Often associated with Mexican culture, pinatas usually involve a paper-maché shape or creature that blindfolded participants hit with a bat or stick to get at the treats found within it. While pinatas are traditionally filled with candies and fruits, there are many treats that can be used in the pinatas that take into consideration the birthday party's theme as well as safety and health considerations.
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One of the most popular options for pinatas is small candies and snack-sized chocolate bars. Try to avoid softer or more delicate treats, like marshmallows or chips, as they may get crushed inside the pinata or when they hit the ground. Also, keep in mind the climate the day the pinata will be used; if it sits out in the sun for several hours, treats like chocolate and caramel may melt. Also, be wary of candies with nuts if any of the guests have allergies.
If the pinata is intended for a children's birthday party, toys can be a healthier addition or alternative to candy. Opt for lighter items, like bouncy balls, cars, playing cards and keychains. Make sure that the items are small enough to fit in the pinata's hole --- as there is no set size for the holes, consider purchasing the pinata beforehand and measuring the hole.
Another fun option for children's birthdays is dress-up items to encourage games and play for the rest of the party --- children could even use them to put on a play. Tiaras, crowns, rings and bracelets are excellent examples, as well as sunglasses, temporary tattoos, small hats and pins, like sheriff or police badges.
Crayons, markers and notebooks are appropriate for many age groups and are another alternative to candy. Party planners could also consider preparing kits for the recipients to use during the party. To make a necklace kit, for example, put beads, a piece of string and a clasp into a small plastic bag with instructions.
For more mature crowds, the pinata can include racier gifts like scratch-and-win tickets, plastic liquor bottles (glass bottles could break and are heavier) and X-rated items like condoms. Small games, like card decks or dice-based games, could also be included and then used later in the evening.
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