I love commercials. I always have. My mom told me that when I was a kid, I’d spend a lot of time during shows gathering toys to play with, but I’d run from my room to the TV when commercials came on. I also love Halloween. Surprising no one, that means Halloween commercials hold a special place in my nostalgic heart. Here are ten classic Halloween commercials that delight me to this day.
Hallmark Halloween Boo Bazaar Commercial (1986)
Does anyone else remember Hallmark’s Boo Bazaar? In the ’80s, that was the destination for me for Halloween stuff. Every time I went to the mall with my mom during the spooky season, I dragged her into Hallmark to check out the goodies. I always walked away with at least a pin or a button. In this commercial I recognized a plush witch head on a stick that I had. I also remember getting a Halloween sound effects cassette that had some pretty terrible covers of Halloween-adjacent songs like “Thriller” and “Ghostbusters” on Side 2.
This commercial ranks highly for me because it’s a pretty cool commercial with a skeleton in it, and because Boo Bazaar was pretty rad.
Freddy Krueger Hotline Commercial (1989)
I don’t know anyone who ever called this hotline, but I always loved seeing this commercial, usually late at night during something like a USA movie. I’m still fascinated by Freddy, especially how he was marketed to kids through toys and merchandise. It’s certainly an odd choice, but then again, I know a lot of ’80s kids who were into Freddy Krueger. It’s also a fun memory of the world of 1-900 numbers and hearing the occasional story of a friend who got grounded for calling one.
Mr. Boogedy Trailer (1986)
If you hang around spooky ’80s kids long enough, chances are the conversation will eventually drift to Mr. Boogedy. The movie first aired as a Disney Sunday Movie, and it’s one of those movies that instantly became a classic. I honestly couldn’t tell you much about other episodes of Disney Sunday Movie, but I remember Mr. Boogedy vividly. Watching this trailer again will make you randomly yell out names. “Kristy Swanson! David Faustino! John Astin! And hey, isn’t that the kid from Alf?”
Incidentally, if you’re eager to revisit this family-friendly Halloween classic, it’s one of the titles that will be available when Disney+ launches on November 12.
McDonald’s Halloween McNuggets Commercial with Halloween Pails (1990)
What post about Halloween would be complete without a McDonald’s commercial? While the original pumpkin pails are more iconic, this commercial is the one I think about when I think about McDonald’s and Halloween. It’s got everything–monster-themed McNuggets, bad puns, and a Happy Meal prize that no doubt set millions of kids into motion begging their parents to take them to McDonald’s.
I was probably almost too old for Happy Meals by the time this commercial aired, but I remember getting that witch pail that Halloween season.
1980s Franken Berry w/ Boris Karloff Commercial (1980s)
Who doesn’t love the Monster cereals? Every year, my social media feeds are filled with posts from my fellow nostalgic Halloween fans as soon as those sugary cereals hit stores. This particular commercial is one of my favorites because of the mashup with footage of Boris Karloff as the beloved monster. Franken Berry was always my favorite character and favorite cereal. I’m pretty sure this commercial and the one with Bela Lugosi footage was a big reason I’m such a fan of Frankenstein and Universal Monsters.
Pepsi and Doritos Halloween Commercial (1992)
Speaking of the Universal Monsters, this is a fun commercial from the early ’90s. Halloween at the grocery store was a lot more fun this particular year because of the Universal Monsters displays. This commercial hits all of the themes: a street full of trick or treating kids, some horror movie style music, monsters, and a little bit of humor. I probably got in trouble a time or two for repeating Dracula’s line about dip when my mom or dad brought home groceries.
Coke Halloween Commercial (1989)
So as not to choose sides in the Cola Wars, here’s a good Halloween commercial from Coke. Starring a young Joey Lawrence, it’s a great tribute to the opening scene from John Carpenter’s Halloween. I love the twist at the end. As I was watching this one again after probably not seeing it since it was on TV, I immediately remembered how it ended. It’s a lot of fun and is a testament to just how good commercials can be.
Toys ‘R’ Us Halloween Commercial (1985)
This one hits all of the nostalgia high notes. It’s a monument to the heyday of Geoffrey and Toys ‘R’ Us, and just how much TRU was a part of our lives back then. I remember this commercial, but I didn’t have a TRU near me. We went to TRU when we visited family, but it was always exciting. This commercial also has some great examples of the old Ben Cooper/Collegeville style masks and smocks that all of us wore back then. I never had any licensed ones because I always went for witch costumes, but I would love to have that Rainbow Brite costume today. I also love it because the mom transforms into a witch at the end. My mom always made Halloween fun, so I love it when pop culture depicts a parent that’s as into Halloween as their kids.
Elvira Coors Beer Halloween Ad (1987)
No woman on earth embodies Halloween for me more than the Mistress of the Dark herself, Elvira. My dad worked for a grocery store when this ad aired, and I begged him to bring home the cardboard standee of Elvira for me. I’m guessing he didn’t because it wouldn’t exactly have been appropriate for a 9-year-old to have a beer ad with a busty ghoul in my room. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still want that standee. About the commercial, though. This one is short, but she manages to cram a lot of her trademark Halloween puns into it. I encourage you to look up Elvira commercials–they’re all a lot of fun.
Reese’s Halloween Commercial (1990)
No Halloween commercial list would be complete without at least one candy commercial. This is one commercial that I always think of when I think about Halloween candy. This one seems like the commercial that kicked off Reese’s commercials that showcase the peanut butter cups. There’s not a lot of action, but it does a great job of showing off the goods.
BONUS! Silver Shamrock Commercial (Halloween III: Season of the Witch)
I can’t end this list without sharing the most iconic fictional Halloween commercial. Yes, this movie is a mess and has nothing to do with Michael Myers, but it gave us the catchy tune and three of the most amazing masks ever created.
That’s the list! What memories do you have of Halloween commercials? Did I add anything that was new to you? Share your own favorites in the comments!
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