Has anyone else clocked the new trend for handing out ‘sweetie cones’ instead of party bags these days? Has this been a gradual metamorphosis? Have I been too sleep-deprived to notice? Since when did a sugar coma replace assorted plastic crap?
I’m in two minds about the bag being sidelined. I can’t help feeling defensive on behalf of all the mini bubble wands and packets of crayons out there. Same with the stickers that refuse to stick, and the neon bracelets that disintegrate as soon as little fingers touch them. Yes, I know they hold our kids’ attention for a grand total of five seconds but there is a sort of nostalgia about them…
Let’s examine the ‘sweetie cone’ as a viable alternative. In my opinion, homemade ones are better than the ready-constructed, bought off eBay ones. Ok, they’re slightly more pricey (once you’ve tracked down 30 equal amounts of everything) but you’re also guaranteed a few stray ‘surprises’ in amongst the mini marshmallows. A friend of mine was assembling her son’s sweetie cones at 1am in the morning . She was so tired that she didn’t realise she was chucking in dark chocolate liquors instead of chocolate buttons until the bags were sealed. No biggy, I reassured her the next day. We parents eat most of it anyway…
And what’s with all the multi-coloured popcorny stuff? I can only assume that a kilo is cheaper than air, despite it having more E’s than a 90s rave. If so, then get you, Party Mum. I hope you’ve earmarked a large bottle of red with the surplus. You’re going to need it after The Entertainment has assembled his last balloon animal.
Perhaps the arrival of the sweetie cone is signalling a gradual demise in the birthday favour altogether? Children’s parties can be eye-wateringly expensive. The cost creeps up and up until suddenly you can’t afford to put food on the table anymore. I’ve thrown two parties in the last month and i’ve spent an average of £450 on each – I haven’t even been that extravagant! I’ll break it down for you;
- Entertainer – £200
- Packed lunches for 30-odd kiddies (£100)
- Balloons, streamers, banners, biscuits for adults – essential (£100)
- The Cake (£50)
Perhaps a soggy piece of cake should suffice as a goodbye gift? After all, you’ve just fed and entertained everyone’s children for the last two hours.
Still, I’ll mourn the passing of the party bag in the same way I’ll mourn that shiny new tub of playdoh after my kids get their hands on it… with wistful affection. I’ll recall my excitement at seeing what goodies lay underneath the sherbet dib dabs and how it felt when my bubbles leaked all over my penny sweets.
But times have changed. Budgets have changed. Economising is the new priority amidst cuts and austerity.
Even so, I hear Poundland do a pretty good kids’ party favour selection these days.