Adventures in Parenting

My Son Got A Goldfish As A Birthday Party Favor

It came with a packet of food, teensy instructions and lots of responsibility

Adrienne Gibbs
10 min readDec 1, 2023


Photo by Sri Lanka on Unsplash

Kids birthday parties nowadays are like little wedding showers. There are elaborate invitations. Chefs. Special meals. Custom cakes; often a large one for blowing candles and individual cupcakes for Covid-phobes who don’t eat spittled-upon confections. The invites go out at least a month in advance. The more elaborate parties come with a photo station or an IG-ready background. The less elaborate still have a ready-made, tape-on-the-wall background that comes with the cake topper. And of course, I appreciate the invites that remind mamas not to bring their Derringers in the diaper bag.

And yet, this loving and elaborate party set-up is only half of the celebratory experience. As adults of a certain age might say: After the party is the after party... But for kiddies, after the party, there’s the goody bag. And that’s the real discussion, isn’t it? After the zoo party, or the bounce house or the ninja warrior arcade day comes the cake, pizza and the all-important party favor. A goody bag of good intentions designed to serve as a thank you for attending the party and also designed to keep you thinking about the party, and the guest of honor for the next 20 minutes, if not 20 days.

This goody bag is a continuation of the good times. It used to be you might get some stickers and crayons in a Spider-Man-themed plastic bag with little handles. Or maybe you got a baggie with one Hotwheel and two pieces of cornerstore bubble gum. I’ve gotten — and given — Wild Kratts-themed cookies wrapped in cellophane, a box of crayons and a coloring book or a ring pop.

But for one party, we got the goldfish goody bag. Not goldfish crackers. Not a goldfish coloring book. But an actual goldfish in a bag, closed with a twist tie, and paired with what looked to be a dime-bag-sized packet of fish food, and a thank you note that, when you flipped it over, had instructions on how to keep the fish alive.

What’s This? A Fish?

My child was thrilled to be given a fish after the party. (Little brother got a fish as well, despite being a toddler.)…



Adrienne Gibbs

Director of Content @Medium. Award-winning Writer. Editor. Mother. Featured on Beyoncé's year in review film.