Loot Bags: Glorified Garbage or Childhood Necessity?

Loot bags. My kids love them and I hate them.  My kids love opening their loot in the car on the way home from a party.  The cheap plastic toys make them squeal with joy and make me cringe.

I don’t see the point of a loot bag – does anyone really want more junky little toys cluttering up the playroom?  Don’t most of the contents end up in the garbage anyway?

Unfortunately, my kids didn’t buy into my anti-loot bag sentiment and when my oldest had his last birthday he was adamant that his friends leave the party clutching a bag of treasures.

In an effort to provide the kids with something useable, I took my cue from the party theme: art.

After a trip to the dollar store, each bag was stuffed with a set of paintbrushes, paint and a three-pack of canvas squares.  Noting that the candy pre-requisite was missing my son convinced me to add a Rice Krispie treat to each bag.  For a couple of dollars, each child left with a memento of the party that I hope will be used to showcase some of their newly learned skills from the party.

So what’s your take?  What are your loot bag secrets?

Are loot bags a waste of time and money?  Or are they part of childhood that our kids will look back on with fond nostalgia?