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November 12, 2006

goodie bags


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I do enjoy putting together a "creative" goody bag. I seldom put candy in there except maybe a lollypop. I am not a huge fan of the all-candy and teeny tiny toy filled goody-bags.

For my son's "mystery" party I put a mystery chapter book (from the book order at school), a gigantic magnifying glass, a notebook, a pencil and a lollypop. It was a huge hit!

For one of my daughters party we had a "baby shower" theme...I gave tiny baby bottles and onesies.

My son went to a party in January where they happened to ice skate but the "goody bag" was filled a packet of hot choco, some marshmellows, and a candy covered spoon. I loved that! It was used and "done".


Just found your blog recently- you have a lot of great ideas- thank you!!

Anyway, I am a huge fan of the clear cello bags found at party stores- they are a lot cheaper than the other themed bags and can be used for any occasion.

Some fun but not expensive fillers I've done:
*homemade playdough, cut out in the shape of a heart for a Valentine's Party at school

*a pack of baseball cards, baseball shaped gumballs and little baggies full of sunflower seeds for a Baseball themed party

*a swimming noodle for a treat from my son's swimming party


Hi Aby ~

I like the idea of using lunch sacks for boys. I might borrow that one!

My daughter turned 5 in June and I found the cutest little wicker purse in the $1 spot at Target. I filled them with bubbles, nail polish, etc. I'm not sure what they have there this time of year - - - maybe something like that and I like the hot cocoa idea.

Have a great week!


I try to make the *goodie* bags fit with the theme of Grace's party - which is 5 days before Christmas so inevitably a crazy madhouse of a day!

Last year she had a tea party with her friends and each person got a bag with a cute tea cup that G chose from the thrift store, 2 packets of hot cocoa, a snack size baggie of mini-marshmallows, a choc covered spoon that we made, and 2 mint hershey kisses to add to the cocoa. We also put in a spiral bound notebook (the small 3x5 with the spiral at the top) that we altered by covering with cardstock and put their name on with chipboard letters. It was one of my favorite gift bags.

This year the place we're having her party at does the gift bags as part of the party - so I'm not involved with it at all. We are having a "family" party for her (only 8 friends can come to the princess party place) so our extended family and far-away friends will come to the family party - and I will do gift bags for them. She will probably want to keep the princess theme (gotta love turning 6. So I'm not sure what I'll do for the gift bags. I was thinking of baking something yummy and decadent - something "fit for a princess!"

I really do hate goodie bags for all the reasons you gave Aby - they just end up on the floor, junking up the house, making a mess, and driving me nuts - and I don't want to do that to another family...

Thanks for the great ideas...


My kids are a teenagers now and I was *forbidden* by my daughter to have any crafts or goodie bags to take home from her 14th birthday party. Well, I hired a caricaturist to come and draw everyone who came to the party. That way, they were entertained by the novelty of the awesome artist (and stayed out of trouble!) and they all got to take home their caricature! Huge raves!

Jen G

SO Glad you said it! YES! Goodie bags drive me nuts! WHY must there be one at every party. At one of my daughter's parties (age 7 I think) they made a craft to take home - decorated tote bag) and everyone got a balloon to take home, too. I then had a child come up and ask where her goodie bag was!!


At school - every party has a goodie bag, why is that?? I hate that tradition, but the room moms seem to think I am a killjoy.

Couple of things I have done at home for parties and the goodie bag thing -- first, not having one at all, just a balloon and a craft to take home. Some kids liked it, others (as mentioned) felt otherwise.

Soap is a fun addition to the bags -- makes 'em heavy, too. The bins at Michals usually has a soap item in it -- I have seen snowflakes, bugs, angels, princess, etc. trial sizes of bubble bath are good too.

Bubbles are always a hit.

Also -- once my girls started having sleep overs, I found the bas were not really necessary. I don't know if it was an age thing, that they all outgrew them at once, or if by the next morning they just did not care about getting one.

have a lovely day and thanks for the fun entry!

Mary Beth

My daughter just came home from a birthday party with a treat bag that consisted of: a pencil box, crayons, small tablet and a few pieces of candy. It was inspired!


You hit a nerve w/me.
Goodie bags can be a challange. When my oldest turned 12 I bought the large hershey bars 1 for ea. kid and made a band for ea. bar in a fun print that said thanks for coming to my party. It was still candy but it was simple. Simple to make, carry and give out not to mention cheap.
I always like the idea of the mini playdough cans w/an activity thing on the top. I think we get caught up in thinking it's got to be a lot of goodies in one bag. I don't think the kids really care. I've never heard my kids say wow that was a lame goodie bag.


Hi Aby,

I enjoy a nice goodie bag. For my son's 1st birthday party this past year, I choose a cute bubble bath in a cello bag with a cute animal loofa tied to the outside of the bag. I thought they turned out really cute plus they were inexpensive and they made a cute table at his party with the sign in sheet.

Jennifer Wilson

My girls like to do crafts at their party. So usually the craft is the goodie to take home. We have made soap and the girls took them home in a cello bag and picked out their own cute ribbon to tie the bag. My 11 year old last year had 5 girls over and I had bought big canvases at walmart and put their names big in black in the middle. I had paint and brushes set up for them to decorate them. I had also pre drilled holes in each corner. THe girls then picked out ribbon to put through the drilled holes and that was how they would hang them when they got home. If you would like to see a picture email me

Ginger Padgett

That is SO funny that you mention this. I am guilty of doing these but I would like to join this "revolution" further (from my home town's newspaper). It really is getting to be absurd. My DD just came home with a full size teddy bear this past Saturday, plus a bag full of pinata candy and a glow in the dark necklace. To top that off - the birthday child was "registered" at Target Baby!!!! We've all gone quite mad, I do believe. I am having a party for my DD at the end of this month. Maybe I should put on the invitation: "Goody-bagless party".. haha

hillary Chybinski

It's a nice club we have going here! I always try to fit my goodie bags (which I feel I have to have) to the theme of the party. For the past 4 years we have had a firefighter party - I think I have exhausted fire-related items. LOL This year for fun, I threw in halloween light sticks and small cans of play doh (a la Stacey Julian).

Thanks for sharing!

amy o

Well, I deal with a younger crowd than you do, but I love to put a fun toothbrush in every goodie bag. Beyond that, we have used sidewalk chalk, crayons, little paper pads, bubbles, and rubber duckies! Of course, we also give play-doh and stickers for halloween. I like candy, but not for goodie bags. ;)

amy o

Are you having a sleepover for your dd? What about a little sleepover kit with a toothbrush, washcloth, fun soap?


For my son's last birthday party, I had the kids complete a treasure hunt of sorts to get their goodie bag. His party was car, trucks and planes-themed so each child got a card with a little poem about some sort of vehicle. They read the poem (or parents read them to the child), guessed what the vehicle was, and then went to my son's room where he has tons of different kinds and brought their particular "answer" to me...then they got their treat bag. They really enjoyed "earning" them rather than just receiving them before they went home.


I have long disliked 'goodie bags'. Just another thing to stress over. One year we had an zoo animal themed party so the only thing in the bag was peanuts. For my girls 'princess party' last year, we made tiaras and jewelry with pipecleaners and pony beads and they took them home in a bag they decorated with sequins and feathers. This summer my son went to a friend's party. This friend is an only child and his parents have tons o'money. We, on the other hand, are a one income family with 7 children. I thought "what do you get for that kid? He probably has everything he wants....and I have a very limited budget for birthday gifts. (My kids get invited to parties all the time and it kills my budget.) So we just put some cash in a card and got him some candy and figured he could combine what we gave him with what he already had and get what he wanted. When I picked up my son, this friend's mom told me to be sure to get the gift card out of the goodie bag. In the car I pulled it out and it was worth $25 at Target. How many times does a kid go to a party and come home with a gift worth more than the one he took? I was a bit disturbed by it. I felt bad that we couldn't afford to do more. I know that she wasn't trying to make us feel bad, just being kind but it was a bit uncomfortable for me. What do you think of this??????

Kim B

I loved your post today. It definitely mimics the way I have always felt.

Let's see... I did a Pirate theme party for my son when he was six. It was so much fun to do something a little out of the ordinary that wasn't an "out-of-the-box" birthday party. I found a great book in the children's section at the library on Pirates (the name escapes me now). It was a fun humorous book that talked about the history of pirates as well as described what a pirate wears. It also had a chart for picking your own pirate name.

My invitations included a condensed outline of this and instructions on what to wear to the party (a striped shirt and shaggy old pants). It also asked the kids to come with their pirate name. Also in the invitation were homemade eyepatches.

A goody bag was made from black cloth with a draw string. I painted a skull & crossbones on each one. They included "pieces of eight" (chocolate gold coins), a note book with a pirate theme, a pirate pencil, and some tacky play jewelry for loot.

For games the kids could win prizes from a costume shop like a sword, a hook hand, and a pirate hat.

It was a blast. Best party ever.

Vickie Leff

Hi Aby!
I'm with you on the goodie bags. I stopped doing them all together. They just seem wrong and as you say, a waste usually. I have handled the "I didn't get a goodie bag" by doing two things:1) I tell the other Moms before the party that I'm not doing goodie bags - they can decide if/what to tell their child and 2) I try to include an activity at the party that the kids can do themselves and take home as a reminder...decorate a frame, cookies, whatever. My son is 12 and he has had sleep over parties - the boys don't seem to miss the bags at the end of those (too tired?!)I think the goodie bag thing has gotten way out of control, and each time I tell a Mom I'm not doing it they re-think it. Some have also decided not to - if you can influence the circle of friends it becomes more acceptable.
Hey, how's your running?? Take Care, Vickie L.

The NON-Superwoman

Just stumbled across your site today. What a treat. Funny thing is..I just finished the goodie bags for my son's 3rd birthday. It's always a treat to go home with something sweet and simple. I still loving getting goodie bags and make it a habit to hand out something for my gatherings. In the bags--featured in today's blog entry--playdoh, a handy dandy notebook (Blue's Clue's is the theme), fruit snacks, a bouncy ball and a kazoo. Things that definitely can get used again and won't break easily :-)

Kim B

I posted earlier about the Pirate theme party I did, but I just remembered a sleepover party I did for my daughter. I think she was about 11 or 12. Rather than goody bags - I bought large t-shirts for each of the girls. I created a design on the computer for her party, then we ironed the design on all the t-shirts. The idea was to have them as a large pajama shirt for the girls. I also bought each of the girls a white pillow case that they each decorated with paint and markers. Both things were a nice reminder of the sleepover party. (She is 17 now, and still has both of them.) I suppose we could have expanded on the idea even more with some funky socks or fuzzy slippers.

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