First Look: 2013 McDonald’s Halloween Happy Meals Revealed!

2013 McDonald’s Halloween Happy Meals

Don’t let the title of this piece fool you. It could just as easily have been (and almost was): WTF Happened to McDonald’s Halloween Happy Meals This Year?

Seriously. For one they’re no longer called McBoo Pails (they’re just… Happy Meals) which sucks, but ignorable. Secondly, what McDonald’s marketing genius decided that Angry Birds Star Wars and Monster High would represent Halloween?! Monster High I can sort of get because, well, they’re are monsters – but come on! The pails aren’t even semi kid-friendly spooky, they’re just cheap merchandising cash-ins.

grimace-grapeWhen the McBoo Pails Halloween Happy Meals first returned in 2010 I was filled with nostalgic glee. Granted, I’m not a huge Potato Head fan but McDonald’s got it it right with a design that was clearly Halloween and even a bit fun to play with (stickers, online game, cool bucket design). Then, in 2011, the bar dropped a little with a generic (but still true McBoo) pail that reminded me of the classic designs after which, in 2012, McDonald’s got back on the merchandise bandwagon with Scooby-Doo. Not bad… but not great either.



So What’s Eating Grimace Grape, you might ask? Well, there’s a few things:

Gender Stereotypes

Okay, so I’m not a market research analyst, but when it comes to gender neutral things like – oh, I don’t know – HALLOWEEN why is it necessary to have a “boys version” and a “girls version?” It’s almost like saying that only boys can like Angry Birds and only girls can like Monster High. One of the great things about the classic McBoo pails was that they wasn’t any such distinction – just a ghost, a pumpkin and a witch.


Where’s Halloween?

Aside from the aforementioned monster connection with Monster High there’s absolutely nothing Halloween-ish about these pails. Nothing. Even the handle designs which in past versions have been neat things like skulls or bats have become nothing more than misshapen logos for the brands McDonald’s is promoting. Without being imbued with the Halloween spirit these really aren’t McBoo pails – heck, they’re not even Halloween Happy Meals.


Missed Opportunities

I get it, really, I do. If McDonald’s needs some sort of merchandising tie-in to justify these pails, that’s fine. I also get that we’ll never (ever) see any R-Rated Horror Happy Meals, but there’s SO many more cartoons/products that they could’ve chosen. Despite no longer being in syndication, The Grimm Adventures of Billy and Mandy would’ve been perfect! Or, if they need something more fresh, there’s been some pretty awesome Halloween episodes of Phineas and Ferb. Heck, Disney XD’s Camp Lakebottom is all about monsters, ghosts and a haunted campground!


What are your thoughts on this year’s Halloween Happy Meals?

Source: Euclid Boo

Written by Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

2237 posts
  • Jason Vlack

    Boo……get it?

    • Jason Vlack

      or McBoo

  • Horrible. These could come out in April. Halloween pails should be HALLOWEEN-ish. Bah.

  • I totally agree. Even go back to McDonald characters on the pails in costume or trick or treating.

  • McD’s has been doing the gender thing for years. They probably think it’s better for them to offer kids a choice but just as many adults look at it and think it’s another example of gender pigeon-hole’ing.

    There is nothing Halloween about the Angry Birds ones, they just happen to be out at Halloween. I’d like to meet the person who crossed Angry Birds with Star Wars in a dimly light alley with a lightsaber.

    • ladracul

      Speaking as a “Monster High” fan, we’re disappointed they didn’t give us anything better like little accessories or mini-dolls. (And I hope this will do well so we can get THAT next year.) Some of us are either happy because they’ve been collecting the pails regardless, or some are like, “Hell, I’ll just put my random makeup/doll accessories/whatever in it”. I am glad that the BK promotion is “The Simpsons”, but so far, I’ve seen nothing.

      • ladracul

        Also forgot to mention I e-mailed McDonalds about their gender stereotyping. They gave me a BS answer. I am irritated that they have had things that appeal to girls in the past like “Star Wars” and “Pokemon”, yet label it as a boy’s toy. Hell, they do NOT treat “Pokemon” Happy Meals like that in Japan (They’re made for every kid), so who the hell is the genius who keeps pushing it? I’d like to call out the idiot at American Greetings who thinks this way as well. Are you aware girls LIKE these things?!

        • toolbox

          I agree with the gender segregation for the most part, but most boys will not want a barbie and most girls will not want batman. Of course there are times its different as with my children; both like monster high andboth like super hero’s. The problem is democracy. If you hand out Barbie’s regardless then there will be a boy that complains. You’re still welcome to have a girl and ask for a boy toy. Parents can be responsible for something. We don’t have to depend on others to change the way the world has typically been for a small amount of gender inspecifics. Millions love McDonalds and you’ll still go there whether they ask, “girl or boy toy?” So we may as just answer with the answer that suits our needs.

  • This is Burger King’s chance to to swoop in and wow us this year! C’mon Burger King…

    • Hadn’t thought about that before – good point!

  • I spit on these pails. PTTOOWEE!!! Why have they done this? McDonalds wants for nothing. A merchandising tie in was absolutely unnecessary! Boo on you McD’s!

  • toolbox

    The pails have always been a waste anyhow. I don’t care how old a child is, they’re not fitting their loot in there. The disappointment comes when Monster High FINALLY gets a happy meal spot and its wasted on this garbage? It matters not what image is on the pails, gender segregation is the happy meal way. The suggestions for the images in this article would just be even more dissatisfying. Agreed though that the original pails would suffice as its a wasted treat no matter which way we launch our distaste. But a set like the recurring Barbie’s would have been a good angle for monster high to make their debut. Be as disappointed in Mattel as you are McDonalds. I’m certain the main brand has more to do with the decision than the restaurant. Look at smurfs, true to their original form and a collection to fight for. Boo pails… Pfft.

  • Rich

    Wah. Scooby Doo is about as Halloween as Angry Birds is, yet you were okay with that and hate the idea of Monster High. As for boys/girls, how many Happy Meal toys end up being girls/boys? Every month it seems the question is “boy toy or girl toy?” but now you’re upset about it? Weak.

  • I don’t usually collect Happy Meal toys, but if I find them cute or funny or just happen to like the property I will. After having just finished collecting the superdeformed Wizard of Oz “girl” toys I was looking for a nice gender-neutral Halloween pail. In years past it’s been Halloween themed Mr. Potato Head or Scooby Doo… upon finding out about Star Wars Angry Birds and Monster High I was kind of disappointed, however the collector bug in me had to get at least one, so I decided to go for Monster High, because it was at least Halloween-ish.

  • Luke Wiliams

    I’m really hoping for x2 things this Halloween. Firstly that McDonalds go back to the Halloween Mcboo pail roots and design an actual halloween design, like the witch, pumpkin or ghost, and secondly, the Pail’s are released in the UK.
    Each year I email McDonalds UK HQ and ask whether or not they will be relasing Halloween toys, and every year they say ‘unfortunately not’.
    Here’s to 2014 – fingers crossed haha