In 1995, Ronald McDonald couldn’t figure out what he was going to be for Halloween. One thing was for sure: he wasn’t going to the costume party dressed as a clown! This is the plot of “What Am I Gonna Be For Halloween?” the two-part McDonald’s Halloween-themed commercial from advertising agency Leo Burnett.
McDonaldland’s Biggest Halloween Fan
Ronald McDonald has always loved Halloween. Several years prior in 1986, the creatives at Leo Burnett introduced Ronald McDonald to Count McNuggula in the TV commercial “Scared Silly.”
The Count is revealed to be one of the McNugget Buddies! Inspired by Count Dracula, Count McNuggula lived in the spooky Nuggetvania castle. Everyone at the castle was busy cooking new, secret sauces for McDonald’s. Ronald got to see the inner workings of their laboratory — and giggle at the McNugget Buddies’ many spooktacular puns!
What Am I Gonna Be For Halloween? | Part One
Directed by Ron Finley, “What Am I Gonna Be For Halloween” was a tie-in with McDonald’s Halloween Happy Meal toys. Jim Engel designed the Halloween Happy Meal toys, a collection that consisted of four McDonaldland characters and their clip-on Halloween costumes.
Speaking of McDonaldland, their costume party is in full swing! Grimace is dressed as a ghost. The Hamburglar went as a bat. Birdie the Early Bird wore a pumpkin costume.
Even the kids joined in the fun! Leo Burnett creative Rich Seidelman shared with me some of the storyboard drawings from the spot. Kids dressed up as witches, vampires, and piglets. However, one of the kids still needs a costume. They have a “daddy” dressed in an oversized jacket and tie, so…
… Why not add a “mummy” to complete the costume pairing? Ronald’s got the outfit ready!
Everyone’s all dressed up and ready to go… Except for Ronald McDonald!
What Am I Gonna Be For Halloween? | Part Two
Who would Ronald be for Halloween? Seidelman shared with me a rough draft of his idea concept drawing for the commercial. As you can see, Ronald has trouble deciding on his final costume. He’s going to need a few costume changes in part two of this commercial!
Ronald McDonald Debuts His Funky Halloween Costumes
It only takes seconds and a revolving bookcase for Ronald to change into his costume collection, created by puppeteers Tim Blaney and Tony Urbano. Ronald sings to the delighted kids as he ponders what to wear.
He could be a goldfish in a goldfish bowl!
How about a chocolate-covered marshmallow?
Frankenstein’s Monster looks like the winning costume! But wait… Who’s that next to Ronald?
A confused Grimace asks, “Twins?” Yikes! This is no twinning situation. This is a real monster!
Ronald McDonald Meets Frankenstein’s Monster
What a plot twist to have with seconds left in the commercial! (All credit goes to writer Barbara Fallon for her witty work.)
“What does he want, Ronald?” A confused child asks Ronald.
Ronald listens as the Monster whispers in his ear. As reflected in Seidelman’s storyboards and the commercial, the Monster wants a Halloween costume of his own.
Ronald makes it magic for the Monster — and has him dress up as the iconic McDonald’s clown! Let’s do the Monster Mash, McDonaldland buddies!
Image Credits: Filming In McDonaldland