Are Party Favors a Necessity or a Nuisance?

We attended a birthday party last weekend, and I cringed as the contents of the piñata fell to the ground and my child scrambled to collect all kinds of sugary prizes I rarely allow her to eat. All I could think was, “That is going straight into the trash tonight after she goes to bed.”

This leads me to wonder… are the goodie bags we often give and get at the end of a party a polite necessity or an annoying nuisance?

In general, goodie bags are meant to serve as a “Thank You” to guests for celebrating with your family and often bringing a gift. It is a way to give a smaller gift to party guests to show gratitude, and it has become expected by many. But, are there moms like me who dread opening the bag to see a month’s worth of sugar intake or numerous noisy toys or little knick-knacks that will clutter the house? Is there an ideal party favor?

Obviously, there is no right answer to this question. Each family will have their own idea of the perfect party favor, and I KNOW there are moms out there who love the candy bags. However, I do hope this list might help inspire you to get creative with your party favors for your next birthday bash!

Craft Kits

Personally, I like to have an activity at the party that correlates with my theme and also serves as a party favor. Some craft ideas could include:

Build a monster, decorate a garden pot, paint/assemble a birdhouse, DIY slime making, etc.

Snack Ideas

Food is easy, which is likely why candy is a popular choice. However, most kids also love snacks! You can even take to Pinterest to find some fun snack ideas that fit your party theme. Some non-candy snack ideas could include:

Crackers, fruit cups, dipping sauces, gift cards to popular restaurants (even just $5 covers a kids’ meal at most places), fruit snacks, or protein bars.

Activities/Toys

Certain toys are pretty much a staple in most homes with young kids, and many of these things involve consumables such as crayons, paper, etc… If your kids are anything like mine, sometimes consumables do not last long, so getting a replacement as a party favor is always a fabulous treat! For example:

Baking ingredients (such as mason jar cookie ingredients), sketchbooks, stickers, books, play dough or clay, bubbles, or sidewalk chalk.

Homemade Favors

You can even use party favors as a way to teach your child about gratitude and how to thank others for celebrating with you and bringing a birthday gift. Having them assist with a homemade favor could be a learning AND bonding activity! Some homemade gifts could be:

Soap, bath bombs, craft loop potholders, headbands or hair accessories, personalized ornaments, or specially-designed cookies.

Daily Necessities

Finally, there are other kid items that are necessities in most households that are not consumables. These things can actually add up to a large chunk of money when you have to buy them often for your family, so I can personally say that I would absolutely LOVE to receive any of these items as party favors. These include:

Hats, gloves, sunglasses, dress-up costumes or accessories, kid-sized umbrellas, crazy socks, hair accessories, stainless sippy cups, a beach towel, or headphones.

One final thought about party favors… The theme and location can also dictate the type of favor you offer your guests. For example, if you host your party at a location such as a trampoline park, indoor playground, laser tag, or other indoor activity that would typically cost money to participate in, it is completely fair to offer a less expensive or smaller party favor since you have already paid for an activity that guests participated in. In general, party favors are, for the most part, expected and appreciated. However, they do not and *should not* be an item that breaks the bank. Good luck, and happy celebrating!

A grateful San Antonio transplant that fled the midwestern winters at the first opportunity. Driven by her core values, faith, family, and knowledge, Stephanie and her husband are passionately raising their two daughters - Nikoletta (2017) and Eleni (2019). With a husband from Greece, travel is a big part of their family life along with their Greek Orthodox identity. Stephanie has a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology and is a licensed teacher, dyslexia therapist, and school principal. She is also the CEO and Founder of The LD Expert, a nationwide company that brings the best tutoring and dyslexia intervention to schools and families through virtual instruction. Favorite Restaurant: Jets Pizza Favorite Landmark: Marriage Island Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Cascarones