Goodie Bags for Birthday Parties?

Updated on March 09, 2011
C.T. asks from Pasadena, CA
26 answers

Hi, at what age do you still give or stop giving out goodie bags? My son who is turning 8 wants to have a "cowboy" birthday party. I am not much of a party planner, but we have horses, so kids can ride, play with goats, practice roping, lots of outdoor stuff to do to entertain the kids. Do I need to try to plan for games and goody bags on top of that? He has a large class 25 ( and many times siblings also come) so I want to try to keep costs down and would love to not do goodie bags ...but will kids at this age be disappointed?? Your thoughts are super appreciated! Have a great day mama's! :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

I'd skip it. As a parent, I hate those things, anyway. It's all just a bunch of plastic junk that gets tossed in the trash, anyway. If you feel compelled to give something, I usually do $2 gift certificates to Baskin Robbins, which has gone over really, really well.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

That is a lot of kids so I would say no goodie bags. I think the entertainment is enough and no games either for the amount of kids. The one thing I can think of that will be suitable for each child is maybe a bandana if you wanted too. There about a dollar at michaels and there is many patterns for girls and boys. They can get one right when they arrive to put around their neck.
Have a great time..... sounds fun.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We did bags of carmel corn that was different colors. It went over well! Got it at a popcorn store in town...

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Love the idea of a bandana & a squirt gun...although I do despise the "goody bag"!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I hate goody bags we usually do some project the kids can take home instead.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm an anti-goody bag mom. LOL I don't know when this started, but I don't remember ever getting goody bags when I went to parties. I even had a friend who told me that if i don't give out goody bags, then my kids won't have anyone coming to their parties. How ridiculous is that!?!?!

Anyway. . .here's the thing. It's your child's birthday. Let him have his day. Let it be about him for one day a year. You are providing a party with probably some snacks, food, cake, drinks for the kids as well as probably some type of entertainment (games, movie, etc). Why are you expected to also give presents to the kids who are already getting to have fun at the party? Does that make sense? Besides, most goddy bag ingredients are full of junk that just gets thrown away or broken as soon as they step out of the door to go home. I don't get the whole idea of giving these out, but that's just me.

Of course, some kids will be disappointed because unfortunately we live in a world where the kids have become the decision makers in some families, and they expect to GET things. Don't let that be the reason to spend a lot of money. It's important for them to learn how to deal with being disappointed, and it's also important for them to learn that the day is about someone else, and they were one of the kids that were invited, which shows that he thinks very highly of them.

It may sound harsh to some, but as a mom and teacher, I think a lot of people really have flipped it around and do whatever the kids want rather than what is best for them. I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes by being so blunt. Hope it helps some.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

things in goody bags, will often just get thrown away.
Meanwhile, the labor and effort and money that goes into it, can be a lot.

That said, kids do look forward to it.
But maybe something useful, like those gift certs from McDonald's or something. They are in small denominations.
Or from an an ice-cream shop or make small baggies of popcorn etc.
Something, that will... be used and/or eaten.

Also, you do NOT HAVE TO, have goodie bags for the siblings. It is ONLY for the invited guests.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I still give my teenage cousins goodybags but they are nothing much; one piece of candy, some art/craft thing (either from the dollar store or the $1 section at target), and depending on the party a cheap toy that goes with the theme (squirt gun, playduh, puzzle, and so on).

If you do not have them, then you do not have them. I think there is no need for a goody bag, you have so much other stuff that you can skip the goody bags. Kids should not expect them, if they do their parents should handle it and maybe think about teaching about not expecting things.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Skip the goodie bag. I agree with most of the other moms when they say most of what is received in the goodie bag is usually in the trash by morning. I despise goodie bags with all the plastic junk, and I can sympathize with the parent who probably spent a good amount of money on it. I love the ideas you have been given of the bandana that would be really cool, or the caramel corn or even just popcorn would be a treat to take with them. The only other idea I had was to have a "cowboy" cookie they could take in the goodie bag. Just a large cookie of a horse, cowboy hat, etc. that you put in the goodie bag and that is it. My favorite suggestion that you received was to give out the goodie bag in the beginning full of food the kids can feed the animals. If you plan to buy the plastic junk, then skip it :)



answers from Los Angeles on

I don't think you have to do goody bags. You could purchase bandanas from Oriental Trading Company or check out the 99 cent store bandanas they also have cowboy hats right now for $1.00 each. You could also purchase sunflower seeds or trail mix or chex mix party mix in large bags from Costco, Sams Club, or Smart and final and put them in cellphone bags and make labels that say chicken feed or cowboy chew, etc. All of these items can be used as decoration. But ultimately if you do not do goody bags the party seems to be full of fun things.

However, at your sons age I think you should have a back up game just in case something inexpensive and fun like limbo in which you can use a broom or stick you already have.

A pinata could also be the key to solving the goody bag issue since you have a cowboy theme you could purchase plain paper bags and give them to each child before you start to hit the pinata. You can get a very inexpensive medium-large pinata and fill it with cookie packs, fruit snack, candy, chip to fill it up and then let them loose. They have pinatas like horses, cows, cowboys anything you want.



answers from Chicago on

Yep!! It is a birthday party and he is still at the age where they like'em...The goodie bag doesn't have to be extraordinary. Just head to the dollar store and look for pencils/eraser, crackers, fruit snacks and that way you'll keep the cost down.


answers from Milwaukee on

I hate that stuff that people "think" kids need/want. Small parties get $5.00 gift cards to McDonalds and bigger ones get a mix cd of my son's favorite songs. THAT makes both parent and child happy.

My niece was a premature and we almost lost both mom and baby. For her first birthday we all left with a cd that had songs about being: tiny, little,small, etc. "Tiny Bubbles" has a much different meaning now. :)



answers from Buffalo on

It matters on what is going on,
1. For your theme, I would give a bag of food for them to feed the animals
2. I have given kids a theme bag (empty) and had a basket of misc. toys and as we play games they pick what they want (1st place 2 toys, and everyone else 1)
3. I give a theme bag out and do a pinatta (there is your goodie bag)(Keeping inmind any allergies in the crowd)
4. For babies I always have costume made goodie bags just for them (gerber puffs, Rubber Duckies, Baby food, etc.)


answers from Los Angeles on

when my son had a cowboy birthday party we just gave away costume cowboy hats as "gift baskets". pretty easy and fairly cheep. you can get them at birthday in a
have fun!



answers from Dallas on

In my family, we always do "goodie boxes" We have a box box of small age appropriate toys and art supplies and each child gets one. We always put in extra, so the last kid choosing isn't stuck with what's left and in case extra show up. We usually purchase the items from the dollar section in Target, or something similar.

We went to a party where they had coupon books from Mcdonalds. That went over well. We don't eat there, so it was kind of useless for us. For the most part, everyone loved it.



answers from Los Angeles on

How about if you give every kid a bandana at the start of the party-and call it a day?



answers from Los Angeles on

My son is 8 and all his friends still do goody bags. It's annoying but they all do it so we do it too. However, you can go to the party store and get a bunch of little things and bags that are pretty inexpensive. The kids give out pencils, stickers, fun erasers, sometimes candy or lolly pops. Do you have to invite all 25 kids? When we have a party we only invite a few of the kids from his class. I try to get extra for any siblings as well. What do the other kids in the class do? I sort of go along with what they're doing because I don't want my son to be the one kid who doesn't do the goody bags. Hope this helps.


answers from San Luis Obispo on

Maybe you could do a cowboy hat or horse pinata' and have empty goodie bags with each child's name on them... Fill it with little toys you can get at the dollar store or walmart and candy etc... and be done with it. It seems like what you are offering in way of entertainment may far surpass missing out on goodie bags if you decide to forgoe them!
You could take a photo of each child on the horse and e-mail it to their moms as a little goodie ... if you want to send them home with something and not provide goodie bags... send them home with a balloon! You could also do cupcakes and have a little toy on each one for them to take... but like I said they probably won't miss it with what you are providing!



answers from Los Angeles on

I think you should give them a bandana or an inexpensive cowboy hat (oriental trading??) and forget about the goodie bag. I hate goodie bags. I would love if all the mamas could make a pact to stop doing them ;0). We went to a birthday party this past saturday and there were no goodie bags. She had cake pops to take so that was nice. My kids didnt even miss the goodie bags.


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, C.,
Kids love goodie bags, we gave them out at my 9 year old nephew's party last summer, but it sounds as if you'll have lots of activities for the kids to do, and a LOT of them, so with trying to keep costs down I'd forgo them. Maybe you could bake or buy large cookies in a cowboy motif that are individually wrapped and give those out as children are leaving? (In a clear cellophane bag sealed with a cool sticker maybe.) Goodie bags are a little like wedding favors...we love to get them but we usually just eat the candy, nuts, etc., or put the trinket away and forget about it, so we don't need them : ) Or it could be something else you and your son choose...suckers in cellophane bags tied with ribbon in colors from the party, (I make chocolate ones and there's oodles of molds out there, I'm sure there's something in a cowboy motif) bandanas, whatever you choose to take the place of a goodie bag. If the kids are getting these as they leave after having fun outdoors I think they'd be happy. Hope you have a fun party!


answers from Dallas on

I would skip the games and the goodie bags, although I do love the bandana idea!



answers from Hickory on

If you are going to have that many activities. I think that kids at that age would be more interested in riding and games and things rather than goodie bags. Besides, what can you buy from the dollar section that will satisfy an 8 year old? Sounds like you are gonna have plenty without the bags...



answers from Baton Rouge on

I never did goodie bags.



answers from Madison on

I agree that most goody bags are filled with junk that either breaks within 10 minutes or finds its way to the garbage the next day. I like the idea of giving out bandanas for the kids to wear at the party and then take home. Sounds like you have enough activities and do not need to plan games as well.



answers from Minneapolis on

One nice take home item such as the great ideas other have said, bandana, bag of carmel corn, etc. is SO much nicer than a plastic bag full of the cheap plastic junk they sell at the party stores. If you're stating on the invitiation that you're welcoming siblings, you should have one of the items for each child who attends. You can overbuy, save the receipt and return what you don't use. Really, if you're looking to keep it simple and keep costs down, politely note on the invite, X has invited the whole class, and you regret you are unable to host siblings this year.



answers from Atlanta on

I think by that age I will dispense with goody bags unless there's one inexpensive object that just lends itself perfectly to the party theme (like a frisbee or something). You could get a full-size candy bar assortment and have them in a basket and ask everyone to take one as they leave as a treat or something. I think you have plenty for them to do, activity-wise!

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