Time to say goodbye to loot bags

Kids' birthday parties are all about the theme and other party essentials. But are a few junky loot bags really worth the fuss?

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Photo: iStockphoto

When my kids were younger, I used to think of creative ideas for loot bags that were thematically linked to the party—and then I would toss in a Kinder Surprise as a bonus.

And now I wonder why I ever even bothered. At a few dollars a kid, it was hardly worth it.

As Melissa Sher hilariously wrote at Huffington Post:
“We no longer smoke on airplanes or perm our hair or let people drive with open Budweisers. So why in the world are we still giving out bags filled with sh%t to thank kids for coming to our children’s birthday parties? Thank them for coming? Because why? Because decades ago some overachiever decided that throwing a party, serving cake, and entertaining a horde of loud, sticky children wasn’t enough?”

When my kids come home with loot bags I’m disappointed—with the candies that look like they came from a restaurant’s hostess table, the sticky frogs, the unsharpened pencils and notebooks too tiny to write in. They are all landfill waiting to happen.

We have received some lovely loot bags in our day: seeds for planting in the garden with a watering can, mystery bags of Lego minifigs and a skipping rope have all been appreciated. But most of it has been junk—junk food and junky toys.

Read more: Can we just do away with loot bags?>

I know some people don’t like loot bags because they don’t want the crappy candy in the house. At least that doesn’t end up taking up space in my garbage can—my husband can dispose of that stuff quite efficiently, actually.

Now that my kids are out of preschool, I don’t give out loot bags anymore. I’m no Pinterest mom. I don’t need to prove that I can create a theme from beginning to end and use a colour printer. I certainly don’t need to reward anyone for making my life miserable for a few hours.

When my son asked what we were giving out after his 11th birthday, I looked at him like he was crazy. I think having 11 boys sleep over was enough. I’m pretty sure that they were satisfied with their full evening of insanity—and their parents were thrilled to have a night off.

Who needs loot bags? If you will take my kids for a night, that’s enough of a treat for me.

Emma Waverman is a writer, blogger and mom to three kids. She has many opinions, some of them are fit to print. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman.  

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