Award Winning Ottawa Event Planning

Loot Bag Rant

If you follow me pretty closely I think you might already know how much the issue of loot bags drives me crazy. Or maybe I haven’t made that message as clear as it is in my own head. Well, in case you don’t know how I feel about loot bags here is my rant for today.
I know that when I attend a party to celebrate a special moment in someone’s life I don’t expect to receive a gift for coming. Seems a bit backwards to me. It actually makes me feel awkward when I leave a party and I am handed a gift to thank me.
I know kids are little and I know they like to receive gifts but when they are attending a birthday party for one of their little friends I don’t like my kids expecting that they get a gift for coming. I think loot bags were started for those kids who can’t handle when someone else is getting a gift and they are not. You know the ones, the ones who receive a present on their sister or brother’s birthday because the parents don’t want them to feel left out.
So, after throwing 22 birthday parties for my own kids I have come to terms with the fact that I can’t change the world’s way of thinking on this and provide loot bags to our guests. In the past few years though I have stopped with the actual loot bag and given them something of value instead. Something I know they will use. For example for my daughter’s 12th birthday we did a survivor themed party and each girl was given a bandana and a personalized t-shirt. Both were used during the party to define who was on what team and they got to keep them. I see the girls over a year later still wearing both items. It cost me a bit more than I would have spent at the dollar store but that was money well spent.


I am certain dollar stores were created just for loot bags. As parents do you realize just how much money is actually spent on your loot bags. It adds up fast. And the worst part is that the majority of the stuff you so kindly picked up for our little monsters to take home with them actually ends up in the garbage by the end of the day and the candy gets eaten but much to our frustration.

This year for my daughter’s 10th birthday we are doing a 1950’s theme. Instead of asking the parents to spend money on creating or buying costumes for the girls to wear we are providing them their costumes instead of loot bags.
This morning I was working on posting some of our pirate costumes which is what made me want to blog about this today. I came across several products that are so inexpensive and would fit with your pirate themed party and would be used over and over again by your guests, long after the party was over.
For example, we have pirate hats priced as low as $2.25 each, eye patches for $0.40 (less than the dollar store!!), and hand hooks for $2.99 each. That is less than $6 per child. So you buy those items as your giveaway for the kids but use them during the party to create the activities. Do a “How to be a Pirate” themed party and run the kids through different activities to make them become a pirate and as they pass each task they get another piece of their pirate attire. Imagine your guests leaving dressed as little pirates and they will be so excited because they “earned” them and learned how to be a pirate. I can almost guarantee that those kids will play pirates all afternoon and there is probably a good chance that they will want to be pirates for Halloween and want to use all that cool stuff you gave them as part of their costume. If you ask me, that is money well spent. And the best part is that it will be a party they will not soon forget.
If you are planning a party and need sensible products please contact me. I have access to way more stuff then is available on my website (I can’t keep up) and I have a million ideas running through my head. I would be happy to talk through your party and figure out what would be the best activities, the best “loot bag” items and decor. If you are local I can even come and meet with the birthday boy or girl and help them to design their very own special day. All their ideas and wishes, on mommy and daddy’s budget!
And this all applies to adult parties as well!
Julia O’Grady has big vision, fresh ideas and a proven track record in the events industry. She and her team work hard to exceed client expectations and push ITM Events to achieve greater heights. A driven entrepreneur, Julia also manages the business side of ITM Events including human resources, finances, marketing and writing grant and sales proposals. In taking a high level approach to event management, Julia is able to visualize a project from inception to successful execution. She attracts valuable sponsors by offering meaningful opportunities to engage with participants. Julia uses her keen analytical mind to create incredible events that maximize the available budget. When Julia isn’t planning unforgettable events, she loves travelling the world with her family, staying active, and enjoying fine food and martinis.


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