Kids Love Them, Parents Hate Them: When Goody Bags Go Bad

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Back in my day — you know, before electricity and Google+ — kids’ birthday parties were much simpler.  We just played a little Pin the Tail on the Donkey, stuffed our faces with cake, and then rode our horse-drawn buggies home.  End of party.  And we LOVED it.

These days, expectations are higher; we must cap off the four-ring birthday circus (three rings aren’t enough) with a goody bag for all the children.  And trust me, there’s a lot riding on the goody bag.  The success of the party practically hinges on its contents.

But how can you ensure that you send kids home with a party favor that will make everyone happy? By steering clear of these least-liked items:

1. An eardrum-piercing instrument, such as a large whistle that guarantees parents will have to pop aspirin for the next week (or until the offending instrument is “lost”).

2. Something useful, like a toothbrush and floss, unless you want to watch the kids’ smiles turn upside down! Because nothing says “fun” like a reminder of good hygiene.

3. A memory of the party that lasts forever: non-washable markers.  Every time the parents see that blue blob stain on their car seats and grumble, the whole family will think of your kid’s party.

4. A parting gift that isn’t a bag filled with junk.  You should have seen the look on my daughter’s face when I dared to hand out — GASP! — puzzles instead of goody bags at her brother’s third birthday party. You would have thought I had just announced I was canceling Christmas, Easter and Halloween.

5. Anything with glitter.  Might as well include a note to parents that reads, “Yes, I am trying to make your lives miserable.”

On the bright side, parents can stuff the whistle with the floss and glitter to make it STOP ALREADY — which surely will provide them with at least a little satisfaction.

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