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!