The Dreaded Loot Bag

My son is turning 8 this week. Wait, just give me a minute here while I sob a tiny bit.
All right – the tissue box is empty and my tears are temporarily dry so let’s get back to it. Last year was the first year we actually had a “friends” party for him. We typically kept his parties family-oriented but he was getting older (one more sniffle) and social interactions were becoming a bigger focus for him so we realized that a party was important. It was still small (only 3 kids) but it was a start. That was last year. This year he asked to have a bowling party. The guest list started with 5 kids plus the birthday boy and his sister. It grew to a total of 9 including our kids. I can deal with this, 9 kids isn’t so bad. I budgeted for the bowling alley’s rate, planned to reuse previous decorations and started checking out birthday cakes. Sadly, I forgot about the loot bags.
My son did not. We spent Sunday walking through our local department store’s toy section trying to find something affordable to put into9 loot bags. It was looking pretty sad – a Lego mini-figure and a chocolate bar in a store-bought bag. Even with that sad little prize bag the budget was heading up to $60 – ouch! We left the toy section with our Lego figures in the cart and my wallet screaming. On our way to the candy section, we walked through the house wares department. As we walked, a stylish stainless steel water bottle caught my eye. I stopped to look at it and my son took the opportunity to look at some of the other styles. “Mom, couldn’t we get everybody water bottles?” he asked. Hmm… here’s a different idea. We stood in the aisle, looking at all the options and brainstorming. We ended up leaving the store with 9 brightly coloured, BPA free plastic water bottles and some Kool-Aid singles to insert into each one. The total?  Under $35! Over the next 2 days with some creative team work we came up with a tag design and, while he slept, I printed them out on some stray photo paper I had tucked away. My soon-to-be 8-year-old spent the few precious minutes he had before leaving for school the next morning punching holes and tying the personalized tags onto each bottle with recycled string.
How awesome is that? An environmentally friendly “loot”that’s cost-efficient, and hopefully won’t break on the car ride home! Not to mention the opportunity to do some design work with my son! Check out the results below – we’re pretty happy and hopefully the kids will be too! I hopethey’ll also be happy with the non-store-bought cake that I’ll be making with the remainder of the birthday budget!
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