The party goodie bag

I don’t quite know when the fad began, where at the end of kids parties, each kid departs with a goodie bag filled with knick-knacks. It’s kind of like a “thank you for attending the party and here’s even more goodies for you to remember the occasion by”; kind of like wedding favours.

Over the years and the dozens of parties my sons have attended, they have received goodie bags of all sorts. D1’s favourite goodie bag was a Nerf gun. He went to a pool party where every kid invited was given a Nerf water gun. They were given the gun at the beginning of the party so that the kids could use the gun right away. I was taken aback at the extravagance of the gift. If each Nerf gun cost a minimum of $20, and there were 20 kids invited to the party….

Usually, I am lazy and do a rather poor job with birthday parties. In fact, I’m so lazy that I “cut-and-paste” their birthday parties. I’ve held birthday parties for my boys at the Home Team LaserQuest about five times over the past few years.

This year, I decided to lighten the planning chores for the party even further by letting my creative D2 plan his own goodie bags. D2 is a very creative boy. Although he’s not able to remember what his homework is, his level of executive functioning is really quite impressive and he can plan and execute events quite well. For his goodie bags, I brought D2 to two places: Daiso and Giant supermarket at IMM.

After having a quick look through the aisles of Daiso, D2 promptly decided on the concept of a mystery gift. Every goodie bag would have a different mystery gift. This way, D2 wouldn’t have to get 20 identical items. I was very amused at some of the items he chose. They included pens with gigantic plastic heads the shape of swords, snowmen and a punching monkey. At the next aisle, D2 picked up several fist-sized animal-shaped erasers. He did pick some items that I thought were cool—battery-operated erasers and the flying-cicada spinners. The gaudiest item in the shopping cart was a shiny gold piggy bank (pig wore sunglasses!). D2 picked up the piggy and said that was the best item of the lot and that whoever got that mystery gift would be very happy. I kept my opinion to myself.

D2 had a similarly wonderful time at Giant. I had given him free rein at Giant thinking that with the limited budget I gave, he wouldn’t be able to get much. However, I was surprised to discover the he was able to find all sorts of dubious looking candy and snacks. Do you know how cheap some candy and snacks can be? There was one huge bag of 50 individually wrapped crackers selling for about S$5 per bag. That’s likes 10 cents per individually wrapped cracker?! When D2 put that in the shopping basket, I told him that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea because it might taste yucky. I had never heard of the brand. Oh no, he replied, his teachers always give those crackers out during Children’s Day and they taste fine. He also found this huge pack of individually wrapped sweets (I’d better not state the brand in case I get into trouble) for less than S$5 too. Later when we reached home, D2 took pains to count the exact number of sweets there were in that bag—180!! Altogether, D2 picked a great variety of titbits such as sweets, corn sticks, seaweed, chocolates, filling up 2 shopping baskets to the brim. D2 was so excited with his stash of shopping that when we reached home he spent the next two hours packing his goodie bags all by himself.

Did the kids like them? Well, as one boy left the party venue, I saw him reach into his goodie bag and take out this huge fist-sized gorilla eraser. I saw him stare at the gorilla and say, “Wow, this is cool!” I guess that’s why they are D2’s good friends. They all have similar taste.