The danger lurking right under your nose at kids’ birthday parties | Just Jaggin' | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The danger lurking right under your nose at kids’ birthday parties

And how we can stop it together

I was recently made aware that my kids have a birthday party to attend this weekend. I got astigmatism from how quickly my eyes rolled back in their sockets. It’s not that I don’t like kids, or parties, or bouncy houses, or needless injuries, or endless screaming, or trips to the emergency room. It’s that I loathe the gift bag.

The kids’ party gift bag is well-intentioned. “Thanks for coming, friend, here’re some treats.” And that works great for a 5-year-old’s friendship. But that bag isn’t full of treats. It is full of problems. More specifically, spills, fights, and blood-sugar spiking snacks. This plastic sack and ribbon will wander its way around your house, seemingly on its own, depositing trinkets to step on, pick up, break, and squish into your carpet.  

Clean floor? Bam! Here’s a miniature bottle of bubbles with a wand too small to even work. But once this liquid is spilled on my moderately priced laminate, we’ve got full-blown structural issues. Peace and quiet? Nope. Here’s a bouncy ball for each of your kids. Oh, that’s nice. But they’re not the same color! And the other kid’s color is the best. Sanity? Here’s a weird little toy no one can figure out how to work. But your kids are convinced you know how – you’re just holding out on them.  

When I Googled “kids party gift bags,” the FIRST result on the page was Pinterest. Of course it was. And the link was entitled “Happy Birthday! 32 Kids' Goodie Bags That Are Actually Good.” Pinterest wants you to believe it makes life easier. “Oh, this is a cool idea,” you say. “This will be a breeze,” you tell your significant other. Three days and 40 trips to Michaels later, you wake up on the floor in a pool of sweat, and you’ve missed the party. Stay off Pinterest. Except for recipes. Pinterest has dynamite recipes. 

Parents need to form a trade alliance. I’ll even host the summit. I saw some really cool signature cocktail recipes on Pinterest … Damnit! 

No. We’ll drink Brandy like Churchill did. 


1: Nothing smaller than a silver dollar.

2: No liquids, unless it’s a bubble bath or something we need, like dish soap. 

3: NO (clap emoji) SLIME.

4: If you have to do Play-Doh, one color for kids under 5.

5. No stickers. Kids have no respect for using these sparingly the same way I have no respect for eating just three slices of pizza. 

6: Replace the candy with anything else.

Also, throw a little something in there for the parents, who reared, dressed, buckled, and drove the kid, then sat through three hours of them asking for money to play the claw game. Airplane-sized booze bottles are cute and fit any theme.   

Good luck and Godspeed.

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