Best budget party bag ideas – or the one where I shamelessly copy Kat
Kat from Bambino Goodies is one of my heroes. She is everything I fantasise about being (an organised, arty, crafty, colourful, original, earthy type of mother) – and then I wake up and remember I am the neutral loving, control freak, can’t sew a button on, bossy type of mother. We do seem to share a love of Made in Chelsea though, and I bet she didn’t see THREE different cast members last week, so perhaps it is only a matter of time before I catch up in the mothering stakes. I am sure these things are related.
We do both love kids parties though, and I know it’s outrageous, but as opposed to wardrobes and furnishings, I do allow bright colours at parties – go ME. So she inspired me with this post on party bag favours on a budget, and just to show she is not ALWAYS THE BEST, I am totally going to outdo her. Following are some genius ideas for cheap-ish party bags (I am also the best at boasting. Is that tautological?)
- Personally I am a big fan of deciding on one item instead of lots of crappy little things. And then researching it obsessively until you can find a reasonably priced item that matches the party. For our mouse party last year I spent more hours than I care to admit looking for a mouse-related item that didn’t feature Mickey or Minnie and wasn’t made of fluorescent plastic. Oh so many hours. I finally found wooden jump ropes, found a place in the US that would ship them, did a bulk order and got them for about 80p each. For the babies I got little wooden wind up mice – 2 for 60p I think, god bless Amazon. The year before for the train party, I did wooden train whistles. I think I paid a pound (but it wasn’t a big party) and I would be willing to bet that almost every party guest still has their whistle – those blocks of wood suckers aren’t going anywhere in a hurry.
- I am copying Kat, but decorating biscuits and putting them in bags to take away is an awesome idea. Or toffee apples – who doesn’t love a toffee apple? Ditto having a ‘candy buffet bar’ and getting kids to make up their own lolly bags. Oh yes, I KNOW kids get too much sugar and it’s awful, but HOW MUCH WOULD YOU HAVE LOVED THAT AS A KID? Now, feed them healthy stuff at home and be quiet.
- I love the idea of making your own crafty/messy type gift that matches the party theme (or is just a random addition if you’re not a mental theme obsessed control freak having a theme.) Like this awesome DIY monster slime or this rainbow playdough. Or making the DIY activity the thing they take home – like decorating pet rocks, making lip-gloss (that’ll teach those boys a thing or two about their feminine side), decorating cheap plates, or tie-dying tee-shirts. (I am nothing if not a child of the 80s).
- Then there are books. I only have a 4 year old, so not sure if this idea would fly with the older kids (do they get weird about getting books? Personally I think they should be grateful lest I lose my sh*t – my mother made me borrow library books, a real book was a treat so suck it up digital generation), but I love the idea of matching a book to the party. I am mildly obsessed with Richard Scarry (more than my love for cupcakes, less than my love for yum cha – it’s all usually on a sliding scale of food love) and tried desperately to find enough used copies of his Mouse’s House last year but the price got me. If I was a better mother, clearly I would have scoured second hand book shops for months, but I am a bit crap and only scoured Amazon. (As an aside, I would love to do a Magic Faraway Tree party someday complete with books – can you imagine the FUN? I would be Fanny. Just so my husband could make bad gags all day. Sorry, this is veering into dodgy ground.)
- Get cute, get creative, completely rip off ideas you see on Pinterest. Seriously, it is the BEST THING EVER. Like this gorgeous glass slipper filled with sweets for a princess party (I am a bit allergic to princess parties, and maybe I will have to eat my words one day. But they will be tough, take no prisoners, feminist type princesses.), sweet simple smarties in a boat for a boat party, little containers of ‘hungry caterpillar food’, fish in bag soap, homemade GLITTER playdough, etc.
- More cooking ideas – but ones where you send them home to DIY? Like a cookie cutter and some ingredients with a handwritten recipe attached? Or make their own playdough (with ingredients and instructions)? I saw one the other day for make your own rice pudding which I thought would be ace. Or maybe it’s just me that would sell their second child for rice pudding. (Seriously, she’s for sale if anyone is interested. Comes complete with three daily temper tantrums and a cute lisp.)
- Think about simple things you could buy, rather than make from scratch, but still personalise – like these coloured paints for a rainbow party, gorgeous simple cellophane bags filled with matched jellybeans with hand painted labels, or make your own hand puppets.
- Run out of steam? If you’re having fancy balloons (or even standard balloons), get some chocolate bars and tie them to the balloons. Write their individual names on attached tags if you’re feeling enthusiastic. Create little labels for the chocolate bars and wrap them around them, if you’re feeling super enthusiastic. Or a giant lollipop. Do you remember how much you loved the concept of a giant lollipop when you were little?
- Really really run out of steam? Put a colouring book from Poundland/$2 Shop/Dime Store in a clear cellophane bag and tie some ribbon around it. The other mothers will totally judge you, but stare them down and have NO SHAME.
So – there’s nine bullet points. Kat only had six. Plus her original two. She may have more readers and a self-sustaining blog and be all good at mothering and stuff, but I definitely win on bullet points.
See you next time with an awesome styley original party. I didn’t throw it.
PS – I know it has been a long time between posts. We have been heeing and hawing about the blog, and five under-fives, one job, one full-on volunteer role, one move to the desert, an unhealthy Pinterest obsession, and the rest of that annoying life stuff between us, keeps getting in the way of our decision making and thus allowing us to keep postponing our posting. Sorry.