8 Ways To Celebrate Your Kid’s Birthday At School Without Cupcakes

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Sad birthdayMore and more often these days, schools are asking parents to celebrate their children’s birthdays at school without any sweets. No cake, no cupcakes, no nothing. And they take it very seriously.

Most recently, Derry Township, Pennsylvania, the home of Hershey’s chocolate, has asked parents not to bring “food rewards” on birthdays. In fact, one board member told EAG News that she would prefer for kids to celebrate with carrots. (By the way, “Celebrate with Carrots” should totally be the name of Gwyneth Paltrow‘s next cookbook).

This has been a topic of discussion among parents for a long time. An article in the Asbury Park Press back in 2011 reasonably argued that”

There is no reason why a day at school needs to turn into a fattening and possibly health-threatening game of cupcake roulette, just because young Johnny has a birthday.

Cupcake roulette, they said. A possibly health-threatening game of cupcake roulette. All jokes aside, though — I want to play cupcake roulette.

To aid those parents who are at a loss for what to do instead, here are ten suggestions for things to bring to school for your child’s birthday party:

1. Water

It’s so hydrating! Happy birthday!

2. A piñata filled with broken dreams

Because it’s about the experience of breaking open the piñata, not the “food reward” that comes after.

3. Toothbrushes

This is also what you give out on Halloween.

4. Fruit salad bar

That actually doesn’t sound too bad. Giving the fruit a face is a huge plus, though.

5. Boston Creme Pie…by Yoplait Light!

That’s nonsense, Yoplait Light. Utter nonsense.

7. A game of “Pin The Tail On The Donkey Then Run A Lap Around The Track”

Come on! What if we make it a race?


8. Everyone’s favorite party favors: pencils, stickers, and individually sharpened lego pieces, along with a whistle or harmonica to sweeten the pot

Their parents will thank you for their loud, healthy children.

(photo: Kiselev Andrey Valerevich / Shutterstock)


  1. Lindsay

    September 12, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Personally, I recommend asparagus, string beans, or carrot sticks. That way the kids can us them to beat the shit out of each other so they can at least have SOME fun.

    • brebay

      September 12, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Asparagus can be fun, the kids can eat a ton of it, and then go smell their pee…

    • hdonovan

      September 15, 2014 at 12:22 am

      Interactive learning activity promoting a STEM and for the boys it’s even “hands-on” You get two gold stars…..just no cake.

  2. Amber Leigh Wood

    September 12, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I’m in for cupcake roulette!

    • brebay

      September 12, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Me too! That may also be the dumbest argument against cupcakes I’ve ever heard. Russian Roulette has become over-analogized. Do people understand that if you lose Russian Roulette, you actually fire a bullet into your brain? Right there. dead. instantly. Do they really think this translates into a freaking cupcake?

    • SarahJesness

      September 12, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      How much force would you need to throw a cupcake with if you want to get it through someone’s skull?

    • chill

      September 13, 2014 at 4:26 am

      Can they throw it forcefully at my mouth? I’m fine with testing this several times.

    • Cat

      September 13, 2014 at 1:23 am

      Maybe if one cupcake is spiked with iocaine powder? They would have the upside of fitting in with a fantastic princess theme.

    • Rowan

      September 13, 2014 at 7:06 am


    • hdonovan

      September 15, 2014 at 12:23 am

      Carrot puree actually. And the frosting is mashed potatoes that only LOOKS like butter-cream.

    • 2Well

      September 13, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      I’ve read quite a few cases relating to Russian Roulette. It is no joking matter.

    • brebay

      September 13, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      We’re not joking about Russian Roulette. we’re joking about the absurdity of comparing it to eating a cupcake. And I don’t think one has to be well-versed in Russian Roulette cases to know how serious it is.

  3. Ursi

    September 12, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    If I had gotten some Rainbow Brite stickers I would have forgotten all about cupcakes, I’m just saying.

    • Lindsay

      September 12, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      Or Lisa Frank.

    • Katherine Handcock

      September 12, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Or both!

    • ChickenKira

      September 12, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      One year my friend had Lisa Frank erasers/pencils as the prizes for the games at her parties and it was the most talked about party of the year.

      Edit: I won a puppy eraser from that game where you dance and freeze when the music stops.

    • layla

      September 12, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      you mean freeze dance? lol

    • ChickenKira

      September 14, 2014 at 5:17 am

      Haha, go figure. Yes, freeze dance.

    • Lindsay

      September 12, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      I bought my preschoolers Lisa Frank coloring books and I hold onto them for rainy days when I could use 3 hours of silence. Works every time.

    • OpalKRose

      September 16, 2014 at 11:33 am

      what Ethel said I am shocked that someone can get paid $5493 in four weeks on the computer . why not try here

    • Brenda Smith

      September 12, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Kyle answered I am in shock that a stay at home mom able to make $5813 in four weeks on the internet. did you lOOk at this site,..&nbsphtt&#x70://Googleprojectjob&#x32&#48&#x31&#52enablet6R32J4…

    • brebay

      September 12, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      I’ll trade you my stickers for your cupcake.

    • chill

      September 13, 2014 at 4:31 am

      Pokemon cards are big at my kids’ school right now. I’d love to hand out some of those.

    • cabecb

      September 13, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Same here.

  4. Rachel Sea

    September 12, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    If your party favors are cruciferous vegetables the kids will be healthy and musical.

    • brebay

      September 12, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      this is the only way I could get behind that…

  5. JJ

    September 12, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Dear Pennsylvania,

    Stop trying to create carrots as a birthday cake happen. It’s never going to happen. In fact its awful and taste nothing like birthday cake. God Gretchen!

    • 2Well

      September 12, 2014 at 8:59 pm

      But carrot cake is delicious.

  6. brebay

    September 12, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Cupcake Roulette sounds like a shit-ton of fun, I’m in. There is no such thing as a “fattening day,” That’s just not how it works.

    • Rowan

      September 13, 2014 at 7:07 am

      One of these cupcakes is filled with sprouts…

  7. brebay

    September 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Dang, Meredith, I saw the headline and was already to do a thing with your last name and the potential non-cake options…then you had to go spoil it by being all cool and tongue-in-cheek…:(

  8. Rowan

    September 13, 2014 at 7:07 am

    • brebay

      September 14, 2014 at 12:45 am

      …and my first thought was “Oh, good, this is in my search history now”…

  9. Bleu Cheese Bewbs

    September 13, 2014 at 8:52 am

    Fruit tray.

    • Emily A.

      September 15, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Of course, this would lead to Fruit Tray Roulette, with the losers winding up with honeydew melon, aka ” WHAT IS THAT GREEN ONE?!”

  10. Awa Adams

    September 13, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Man, this is why I miss the 90’s. You passed out cupcakes and Lisa Frank stickers, then you went back to your math lessons and exercised all that sugar off playing tether ball on the playground and dodgeball during gym.

  11. Joye77

    September 13, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Man , few things more depressing that celebrating with carrots. I would have cried in my young years if someone expected me to do that.

  12. ILoveJellybeans

    September 13, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Celebrate with carrots? Only if it was carrot cake.

  13. jen27

    September 13, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Shouldn’t we just be teaching kids moderation instead? Like talking to your kid about how sweets are super fucking awesome and all that, but eaten in huge quantities they can be really unhealthy. My husband and I started doing this with our daughter once she was old enough to grasp the concept. We discuss healthy eating options and we let her make some choices about when and what treats she consumes. Her school also has had ongoing age-appropriate discussions with each class about health and wellness (including the importance of exercise, a balanced diet, etc). I think that when parents and schools actually educate kids on the *why* and *how* of healthy eating instead of simply banning anything “unhealthy” outright (and seriously, who the hell is even deciding what qualifies for this “unhealthy” ban anyway–depending on which fad-dieter you ask the response could be entirely different) kids are going to learn to make good decisions for themselves. And frankly, once they hit middle school the only thing that’s going to keep them on the “healthy eating” track is themselves.

    On a side note: I would pay good money to play a game of cupcake roulette. Perhaps we could have a whole casino going on. Cupcake roulette, chocolate black-jack, pie poker.

  14. lpag

    September 13, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Laugh all you want, but I think banning food at school birthdays is the way to go. I’m not some crazy health nut who seeks to shelter my children from evil evil sugar. I’m cool with moderation and all that. The problem is, in school, it ends up being every other day- 30 birthdays for the thirty kids in the class, then the celebration for finishing the unit on Guam, and the one for the play, and you get the picture. It gets out of hand before you know it. Let them have cake for whatever monthly class celebration comes up, but skip the birthdays.

    • brebay

      September 14, 2014 at 12:43 am

      30 cupcakes a year are not hurting your child.

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