Party Packs – An *Almost* Definitive Guide


If I claimed this to a definitive guide to party packs I’d basically be saying that I’m Martha Stewart.  And we all know that’s about as true as saying Saturday Night Live is as funny as Jimmy Fallon – not even close.

IMG_20150202_150932

Yesterday my daughter got a party pack and after posting a picture of its contents on my Facebook Page and Instagram feed it got a lot of mixed reactions from the people that it matters to the most.

Not the kids silly, the Moms.

There was a lot of chatter but I think we can break it down into two separate groups which are:

  • I like to/feel obligated to/want to make party packs for all of my kids friends
  • The party is thank you enough you greedy buggers

Honestly I think both have merit.

The way parties are thrown nowadays, the actual party is an “event” and not just an informal gathering of friends to celebrate the birthday of the child.  The amount of effort/time/money/food/planning/blood/sweat/tears*  that goes into planning a party warrants the invite to be a thank you in and of itself.  As Nicki mentioned, having kids come and demand their pack at the end of the party is just rude and entirely ungrateful.  I absolutely agree that this is ludicrous and if anything it should be an extra and not an expected.

*(are those last three just me?)

And what about school?  If your kids are having a party at home AND sending packs to school you’ll eventually be spending a small fortune giving other people things instead of investing that money in your own child who happens to be having the birthday!

If you have been around here for a while you’ll know that I fall into the other category.  As evidenced here, here, here, oh and here. Flip, here too.  I looooove parties and all that goes with it.

Shaun the Sheep cake

The cake and party packs from Knoxs 2nd birthday last year

Give me a theme and the first thing I think about is the party pack.  Maybe I’m a sucker for punishment or whatever, but I LOVE doing it and maybe I feel a little obligated, but damnit if I’m feeling obligated I’m going do it the way I want to.  Elaborate and totally on theme.

And if you thought that breaking it into two was the easy part.  You’d be wrong.

If you do decide to jump down the deep sugar laden hole that is the party pack, then there are things that are appropriate and then there are things that have the other Mothers wanting to hang you up and stuff the pack in your mouth.  To avoid this I put together some of the thoughts I had while reading everyones comments.

Here’s a little guide to getting the party pack right:

  1. Don’t go overboard.  For the love of all that is good, calm the heck down.  Even as an adult you should not be eating 20 different kinds of sweets in one sitting or even over a week.  Limit your party pack contents to 5 things – max!
  2. Try not to buy pre-made party packs.  I’m going to hope that the Mom that bought the above pictured packs for her kids friends had no idea what was in there.  I’m all for benefit of the doubt and all that.
  3. Most of the time parents do it because they love their kids and their kids love to hand out packs their friends.  So do it because you want to (for you or your kids), but not because you feel obligated to one up their friends parties.  Don’t be that person.
  4. Don’t buy the contents from China Town.  I cannot understand any of the Asian languages so I can’t even begin to try and fathom what lurks beneath the packaging – MSG? sugar? heroin? who knows.
  5. Actually don’t even bother with food at all.  There are so many quick, easy and CHEAP things that you can do that go a lot further than the sugar high.  A colouring book and crayons, stickers, homemade playdough, brownies in a bag – the Pinterest options on this are basically endless.
  6. If you are going down the food road at least try and make it healthy.  Stay away from MSG and unnecessary sugar, or at the very least limit it.  Also no to nuts unless you’ve checked all the allergies of each guest.  We limit ours to a juice, packet of chips of some kind, raisins, one sweet treat and that’s about it.  Sometimes a toy if it was reasonably priced and works remarkably well with the theme.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no scrooge.  Although we try and stay away from sugar, we do let them have the occasional treat.  I get the moderation thing and keeping it to dish out later, but if you take into account our current culture if it’s not party packs, it’s school parties, weekend parties or grandparents (and sometimes I want to be the one giving them fun things instead of taking it away from them) – at that rate they’ll be eating sugar ALL THE TIME.  Which let’s face it, is just not on.

Actually what we’ve started doing is making the party pack for consumption AT the party.  Is that cheating?  So be it.  It saves on doing everything twice.  Basically all the food is catered for with the adults in mind and then the party packs take care of the kiddie things and ensures everyone gets one.  Or something fun for the family to do/enjoy together when they get home – like the brownies in a bag that we sent home with the girls Baking themed party.

So there you have it.  Go forth and party – with or without the party packs.

19 thoughts on “Party Packs – An *Almost* Definitive Guide

  1. Great post Cindy – and I couldn’t agree more! I love parties and themes and party packs too – but everything in moderation is key for us too x

  2. I think I’d have died a little inside if Fysh came home with a party pack like that, thankfully he knows he’s not allowed any “bad sugars” so he wouldn’t pile into it but still, I mean how many kids have that self restraint. Can you imagine the damage a pack like that could do?
    I like giving a party pack, I don’t always but when I do I’m with you on the keeping it minimal and simplistic when it comes to contents.
    Parties are about the kids and celebrating another year, they’re not about how much sugar a child can consume in the space of an hour or two.

  3. I have cut down drastically on the contents of party packs for my kids parties. The big kids choose what they want but for the babies I do small things. I have done personalised biscuits, a small toy that fits with the theme. I actually cant remember when last I packed a box full of sweets!

  4. Thank you for the tips, I will bear them in mind next time around. I generally try to do a craft activity at the party such as painted clay pots, or fabric painted T shirts, they then take this home instead of a party pack. We also get a helium balloon for each child, up until now I have never done party packs, but because they are the norm my children are not entirely happy with that.

  5. Hi Cindy

    I enjoyed this post even though I’m not a mom. I totally agree with you about too many moms going way overboard with the contents (especially the amount of sweets). I come from a generation where we used to get party packs filled with so many sweets you could not even finish it in a week – and now I’m an adult stuck with an addiction to sugar I cannot get rid of (in spite of the fact that I’m already Diabetic).

    I agree with you about the 5 treats maximum and I also agree that there are enough things besides sweets or sugar laden treats that can go into a party pack.

    I really love your sense of humour.

    I don’t always respond to your posts but love reading them.

    Looking forward to the next one.

  6. I also like party packs and thinking about themes. I agree to keeping sweets to a minimum. Especially for a young child it is just a waste.

  7. I like this post, had a discussion with friends the other day as we mostly just throw party packs in the bin as the china sweets taste awful, yet I feel sorry about it as I know the moms have spent time and money on them. Personally we don’t really do party packs. With my daughter’s 4th birthday each kid got a box of sparkles to take home. Feedback was that the kiddies really enjoyed them and the moms were grateful for not having to take home a bag of sweets. The year before we had a treasure hunt and the kids got to take home what they found, it was a Tinkerbel party so the treasures were ‘pirate gold’, fairy dust, bubbles etc. I love doing themed parties, and there is always a little something to take home even though it isn’t a party pack as such.

  8. I used to do party pack at the party idea. It worked but often it would get left behind with everything the child did not eat or like (or the mommy). So now I do candy buffets and you get a little bag to take home what and as much as the mommy (or the child for the 10 year olds – no mommies at the party) wants or allow. They make the decision what goes it. As to crayons, clouring books etc I do think the party is enough on its own. In the past we have done small things like playdough – I have also given badges last year with the boys’ but I had them and it suited the theme. I have also made rosettes with each childs name – that was very popular.

    For school I send ice creams these days – and just that. The kids seem to love it.

  9. Great post! I have also done eat the party pack at the party and have a little take home for each child. I think the parents appreciate the control in what the kids get to eat. Also definitely more of a fan for the healthier alternatives. Some of the party packs my daughter has come home have scared me to death!

  10. that is one expensive party pack! if my children get sweets they can’t read they put it directly in the tub for the nanny or the top of the bin bag, whichever comes first.

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