A question from the uninvolved - are goodie bags sort of mandatory at kid's parties? No criticism, I just don't have kids and grew up at a time before goodie bags existed (you know, when we had dinosaur rides at birthday parties) so am out of the loop on kid's parties.
Is this a U.S. thing only? Are there general ages where bags are given out? What if you choose not to do goodie bags, is there a social consequence? Inquiring minds .
You had dinosaur rides? Back in my day, we couldn't afford those!
I don't hate goodie bags, but it does make me a little sad that they are expected now. I had a few small birthday parties at home as a child, and the guests got to take home their party hats and/or those paper whistle things my mom put at each place -- and prizes for those who won games. There was no expectation of getting "stuff" for attending someone else's birthday party. It was the birthday child's day to get stuff, and you got yours on your own birthday. Guests get cake, ice cream, good company and fun activities -- they need stuff, too?
I don't have kids, but Bagman has two, and I remember him venting his frustration at having to fill what around here are called "loot bags" for his girls' birthday party guests. They were born in 1982 and '84, so their prime birthday party giving/attending years would be the late '80s/early '90s.
I think a good compromise between goodies/no goodies is some kind of craft party, where the guests decorate their own cookies or T-shirts and take them home. Or themed props -- say, a pirate party where everyone gets a hat and a fake sword, and they get to take those home.