Monday, October 13, 2008

The Loot Bag Manifesto

My 4 year old came home from a birthday party the other day with a loot-bag that save for one small trinket, contained solely candy.

She's 4.

4 year olds are thrilled with anything. You could put coloured popsicle sticks and cotton balls in a loot bag and they'd be happy - why do you need to send home sugar?

For guests of our daughters we generally raid our local dollar store and buy things like little fairy skirts, wooden puzzles or cars that can be put together and painted with parents, felt doorknockers where we included lettering for kids' names, small dolls, stickers, beading kits for personalized bracelets, pirate hats, squishy balls and play-doh.

Thankfully, my loot bag manifesto is a short one:

I hereby proclaim that an enlightened loot bag contains no candy!

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  1. And I hereby proclaim that I have a Loot Bag Issue! ;)

    I agree with you about the candy. But as a parent with two school-aged children who have, over the years, come home with dozens upon dozens of pencils, stickers, and disposable made-in-China dollar-store trinkets, I have to say, I'm sick of it.

    a) a lot of it ends up lost or broken
    b) we should, for environmental reasons, cut down on stuff in general

    Loot bags are meant to be a thank you, why not give the kid an extra slice of cake to bring home and just one smallish gift... something you know they'll play with? The loot bag has to change, that's what I say!

  2. Yoni, I'm totally on board! My son's turning 5 next month, and we're doing a book exchange instead of goodie bags. We're also requesting canned good donation to restock our depleted local food pantries. The bonus? I don't have to buy a bunch of crap that's just going to be thrown away in a few days, because each kid will bring a book to exchange with each other (so everyone gets a surprise) and I don't have a slew of crappy toys littering my own home. Win-Win!

  3. tmana4:58 pm

    Just think ahead another 2.5 weeks or so... for years, my Other Half and I have avoided the poisoned/tainted candy scares by just giving out coins. The kids can put everyone's coins together and get something they want, or donate it to charity, rather than having pounds of candy -- half of which is not to the child's liking, anyway -- hanging around their homes attracting insects and other vermin.

  4. If it's just candy, consider yourself lucky. My nephew came home with a live goldfish. No prior warning, just a live animal.

    $40 later for a small tank w/ air pump, gravel, plants, fish food, and the obligatory castle (all for a 10 cent goldfish), and the fish died. Probably from stress.

    That was "Fishy the 1st." We replaced "Fishy the 1st" with "Fishy the 2nd" without Ian ever knowing. That was 6 years ago. Fishy the 2nd is alive and well and has outgrown 3 tanks since then.

    Candy may not be optimum, but live animals are the gift that keeps on taking.

  5. Jack at F&B10:47 pm

    In the US, this wouldn't be sugar. It would be HFCS.

    How depressing!

  6. The party favor bag doesn't need to contain a large number of things -- and a piece or two of candy shouldn't be an issue. My little one tends to forget about the candy after the first hour home. I tend to agree with andrea from the fishbowl that the stuff is annoying. Maybe one small toy, a couple of stickers and a piece or two of candy would suffice. I know my child would be perfectly satisfied with that (or with some fruit leather instead of candy).

  7. I agree with you about the candy as well. In all honesty I usually give them a small 2 inch plant to care for at home or their loot it the thing they made at the birthday party like a design your own t-shirt. The goldfish is a little nuts I think tho. :) Have a great weekend!

  8. Anonymous6:04 pm

    I totally agree (belatedly!). The loot bag issue fills me with dread and as I have been planning my children's party later this month I found this great website - A Canadian website with some great party ideas. I like the book exchange idea too :)