, but monthlong events constantly building to a crescendo. If that sounds like a stretch, I’ll remind you of the time they gave away Chicken McNugget figures dressed like Frankenstein, and how that made the second week of October feel like the last.
Yep. Halloween McNugget Buddies. Second to those adorable trick-or-treat pails, they were the best Halloween Happy Meal McDonald’s ever did.
The first McNugget Buddies promotion came in the late ‘80s, but back then, there was no Halloween branding. By the early 1990s, someone put two and two together and realized that costumed McNugget figures made perfect sense for Halloween.
Rechristened as Halloween McNugget Buddies, several sets were released at various points of the ‘90s, each with a new batch of wacky costumes. Watch this commercial — it tells the story better than I can:
At the time, Happy Meal “duds’ were few and far between, but the Halloween McNugget Buddies still shined brighter than almost every other set. We’d already been fed a steady diet of TV commercials that portrayed Chicken McNuggets as living, breathing characters with human facial features, and now we had a chance to OWN one of those cute fuckers. Really, the removable costumes were just gravy. Read More…
I adore the Halloween Countdown for a thousand reasons, but here’s one of the big ones: I get to bring back my Classic Creepy Commercials feature. Yay!
If you’re new to the site, know this: I love old TV commercials, but I especially love old HALLOWEEN commercials. Growing up in a time when our preferred forms of entertainment weren’t always at our fingertips, spooky commercials were absolutely essential parts of the Halloween season.
After all, without that ad where Ronald McDonald and the sentient Chicken McNuggets goofed off in Dracula’s castle, late September afternoons may have only felt like late September afternoons. See, we needed these commercials. They turned one night into a whole season.
Each volume of Classic Creepy Commercials collects (at least) five scary commercials from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Some will be directly Halloweeny, while others may only have the barest possible link. Either way, all are excellent mood-setters.
Some of these are from my collection; the rest come from our pal Larry P., who scraped the barrel one last time to give us this year’s ammunition.
Coca-Cola “Thirst Buster” Commercial! (1985)
This isn’t a Halloween commercial, per se, but since it features a Cokeized version of the Ghostbusters theme, I think you’ll give it a pass.
In 1985, Coca-Cola introduced its three-liter bottle. Since Ghostbusters was still majorly hot, they gave it the nickname of “Thirst Buster.” Afraid that customers wouldn’t make the mental leaps necessary to connect that to Slimer, they hired Ray Parker, Jr. to sing a special version of his magnum opus.
“When you come in first… with a real big thirst… who ya gonna call? THIRST BUSTER!”
If you ignore the fact that Bill Cosby pops up for a last-second cameo, it’s pretty much the perfect television commercial, filled with neon colors, erratic dancing, and the vague notion that three-liter bottles of Coke were in fact quantum tunneling spirits. Read More…
If one determines a Halloween season’s value through its goofy and spooky edibles, 2015 is a banner year. While lacking an obvious smoking gun — like 2013’s Fruity Yummy Mummy or 2014’s Ghostbusters donuts — this year is making up for it in sheer volume.
Need proof? Okay! Shown above are just three of at least eight different Halloween cereals available in 2015. (And yes, all of them will be featured on the site in due time.)
This trio, made by Kellogg’s and corralled together as their “for kids” branch of spooky treats, was an incredible surprise. It’s been several years since Kellogg’s fully embraced the season, and boy, they are really making up for lost time. Read More…