#24 Loot bags

What’s a birthday without some loot?

Let’s get this party finished right:

Level 1: The Factory Order. Here’s where mom orders the Barbie, Hot Wheels, or Sesame Street themed birthday kit and it comes with pointy hats, paper plates, and loot bags for all. Now, these bags are usually sealed shut so you must tear them open with your teeth to pull out the pack of stickers, temporary tattoos, and crayons. The Factory Order is a Level 1 loot bag because it lacks love and longevity.

Level 2: The Dollar Store Special. These are tailor made jumbles mixed and matched from that back wall of the dollar store. Plastic hypnotic-eye glasses, rubber bouncy balls, and sparkly pencils are tossed with handfuls of Halloween candy. Now, The Dollar Store Special does get some bonus points for gender tailoring. Girls might score pink headbands or nail polish while boys collect a Whoopee cushion or wrestling action card featuring King Kong Bundy.

Level 3: Homemade Masterpieces. Top of the heap. Homemade masterpieces are beautifully colored paper bags with every kid’s name on them. They have little plastic baggies of homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and maybe a scribbled-up bookmark made by the birthday boy’s sister. Masterpieces might have exciting projects like cut-out Styrofoam airplanes or do-it-yourself kid’s crafts — like popsicle sticks, glue, and a picture showing how to make a snowflake. Homemade masterpieces can also be tailored to each kid so nerds can score 3D glasses and blurry comic books while little princesses harness bounties of colorful hair elastics.

Loot bags add big cheers to the end of those wild birthday parties on Saturday afternoon fun. They make the party continue long after kids go home. But, here’s today’s question: Why stop there? Yes, there’s always room for more loot bags in our lives, even as we get older. I say next time you have friends over for a backyard barbecue do everyone a favor and stuff a crumpled paper bag of brownies in their hands as they’re heading out the door.


50 thoughts on “#24 Loot bags

  1. God, I remember my friend’s sixteenth birthday party where she gave out goodie bags. It was basically the greatest thing ever. :)

    1. Forgot to comment!

      Anywho, these have gotten awesomer as I’ve turned into a pretend grown-up. I went to a retirement party where the lady gave out bottles of wine with personalized thank-you labels as favors. SCORE!

  2. Kids parties were the best. :) I miss getting party bags at the end!

    My sister held a naming day for her daughter recently, and arranged little bags with mini chocolates inside as a thank you. The general reaction was PARTY BAGS!! :D

  3. I am so loving this one! Among my friends, I’m the party girl…”Hello Hello!” (100 bonus points for recognizing the short quote and clue!) Besides Pink Floyd and the movies, parties are what makes the world go round! As the party girl, I just ADORE loot bags! At my Bridesmaids movie party this year I gave out loot bags with mini bottles of wine and a plastic wine glass filled with chocolates. At my Valentine’s Day party, I gave out heart loot bags with candies, tissues, a Valentine’s button, and assorted sundries. Sat. night when we went out for St. Pat’s, I gave my friends green beads, leis, and buttons along with bags of Lucky Charms. I absolutely love buying the stuff and making the loot bags! It brings out the excited kid in me. :)

    1. Ok, it’s unofficially official: Kathy’s doing goody bags for the #1 Awesome Thing celebration/mourning party! I didn’t know we had our own resident party girl/loot bag expert! WOOHOO!

      1. I second this motion! I’m not sure how she’s getting the “Bakery Air” inside the loot bag, but I have every confidence that she will succeed. (Better get a large bag for Neil, so you can fit in the “plunger when you need one”).

        1. I put in a call to my local bakery and I’m waiting to hear if they’ll let me come in bright & early one day to run around with little baggies trying to trap the deliciously scented air. I’ve already got the broccoflower, batteries (included), and I’ve started saving my saliva, but I’m having a heck of a time figuring out how to resize the dangerous playground equipment. There’s always the matter of sneezing and farting at the same time, too. Any suggestions on how to get that in the bags? So how many bags were you figuring? Think 1 million will do it? Of course, it’s always better to have some leftover than run out, so I’ll do 10 million, just in case.

          1. On a serious note, I wonder just how ready Neil is to be finished with this? I wonder if he’s getting burned out or if it’s still as inspiring to him as it was when he commenced? I’d love to hear his thoughts and how he feels about it all now as the end approaches…like a TED talk, but a blog post here! Live podcast?!

          2. Oh I just laughed out loud! I love it! Best goodie bag EVER!! :D

            P.S. I realize ten million is quite a feat, even for an expert party girl. We can all help out if things get crazy … you know, divide and conquer in order to gather the necessary supplies for ten million bags. Some of us can gather Things from Other Peoples’ Showers to use, some of us can get some Really Old Tupperware, others can be on Bubble Wrap duty, and I really think everyone ought to get some Play Doh to smell and a brand New pair of Socks. Oh, and some Guns and Ammo (for those times When You’re Being Chased by Zombies and you’re really wishing you’d Find a Hidden Stash of said items).

            1. WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THE LOGGING IN AND COMMENTING?! It’s driving me nuts! It never did this before. Booooooooo, wordpress. Boo.

                  1. Lol, you all are brilliant and hilarious! That was such a great thread to read.

                    I, too was wondering how Neil is feeling about this whole thing coming to an end. Its been a great run.

                    1. We have the answer- Neil did not feel good at all and missed us so very much he decided on RE-runs everybody!!!

                      Still, I had missed this entire day due to work and word press glitches. Thanks to Nashs comment today, I am here! This is beyond awesome you all! We should never be too old for Loot bags- brilliant idea, Neil!
                      And, I figure if they can bottle, ocean sea-side and clothes line linen, bakery air should seriously be a summer breeze:)
                      When is the party anyway? I was going to divy up the bag of chunky ear wax I was gifted at the end of grade 10. Pretty sure they are antique now;)
                      Sounds like Kathy would make it an outstandingly Awesome galla!

  4. Hmmm…. I buy the themed bags and then I buy everything else separate.
    Saturday for my daughters party, it was sports theme. I baseball, soccer and basketall loot bags and filled it with-
    kit kats and Ressees
    A notepad with sports balls on them
    A little marble maze with sports balls on them
    A cheap little trophy
    A gold metal
    Some of those popper things when you turn them inside out they pop up unexpectedly, and they looked like soccer balls
    Some noisy blow things that had soccer balls on them
    Green bead necklace since the party was on St. Patricks Day
    And little bouncy balls that looked like soccerballs, baseballs and basketballs

    1. You are an Awesome-Loot-Bag-Mom! You are making the most memorable b-days for your daugher! Can I come to your next party?!

  5. For my daughter’s 1st birthday we customized every loot bag. Big girls got barbies, little girls got fisher price.

    Parents were wowed, kids were thrilled. Us? We were broke! Loot bags ended up costing about $20 to prepare and were worth more than the gift bestowed on our daughter!

    1. Cyndi: I too, have felt this pain! My daughter had so much fun building loot bags, that she could get QUITE carried away. If the bags are more awesome than the gifts guests are bringing, it can get a little awkward. But it’s still fun!

      1. totally fun to make them but they can totally make you go broke! i’ve made a pact with some other moms who are also non-fans of spending more on the goodie bags than the party…no more bags of stuff! we’re making mix CDs of kids music instead. still a fun take-away and imminently cheaper. :)

  6. “Loot” is one of my favourite words! It’s fun to purse your lips like you’re in the Charlie Brown Christmas choir (“loo, loo, looooo, loo loo looo looo loo…”) when you say it. The word “loot” also always brings to mind that classic Calvin & Hobbes comic when Calvin notes the lack of a Christmas stocking for Hobbes, and asks “Where is Santa going to put Hobbes’ loot?”

    1. Nice work with the loo, loo, looooo song. I totally sang that out loud just now!

      Oh, and I heart Calvin and Hobbes!

  7. I still love loot bags. I used to have Halloween parties every year until I moved into an apartment too small to host. :( Every year I’d have a costume contest and give away a prize. It was always something different, like a Halloween decoration or a restaurant gift card, but the year I made big goody bag prizes was the most fun for everyone. :)

    P.S. What’s up with commenting? It told me I couldn’t log in because my email address was associated with an existing WordPress account, but when I tried to use the “lost password” function it said there’s no account associated with that email address. Using my work email to comment instead.

    1. Yeah, it was doing that to me, too! I vaguely recall having signed up for a WordPress account ages ago, but have never posted anything on it or anything … so it made me sign in (of course I didn’t remember the name or password), and then linked to a blog that I don’t have and blahblahblah. Anyway, all that to say: yeah, what’s up with that, WordPress?? :)

      1. Same situation with me, except I couldn’t even log in with my old WordPress. I had to use my work email, and now I’m worried that I’ll get in trouble. :(

        1. I don’t mean to brag or anything… but I haven’t had any trouble with WordPress or loggin in or anything lately. (knock on wood) A while back I was having problems, but it seemed no one else was. Now the tables have turned.

  8. I remember going to a birthday party and I got a loot bag. In it (among other things) was a pretty bracelet that I still own today!

  9. I’m sorry – but what’s the sense of these bags? To me it sounds a lot like some busy moms have to put a lot of effort in making the kids their kid invited to a party some sort of a present that won’t last all that long anyways. Maybe it’s just the un-american me… but I don’t get it.

    1. It’s definitely not just American, Neil is Canadian after all. The purpose is to provide a little token of appreciation for celebrating with the host be it a birthday party, wedding or whatever. People take time out to celebrate with you and bring you gifts and it’s just a nice thing to do. It’s sort of like a thank-you card in a way. Plus, when it comes to adult parties it serves as a lasting memento of the day. I still have refrigerator magnets, wine glasses and other things that have the name of the host and what we celebrated on them. It brings up great memories when I look at them.

  10. Maybe I am still a kid at heart but I love playing with those wooden/foam gliders that come in my kids goodie bags… Minutes of fun until a wing breaks or dog steps on it…

  11. This is great. Your writing style is so original. Already on 24?? It’s hard to believe. Keep up the awesome work!!!

  12. The Pirate loot-bag image, above, is an image from my wife’s now defunct business (DonDonandMonsies). The ROI on that much time (yes…she actually shopped the blood-red bags and skull/cross-bones ribbon online, had the names printed to parchment and then burned the edges by hand….and the best part….the treats inside were MUCH better than the bags themselves) is not conducive to a money-making venture….but my son and his friends loved them and the other kids’ parents were certainly in awe.

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