When talking about nostalgic Christmas memories, oftentimes, people will bring up their favorite Christmas commercials. Why shouldn’t they? These ads often encapsulate some of the warm feelings of the season and stick with us through the years. Another holiday that has some great commercials is Halloween. Unlike the jollier holiday, Halloween commercials aren’t shown as much love. We look to change that, as today we take a look at some of the best classic Halloween commercials.
10. General Mills Monsters
It is hard to imagine Halloween and not think of the General Mills monster cereals based on the classic Universal Monsters. While they were once available year-round, now they only hit shelves around this time of year. There have been countless classic Halloween commercials featuring these characters over the years. One of the best comes from around 1973. Frankenberry and Count Chocula was the original monsters, and their ads feature them arguing over who is better. This ad introduces Boo Berry, and the original monsters are terrified of the newcomer. These adverts are as fun to watch as the cereal is to eat, and it just screams spooky season.
9. “How a Count Eats a Resse’s.”
Resse’s Peanut Butter Cups and Halloween go hand in hand. It is hard to imagine one without the other, and this simple advert from 1990 helps cement this fact. The commercial starts out with a black screen stating, “How a Count eats a Resse’s” The screen then goes black, with some slurping sounds followed by a Bela Lugosi-esque voice saying it eats it peanut butter first. We then see a peanut butter cup with two vampire bite marks on it. This classic ad is known even by those who weren’t around when it aired, and it is a good indicator that Halloween is here.
8. Freddy Hotline
There are many odd things that came from the ’80s and ’90s. One of these was the massive amount of hotline numbers. Another was how commonly Freddy Krueger had merchandise marketed towards kids, Mix these together, and you get the Freddy hotline. When the number shown in this classic Halloween commercial was dialed, callers were greeted by a pre-recorded story bookended by Freddy. Think of it as an audio version of Freddy’s Nightmares. While not explicitly for kids, the advert does say that kids need parents’ permission so they know who their demographic was. The recordings can actually be found online, giving those of us born after 1989 a chance to see what the fuss was about.
7. Universal Monster Stamps
Stamps aren’t as big of a deal as they used to be. While still being used, exclusive stamps being released aren’t as big of a deal as they once were. Take, for example this ad from 1997. It shows that the classic Universal Monsters have their own stamps, which certainly turned heads. The ad shows a horror super fan unphased by the movie he is watching, but when a fellow theatre patron suggests mailing these limited edition stamps, he freaks out. While this was played for laughs, he may have been on to something. These stamps aren’t overly expensive, but they are worth much more than 32 cents today.
6. Casper Wants His Pepsi
This tie-in for the 1995 Casper movie is just oozing with spooky goodness. It starts out with a haunted house. The camera pans through the spooky house as banging is heard. Viewers end up in a kitchen to see the cause of the banging and see none other than Casper appear from a fridge, although his hand is stuck. It is then revealed that he phased through the fridge for a can of Pepsi, but the solid can wouldn’t go through the fridge with him. This classic advert is one of many featuring characters unable to get a Pepsi. There were even a few featuring Batman. This classic Halloween commercial aired on tv but was also featured on the VHS release of Casper.
5. Stephen King Library
It is hard to think scary and not imagine Stephen King. When this ad aired in 1996, it was easier than ever to collect King’s expansive works. Just sign up for the Stephen King Library, and you get a new book at a discount every six weeks, each with a ten-day free trial. Those subscribed even get early access to his new books, all at a discount. This was a great system and had a spooky commercial to go alongside it. All that is shown is a simple house filled with Stephen King books, but it is enough to ignite one’s spooky imagination.
4. M&Ms Dark Chocolate
This entry is a bit newer, having come out in 2007, but it is considered one of the most classic Halloween commercials of the 2000s. The spot advertises the then-new M&Ms dark chocolate, and they enlist the help of the Addams Family to promote it. The ad remakes the intro to the classic series but with M&Ms. It is hard to look at anything related to The Addams Family and not think of Halloween. Mix in one of the most popular Halloween candies, and it is no surprise as to why this ad is so fondly remembered.
3. McDonald’s Halloween Pails
While the first half of this McDonald’s ad is pretty standard fare, it is the last portion that elicits that nostalgic Halloween feeling. For several years, McDonald’s Happy Meals included one of three spooky pails to be used for trick or treating. Today, there are plenty of people that fondly remember these pails, and they are highly sought-after collector’s items. If the rumor mill is to be believed, McDonald’s is planning on bringing these classic pails back for the 2022 Halloween season. We can only hope they are accompanied by a nostalgically spooky ad campaign.
2. Scooby-Doo Blair Witch
While technically a series of bumpers and not straight commercials, how can this not be added? In 1999, The Blair Witch Project exploded onto the scene, and it seemed like everything was making spoofs of it. The folks over at Cartoon Network were no exception. During one of their Halloween marathons, commercial breaks were accompanied by brief segments featuring the Scooby-Doo gang filming a documentary Blair Witch style. The gang themselves were animated, while the backgrounds and other actors were live-action. This classic series of bumpers was feared lost for years, but now fans can enjoy it in all its glory.
1. Snickers Grocery Store
It is telling when an ad can be both funny and creepy. This is the case with this ad for Snickers. A woman is shopping in the candy aisle when a bizarre and unsettling person in a female mask begins scooping bags of Snickers into her cart. The ending reveals this strange woman is actually two kids in disguise tricking their mom into buying Snickers. While many older viewers won’t find it creepy, being a kid and seeing this unexpectedly was somewhat frightening. At least frightening enough to make this classic Halloween commercial stick in their memories.