by Alexi Wilbourn

Most party guests (and their parents) expect goody bags upon departure, so here are three themed ideas that won’t leave your wallet feeling thin:

Spa Party

Lip gloss: Shimmering, glittery gloss is guaranteed to make little girls feel pretty and pampered. Dollar stores often sell packs of three or four for only $1!
Hand lotion: Once again, places like the dollar store will be your best friend. They have a huge variety of lotions, bath gels, even perfumes to choose from to keep your loot bag affordable.
Small votive candle: Although unconventional, a yummy-smelling candle, especially a colored one, is bound to delight all the spa princesses. Even if they aren’t allowed to light them, they’ll still feel like grown-ups. Packs of 9-12 candles are sold for around $3-$4 at Target and Walmart.

Sports Party

Bubble gum: No sports goody bag is complete without a pack of Big League Chew or Bazooka bubble gum.
Mini foam fingers: This pint-sized version comes in fun team colors. They’re available online through Oriental Trading Company for $4/dozen (33 cents each)!
Gold medals: Make every guest feel like a winner by purchasing “gold medals” from a party supply store. Party City sells 12-count packages for $6, which makes each medal only 50 cents.



Animal Party

Bite-sized bears: These bears are more delicious than they are frightening! Grocery and drugstores often sell movie-theater box candy for $1, so buy some boxes of gummy bears. Having more than a few guests? Buy a large bag of bears, which is about $2-$3 at grocery stores, and use cellophane and a pretty ribbon to make individual pouches of creatures.
Animal masks: Foam animal masks are a fun way for kids to be entertained during and after the party. You can find them at places like for 50 cents each!
Temporary tattoos: Always a crowd pleaser. Buy pages of animal tattoos and cut a couple squares out of the sheet for each child’s bag.

One last word of advice: You don’t need fancy bags to hold all the loot! Have your child decorate plain white or brown paper lunch bags with stickers and markers to customize to the party’s theme and include the guests’ names.


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