Brand mascots have plenty of tricks and treats up their sleeves on Halloween. From costume contests to ghoulish graveyards, we’re looking back at seven of our favorite commercials featuring the sometimes spooky, always a bit silly antics of characters on All Hallow’s Eve. Join us… if you dare.
“Halloween Cookies” | Pillsbury
Is there anything cuter than the Pillsbury Doughboy on Halloween? (Cuter than cute: he’s a-dough-able.)
Poppin’ Fresh is ready to sneak a scare on the family in his ghost costume but bumps up against a jack-o’-lantern. Next to the pumpkin is a treat that’s even better than candy: it’s a plate of Pillsbury Ready to Bake cookies. The Doughboy gets so distracted by the cookies that the kids wind up spooking him by the end of the spot!
“Count Steve” | Pizza Hut
Fans of Saturday Night Live’s “The Mr. Bill Show” sketch will immediately get the reference in Pizza Hut’s “The Pizza Head Show” commercials. Happy-go-lucky pizza slice Pizza Head is terrorized by a pizza cutter named Steve. Meanwhile, the Pizza Hut narrator doesn’t seem to catch on that perhaps they’re the one guiding Pizza Head into all these accidental, wacky dilemmas. Hmm…
In “Count Steve,” Pizza Head is dressed up as a pirate and just finished a night of trick-or-treating. He’s ready to wrap up the night with a stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut. Yay!
Wait! The narrator points out that there’s one more place left to visit: a dark castle conveniently surrounded by thunder and lightning. Pizza Head is shocked to see so many likenesses of his nemesis Steve throughout the house — in a sarcophagus! a painting on the wall! — and dashes upstairs in an attempt to flee the property. Count Steve greets Pizza Head at the top of the stairs before turning into a bat and flying away with Pizza Head.
As Pizza Head shrieks to be put down, the narrator simply says, “See you next time!” You mean there’s another Halloween like this in store for Pizza Head?! Buckle up, buddy.
“Violin” | M&M’S
It’s almost impossible to pick just one M&M’S Halloween commercial because Red and Yellow have a history of hilarious spots together. They’re gone trick or treating, accidentally turned into ghosts, and even had an encounter with the Headless Horseman.
All pale in comparison to 2016’s “Violin” that acts as a gleefully good send-up to Psycho. Watch, laugh, eat M&M’S, repeat.
“Mad Scientwists” | Kool-Aid
It’s the Kool-Aid Man like you’ve never seen him before: turning into Dr. Jeryll and Mr. Hyde!
In just a few sips, a new drink brings out the greener, ghoulish side of the Kool-Aid Man. Is he a mad scientist or is there is a mad scientwist? Watch for the twist ending to reveal all!
“Creepy Attic” | GEICO
We may need to have a chat with the GEICO Gecko about which rooms in the house to hang out in broad daylight versus rooms one should not visit alone in the dark. Think attics, basements, broom closets with a single lightbulb to light the way…
The fearless GEICO Gecko thinks half the fun of a new house is seeing what the previous owner left behind. A quick visit to a creaky, dimly lit attic comes complete with a creepy music box and a table full of posed mannequins.
Time to go? Yep! Let’s nope out of this situation…
“You Don’t Want to be Chicken on Halloween” | McDonald’s
This McDonald’s spot featuring the McDonaldland friends is one of the rare commercials featured in this roundup to include two parts.
Part one shows Ronald McDonald dressed up as a superhero. He’s surrounded by the McNugget Buddies and they’re spooked by everything. Why? Because they’re chicken!
In part two of the spot, one of the kids — dressed up as a princess — points out that while Ronald has a costume for Halloween the McNugget Buddies don’t have costumes. Ronald uses her magic wand to “dress” the McNugget Buddies in an assortment of fun costumes ranging from a spider to a dragon. One McNugget Buddy even gets a mini-Ronald McDonald costume!
The Remaking of the Mash: A Monster Miracle
How could I end this listicle without featuring the Monster Cereals together at last? Get ready to boogie with the world’s most popular monster supergroup! Franken Berry, Boo Berry, Count Chocula, Yummy Mummy, and Frute Brute reunited in 2021 for a behind-the-scenes look at how they made the biggest monster anthem of all time.
Oh yes, and it was a graveyard smash. Happy Halloween everyone!