Like any elder millennial, I have a deep love for all things ’90s nostalgia. I recently bought a pair of Crocs covered in Lisa Frank print; I think daily about the taste of Dr Pepper Lip Smackers; and of course, I rushed out immediately to buy a Boo Bucket from McDonald’s the day they were released.
For those unfamiliar, the Boo Bucket is a plastic bucket decorated with a spooky character, intended to be used as a trick-or-treating pail or catch-all for any manner of childhood junk. The first buckets made their debut at McDonald’s in 1986, and they’ve been on offer intermittently up until 2016. Since that Halloween, there have been no Boo Buckets at McDonald’s, and Halloween obsessives have desperately awaited — and demanded — their return. Then, on October 18, they finally came back.
It’s easy enough to score one of the new Boo Buckets — just head to your local McDonald’s and order a Happy Meal, and your hamburger or chicken nuggets will arrive tucked neatly inside. The styles have changed over time, and this year, there are three options on offer — a ghost called McBoo, the obvious orange McPumpkin, and my personal favorite, the McGoblin, which I procured on the very first day of the Boo Bucket’s release, with a real rush of childlike excitement.
These buckets aren’t quite like those of my childhood. Back in the day, the McGoblin was known as the McWitch, but considering that some parents disapprove of their kids being exposed to “witchcraft” during the Halloween season, it’s probably smart that the chain chose this branding. But the chief complaint from millennials and other grumpy olds is that this year’s Boo Buckets don’t include a lid — and haven’t since 2001. Back in the ’90s, the Boo Bucket’s lid offered a hole through which your tiny hand could drop Snickers and boxes of Dots while trick-or-treating. Now, the buckets simply have a decorative handle — a witch’s hat on the McGoblin, a pumpkin on the McBoo — that does unfortunately look a little more chintzy than those old-school lids.
But because we’re adults now who probably will just sit at home eating candy instead of trick-or-treating on Halloween, a grown-up’s Boo Bucket doesn’t really need a lid. You can just fill it up with your favorite treats and start snacking, without a weird plastic lid to encumber the process of eating 47 mini Twix bars while watching Practical Magic and Halloweentown for the 487th time.
And while some might say that it’s wrong for adults to go get themselves a Boo Bucket, that this is something that should be reserved for children, I’d say that’s the exact wrong take. If anyone deserves the sweet release of nostalgia in these truly chaotic times, it’s those of us who are old enough to remember when the Boo Bucket was the coolest trick-or-treat pail in town.