By Caleb Goellner
Trick-or-treaters have done a lot to improve costume technology over the years, using more advanced materials and tailoring to comfortably strike fear into the hearts of their sugar benefactors. But what of candy conveyances? Yes, standard trash bags, pillow cases and other sacks all get the job of hefting treats from point A to point B, but a certain element of style has also helped young nerds over the years – namely mods of the classic plastic jack o’ lantern pail infused with contemporary d?cor. The buckets may not provide as much raw storage capacity as many of their bag colleagues, but they’re too stylish to deny. Take a trip down trick-or-treat lane with this list of the nerdiest pails employed for Halloween candy collection.
9) Fantastic Four
As much as fans seemed to generally loathe the Fantastic Four films, it’s impossible to deny the outpour of merchandise associated with either movie’s release. Yeah, it would have been about 4,000 times cooler to carry candy in the Thing’s craggy head than to hoist this bland “4” logo bucket around, but the product still gets points for trying. And who knows? Maybe this bucket was actually made of unstable molecules?
8) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Remember back in ’84 when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were more or less identically drawn blocky dudes indistinguishable beyond what weapon they used? Apparently, so did the company that manufactured these TMNT buckets. Rather than mass produce one turtle head with a differently colored masks (thereby forcing kids to choose a favorite turtle), the producer seems to have made a compromise, slapping logo stickers onto pails shaped like turtle shells. It’s not perfect, but there are plenty of arguments as to why this method worked the best.
Despite having one of the most iconic logos in comic book history, so much can go wrong in depicting the Man of Steel in merchandise. Thankfully, the company behind the Superman treat pail stuck with what works – the Last Son of Krypton’s signature “S” shield. Sticklers might be troubled by the fact that it stems from the often-chided Superman Returns, but the other option is having no Superman bucket, which would be much less super in most fans’ opinions.
6) The Incredible Hulk
Despite effectively polarizing most fans with inconsistent multimedia offerings, the Hulk remains one of the most recognizable (and loveable) chaps in Marvel Comics canon. That’s why, when it comes to trick-or-treating with a bucket shaped like a dude’s face, it’s good to have his green grimace as an option. The Hulk’s mean expression passes for scary, and if you’re one of the twenty people dressing as the evil Red Hulk (or “Rulk”) this year, carrying Hulk’s head will look totally bad to the bone.
5) Hello Kitty
No matter how much the more macho nerds among us try to deny it, there’s a special place in our collective hearts for Japan’s cutest import. Hello Kitty is intended for the girl crowd, but ultimately this icon serves as a stepping-stone for nerdy ladies crossing over into the traditionally male-dominated geekosphere, making it a fine, fine thing indeed. The Hello Kitty bucket is also handy from a cosmetic standpoint, featuring a blank canvas for the custom crowd to decorate with Sharpies and paint pens. If it’s not scary or completely nerd-themed now, leave it to nerds to make it so with style.
4) Transformers Animated Optimus Prime
As awesome as it would be to own a G1 Optimus Prime pail for Transformers goodness on All Hallows Eve, this animated version of the Autobot leader will have to suffice. This particular bucket is plush rather than plastic, which is an odd choice for a character born of denser materials, but from a practical standpoint, it’s a safe way to introduce tots to the (once proud) glory of the franchise. And hey, at least it’s not based on the movies.
3) Darth Vader
The best part about the Darth Vader bucket is obvious: It allows children of all ages to re-create the tree scene on Dagobah where Luke chops off his I-don’t-know-it-yet-but-you’re-really-my-father’s head and it explodes for no reason to reveal his own haunting mannequin-like face. Today’s younglings seem totally desensitized to cinematic moments of such nerdy caliber, but how many among us can say we didn’t at least let a little pee out when that ish went down? No lying!
Why it’s definitely a Batman bucket through and through, it’s pretty hard not to want to call it, simply, the “Bale Pail.” The likeness is so spot-on, you can almost hear his gravelly shout as you fill his noggin with candy, “SWEAR TO ME!!!” The bucket’s pouty lips can also help lonely boys and girls of a certain age to practice kissing before the magic moment catches them off guard in reality, which is almost certain never to happen if they continue to trick-or-treat after the age of twelve or so (my apologies to those from communities where it’s considered appropriate to trick-or-treat after grade school).
Spidey’s noggin makes for a great candy holder and an excellent example of form kind of incidentally making hot, sweet love to function. Not only is it iconic, its simple shape means there’s no extraneous details getting in the way of volume, meaning costume-clad children have plenty of room for candy. Brooding youngsters even have the option of collecting goodies in Spider-Man’s much less friendly black costumed head, thereby defying convention in a healthier way than, say, egging The Daily Bugle. What’s more, the pail makes a handy storage unit all year round after the last of the candy has been consumed, ensuring it doesn’t have to collect dust the way many other containers do. Of course, a few cobwebs couldn’t hurt its overall aesthetic, bringing the overall value of this pail to the top of the list.