Thursday, September 12, 2013

McDonalds Treat Bags from 1990!



Coming at you straight from the year 1990 is a set of three vinyl trick or treat bags presented by none other than McDonald's. I was three when these suckers first debuted so while I cannot say I remember them specifically I do know that at some point in my early childhood I must have owned a couple of them. They are far to familiar looking for me not to have.

A bit of backstory seems in order before we dive into the logistics of the vinyl bags. Specifically, the McBoo Pail. Pretty much everyone remembers those old McBoo Pails from around the same period of time. And everyone has fond memories of them. Rightfully so as the McBoo Pail wasn't just a festive fall substitution to the traditional Happy Meal formula. Once in your possession the McBoo Pail became a thing you'd utilize year round.

It collected candy when you went trick or treating. It housed loose pens, pencils, and crayons during Christmas vacation. After that it made the perfect home for extra Lego's or HotWheels cars. I can remember converting one of my McBoo Pails into a makeshift piggy-bank that sat on top of my dresser for years. Collecting bits of loose change and lord knows what else.

Vintage Halloween Decoration
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Needless to say the McBoo Pail was the stuff of legend. Vinyl trick or treat bags... not so much. At least not at the time. In retrospect these things are pretty freaking awesome. But back then everyone cried foul when McDonalds attempted to shift away from the traditional pail formula.

While not as versatile as the McBoo Pail these vinyl bags have inherently much more charm and pizazz built into them. Surely they serve the intended function of being a trick or treat bag considerably better than the smallish pail counterparts. Even if they are not as versatile for the remainder of the year, I don't think it can be underestimated just how much better they serve their intended purpose than the McBoo Pail.

Besides, these treat bags do something extra special. They glow in the dark! But before we get to see that let's break down each one individually and see how they rank!

Vintage Halloween Decoration
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Lets kick things off with the Purple Boo Bag, who sort of looks like a cross between Casper the Friendly Ghost and Boo Berry. I feel like this was the character that McDonalds felt was the most franchiseable of the trio. Drawing clear inspiration from the original McBoo Pail. This ghost was clearly supposed to represent that only in a more literal form.

I've always had a bit of a soft spot for stupid looking ghost decorations and the Purple Boo Bag does a fine job of scratching that itch, despite the corny looking over-sized bow-tie.

It's a solid effort. Even if it is not the most memorable one of the bunch, no kid would shed many tears if they got stuck with Purple Boo Bag on Halloween night!

Vintage Halloween Decoration
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Next up is the Green Witch, who fills the obligatory 'item made specifically for little girls' quota that tends to come with promotional releases such as these. I wouldn't say she is the worst of the group... honestly none of them are that intrusive. But Green Witch is clearly the one I'd like to spend the least amount of time with on a Saturday night.

I've never been a fan of witches in general and the lime green seems better suited for the Christmas Season than dancing with the devil on All Hallow's Eve. Besides, the pink skin tone annoys me in ways you couldn't possibly imagine. Let's move on shall we.

Vintage Halloween Decoration
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I saved my favorite for last, Orange Funk-enstein! On paper a cartoon carbon-copy of Frankenstein dressed in a red jumpsuit with a neon pink sports coat and matching shoes sounds like the worst idea ever. Yet somehow the artists employed by McDonalds was able to pull it off in a big, big way.

In my humble opinion Orange Funk-enstein is the clear cut leader of the group. Best in show. Greatest costume. The most sincere pumpkin of them all. And it all starts off with the holiest of color choices... orange.

Orange belongs to the Halloween Season and no other holiday can come close to touching it. Being the only orange bag in the set basically ensures an automatic win but Funk-enstein has so much more going for him than simply his outlining color.

Frankenstein is among my top two or three movie monsters of all time. Any incarnation of him, cartoon or otherwise, is a big deal in my department. Despite obviously being aimed at a younger audience this variation of Frankentein's Monster hits home in all the right departments. From the flat top haircut and neck bolts (which in this case have been morphed into head bolts) to the green skin tone, this is actually a pretty good characterization of one of my personal favorite monsters.

What shoves this creation over the top has to be the inclusion of Funk-enstein's pink and red colored clothing. It makes him look like he belongs on the dance floor of a bad 1970's era disco. It's completely outrageous and somehow works!

I could spend another 18 paragraphs talking about why I like Orange Funk-enstein the best but we have other bridges to burn. Chiefly, the fact that these bags glow in the dark! Don't you dare think I forgot about that little detail!

Vintage Halloween Decorations
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Eeeekkk!!!! Joy! I am a complete sucker for anything that glows in the dark. It may be the oldest trick in the book but I'll be damned if its not my favorite trick! And for some 23 year old bags, they all still glow surprisingly well despite my set being a little beat up and worse for wear.

As per the norm with items that glow in the dark, the ghost is the best of the bunch. Proving my theory that he was the one McDonalds banked as being the best. The witch kind of sucks but one was half expected and nothing will ever deter my love of that Funk-enstein bag, even if all the wrong parts glow.

... and you know what, this isn't even everything these old treat bags can do. I saved one final trick for last! It turns out the back of each bag features almost as much detail as the front. Behold!

Vintage Halloween Decorations
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It's like the gift that keeps on giving! The back side of each vinyl bag features a unique spooky themed animal to accompany each monster. The ghost has an awesome blue bat, Funk-enstein sports a pair of mice, and the witch has a corny cat lounging about on her hat.

Clearly someone put a lot of attention to detail into each one of these bags. Three unique characters. Different front and back sides. Bonus glow in the dark sections. It all adds up to a considerably more rounded out package than the McBoo Pail could ever deliver... and yet nobody talks about about these treat bags from 1990.

Why? I have no real answer. Everyone was so caught up in McBoo-madness that anything other than those pail's just wouldn't make due. Even if ultimately that other thing is considerably better than what came before it.

3 comments:

  1. Just found this amazing site from The Holidaze. Excellent job!

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    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate the comments =) Stay spooky my friend!

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  2. Fun story. I found an old Halloween picture of me and my sister that was unlabeled on the back so I couldn't figure out what year it was taken. So I did the best thing I could think of (aside from emailing my mom): I did a Google search for the purple ghost bags we were holding. Lo and behold! Here I am. Fun little trip down memory lane. I know we had a few of the pails too. I wonder whatever happened to those. Probably long gone to a garage sale.

    Question for you: were these bags ONLY distributed in 1990, or were they around in 1991 too? I'm getting mixed results. Your site pretty definitively lands them in 1990, but if they repeated them the following year then this picture could have been taken either year as well. Does it matter? eh, probably not. Does it matter to me and my anal retentive need for accuracy? Yes, yes it does. ;)

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