McDonald’s Scooby-Doo Halloween Pails!

For the third year in a row, McDonald’s brought back the ol’ trick-or-treat pails. Think of them as the spiritual successors to the “McBoo” pails of the ‘80s. What they lack in charm, they make up for in sooo many stickers!

2012’s pails have a Scooby-Doo theme. This surprised me. I was unaware of any recent Scooby-Doo exploits that could possibly warrant co-branded buckets stuffed with greasy food. What has this dog been up to?

Hmm. Looks like it came with a coupon for the Big Top Scooby-Doo DVD. I guess that’s it? Must be.

I never heard of that movie until now. If Wikipedia can be believed, there’s a very good reason to see it: Mindy Cohn supplies the voice of Velma. Why didn’t I know this? You’ll probably remember her as Natalie Green, but let’s not forget Mindy’s legendary spot on Celebrity Ghost Stories, where she battled against Pasadena’s trickiest dead kid. I love Mindy Cohn.

There are three different pails available, but at different times. You’re supposed to eat at McDonald’s all through October if you want a shot at a full collection.

Fortunately, I got the one I wanted most, right off the bat. The white one, with the ten decapitated Scooby-Doo heads on it. It called to me.

Each pail serves the purpose of a Happy Meal toy, but they also act as Happy Meal containers. Your food arrives right inside the bucket, and good luck getting that McDonald’s stink off of the plastic.

Note how my cheeseburger’s cheese looks especially plasticky. That’s because it sat in my car for almost five hours yesterday.

Ever notice how when you hold a past-its-prime McDonald’s cheeseburger, you do so in the same way you’d hold a dead hamster? How you’re super careful not to drop it, and yet unbelievably fearful of getting too close or squeezing too hard?

Why do we do this?

I’m still fascinated by the apple slices. I know they’ve been in Happy Meals for a while, but I’ll never get used to seeing fruit in what was historically a pile of everything but fruit.

I love Ronald’s “now don’t you forget” pose on the apple bag. He looks like he’s preemptively admonishing any would-be fruit-skippers. “Fries then fruit or fruit then fries – the choice is yours, but you better eat both.” Only, if Ronald said that, it would rhyme.

The reverse side of the paper lid doubles as a sticker sheet, and that’s where the fun begins. There are oodles of naked Scooby heads all over that bucket, and with these stickers, you can dress him up. You can even turn him into a dog mummy with a big gray mustache and a monocle. I know you’re into it.

I’m not sure if I like these Scooby-Doo buckets as much as the previous few editions. It was more enticingly surreal to put stickers on naked Potato Heads in 2010, and the 2011 version had a great generic feel that was more true to the spirit of the original McBoo pails.

Doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate them, though. Scooby just had really big shoes to fill. He’s made some great buckets, and he let me give him x-ray vision. (Like he didn’t want it.)

Before I return to my couch-shaped coffin, I must share two important notes:

#1: When I was taking these photos, I had the strangest sense of déjà vu. I know I’ve photographed McDonald’s treat pails before, but this was a very intense and a very specific kind of déjà vu. Like, I went to put the “wizard beard” sticker on Scooby-Doo, and very strongly felt that I’d put that exact same wizard beard sticker on Scooby-Doo before. Doesn’t sound like much, but I was totally creeped out.

#2: I saw the worst thing at McDonald’s. While waiting way too long for them to produce my Happy Meal (or perhaps time only felt longer, as I was pretty self-conscious about being in public with a goddamned Scooby-Doo bucket), I saw who seemed to be the only guy preparing food perform the most dramatic hand-wipe-nose thing EVER. Right over his plastic glove, too. People are people, but I couldn’t handle this. The worst thing was, he saw me looking at him. He knew that I knew.

This is a recreation of what I saw:

Well, it was going to be a recreation of what I saw, but I gave up. I had grand plans of drawing my hand-wiping-nose enemy right into this McDonald’s kitchen scene, but my Photoshop abilities just couldn’t match up to my artistic vision.

So there will be no recreation.

PS: The Creepy Commercials Countdown will be updated later today. If you haven’t kept up with it, there are so many wonderful Halloween things waiting to be watched and read. Also, still peddlin’ those Halloween prints — next batch ships tomorrow!

  • JohnV

    @Matt: Is that kitchen picture of McDonald’s, did you take that yourself or just grabbed it off the Internet?

    My kid got the 2010 and 2011 Halloween pails, (liked the 2011 the best) but I think we’re going to sit out this year’s (the purple SD one is cool though). I used to watch Scooby-Doo all the time as a kid but my kid she’s not into SD. Probably a bit too young for the new show. I’m not a big fan of McD’s food. Took the family to Wendy’s before going pumpkin picking this Sunday, the food is so much better IMO. Only thing is McD’s gets the best kids’ meal toys without a doubt.

    Ugh…now I have that McD’s cheeseburger and plastic smell in my brain. :)

  • Cameron T.

    Picked up one of these yesterday. First time I’ve seen the roboticized drink-machine in the drive through. Completely hands-off! It was creepy.

  • The Ghost of Apple’s Good Name

    The sticker with the puffy jowls and fangs threw me for a second. I was all “WTF? Why did they include a padded bra?”

  • EMAG

    Yeah, I looked at these, but took a pass this year on the McDonald’s Halloween buckets. For me, 2011 was definitely the best of the pail resurgence. However, this season slightly redeemed itself with stickers themed from “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?” – my personal fav of the whole franchise.

    I think the clear Halloween McDondald’s Happy Meal winner this season was the disembodied hand toy from the Hotel Transylvania movie. Each of the individual fingers move as you push it around!

    Also, Matt, not sure if you knew, but Halloween Ghoul–Aid is back; I picked some up from Target on Saturday.

  • JohnV
  • Black Llama

    Received my Halloween 2012 print today. Most epic piece of mail ever. Also, the note from Matt was a nice personal touch and will be kept with the print when it’s framed.

  • Mystie

    Hm. I got a Spongebob Happy Meal a few weeks back and my fries looked way different than your fries. I got a red fry container the size of a business card with like 7 fries in it. Looks like you got a normal size fry.

    I usually go to McDonald’s a million times this month to buy drinks for Monopoly stickers, but I had to give up carbonated beverages, and no way I’m drinking that much Hi-C. I’m probably missing out on all kinds of photo prints and movie rentals.

  • Boomingechoes


    Except we’re talking about McDonalds and not the other guys. Aside from Matts proof above I can confirm because of various “for the toys” Happy Meal runs (Notably whenever they have Pokemon or Star Wars related items) that theres no queary to if you want fries or apples -they throw all in the bag, and more or less like Matt said, Ronalds expecting you to finish the whole meal.

    As for those kids -you alsoo realize that thier parents were probaly raised in the late 70s to mid 80s, and like all of us from that time were lead to believe that fast food was acceptible or even that eating ANY breakfast is better then none? Its really easy to forget that this whole “save the kids/the world from all horrible foods” thing is still a very new battle and is being absolutely undermind by the way we live and the cheapness and ease of acquiring that sort of food, and the fact that no ones stopping the juggernaught we call advertising.

    Personally, I never ate too bad myself but I also didnt really care to watch what I was eating till just over the last month I landed in the ER and was diagnosed with serious hypertension (like, REALLY serious). And the whole battle in progress has sort of ripped the veil off of how bad we ALL eat without even knowimg it. Try being forced into a low sodium diet and finding out how unnavoidable sodium (and lots of it) really is. Its a culinary nightmare.

  • Goob

    Boomingechoes I know what you mean. My best friend has diabetes and liver cirohsis. He isn’t supposed to have sugar, sodium or protein. Very low protein like 7g a day. That is harder for your liver to process. When he eats it he gets sleepy. It’s because his body is working on digesting.

    This last few months I have been focused on working and other things so I have been making boxed meals a lot. And those have tons of sodium. But I thought well I don’t want to spend an hour or more in the kitchen every day. Now I am making healthier foods. Today we had a chicken sandwich for dinner and a squash side dish. The sandwich isn’t that healthy but the squash is. I am fat lol but I think it’s because I don’t exercise. I want to lose weight this next year. I want to get my shit together. And that is part of it. I want to have a balance as far as food is concerned. You have to cheat sometimes. That is basically my take on it.

  • drew do

    I tell my patients to exercise 30 min a day (cardio) and you can pretty much eat whatever you want as long as you portion control. I have one girl who was 24 with diabetes and hypertension who was obese. She lost 80 lbs just counting calories with My Fittness Pal app and brisk walking 6x/week. No more diabetes or high blood pressure and as a side bonus is also off her depression meds. I love patients like her!

  • Annette

    Being a health nut takes so much energy and worry and effort, and I have enough problems with anxiety as it is without adding “IS THIS FOOD GOING TO KILL ME” onto the pile. I’m gonna die someday anyhow, and I’m probably gonna get diabetes no matter what I do (literally everyone on my mom’s side of the family has it).

    That being said, I try to avoid overly processed stuff. I try to limit eating out to once a week or less (though admittedly that’s more for financial reasons than health reasons). I rarely drink soda and when I do I get the fancy sugar-sweetened stuff, and I recently quit taking sugar in my coffee (still put half-and-half in it though).

  • mimitchi33

    Matt, the deja vu you had with the wizard beard reminds me of this video:

    Also, to anyone reading, when was the last time you’ve seen a coupon come with a Happy Meal or kids meal toy? I knew Applebee’s does that on every promotion they do, but I’ve never seen that in such a long time.

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  • JZ

    The LOVE the McDonald’s Halloween buckets! And I’m with ya, the generic buckets were the better – not a fan of the random Scooby appearance.

    I also ate the apple slices…and an additional 10 nuggets…