Loot Bag Alternatives for Your Next Birthday Party


It happens every year.  My sons and I sit down every year to pick a birthday party theme.  We book the venue, pick out plates and napkins, and grab some wall decor.  And with each party we have to create a take away bag of loot for each of our guests.

 Websites sell a variety of spinning tops, cheap crayons and stickers all with images of favorite cartoon characters and personalities.  We cram Scooby Doo cookie treats and Paw Patrol gummies into the bags. I tie off the bags in coordinating ribbons with small thank you notes.

And while it’s the thought that counts, I can’t help thinking that most of the trinkets we stuff in the bags aren’t going to last very long. The bag and ribbon won’t make it past the car. Realistically, most of the items in bags are going to be eaten or broken within hours of our party. 

As parents, we toss a good chunk of money into a gesture…. why not use it differently?

Here are a few ideas for loot bag alternatives guaranteed to impress and not break within the first hour.

1. Books

If you child has a favorite author, book or topic, why not treat guests to a copy?  This works for all ages and genders.  Little ones can share nursery rhymes, kindergarteners can distribute early readers, and the bigger kids can pass out chapter books and novels. Books can be read time and again and passed on to the next lucky reader.

2. Experiences 

Make the party your gift. 

If you child is creative, have your guests create art. Try painting your names onto wood at A & R Workshop.

For the adventurous child, try a trip to a paintball course.  (Sometimes paintball welts and the stories of how they were made are the best souvenirs.)

Or at the beginning of a party, hand out large cups of tokens for arcades and game centers. Running from video game to claw machine can result in make-your-own loot bag of prizes for your guests.

3. Small kits

If your child is into LEGOs, give out small bags of pieces so kids can craft their own creations.  Or if your son or daughter likes to bake, make take home cookie/cake ingredient cups.  Create a DIY art activity for take home.  Any way you go, your guests will continue thinking about your party well after the event.

4. Charitable donations

Teach your child and their friends the gift of giving.  Donate the sum you would have spent on party bags, plastic whistles and party theme candy on something that interests your child.  It could be related to animals, helping underprivileged kids, or hunger efforts.

What other goodie bag alternatives have you tried?


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