The latest craze in kids’ parties has a very humanitarian background: adopting pets! With the move away from questionable animal breeding sources, not to mention some of the horror stories you hear in the news about mistreated animals, the rise in popularity of adopting your next pet from a shelter is a great lesson to share with kids about taking care of others. While we can’t actually give away pets at a party, this party theme helps spread the message with all the cuddles – but none of the caveats! – of pet ownership through adoption.

You’ll notice that this article is just about the favor and not about the entire party, because you can take this theme two ways:

  • Create the party favor as the event’s main activity OR
  • Have another activity and hand out completed party favors at the end

These favors were made for a party that was held at a movie theatre, so, obviously, watching a movie was the main activity and left no room for making party favors as a secondary activity. However, if you want to make the party favor creation the activity, here are some sites with great suggestions:

Step 1: Pet Carrier

For your pet carrier, you have multiple options varying in cost and appearance:

  • Paper gift bags: These are the cheapest option, easiest to source, and can be decorated. The only drawback is that the sides aren’t strong enough to cut a hole for your pet’s head to peek through.
  • Party favor box (gabled box): These are a bit harder to find but can be cheaply bought in bulk online at sites such as Oriental Trading Company or Amazon. Holes can easily be cut with scissors or a hole punch / paper cutter, although you may have to get creative with how you cut the hole. We used these for our party and they worked great!
  • Cardboard box: While readily available in your closet and pretty sturdy, cardboard boxes are the most expensive option. They can have holes cut into them, but it will probably take a boxcutter and some practice.

To make a hole in the side of your carrier (it will look adorable when the pet’s head is sticking out!), you can trace and cut OR use a hole punch to make a 2” circle on the short side of the box.

I had a hole punch (yippee!) but logistically couldn’t get the hole to the side with the box the way it was (boo!). My workaround? Cut off the tab above it.

This gave me the ability to get the hole punch to the right place.

TIP: Save the holes you cut out and make matching garland out of them.

Now that you have your hole, you can tape the tab back into place. It will make the box close better; trust me on this!

Once you’ve taped one side, it’s a good idea to tape the other side, too, for improved stability.

And, voila, you’re done! It’s really starting to look like a pet carrier at this point. Now we just need the pet and accessories.

Step 2: Pets & Accessories

We chose three different household pets for variety, but you do whatever works best for you and your party theme. While researching we saw a tropical theme with parrots and fish, a farm theme with pigs and cows, and a zoo theme with tigers and elephants. Oh, my!

For each favor we had the carrier and the pet, along with:

  • Pet food: a snack-sized bag of dry cereal
  • Pet treats: a snack-sized bag of crackers or cookies
  • Pet blanket: a 6” x 9” piece of blizzard (aka no-pill) fleece
  • Pet toy: a small party favor toy
  • Pet adoption certificate: a paper certificate where the guest can write their name and their new pet’s info

Our kitties came with Cap’n Crunch cereal (pet food), Goldfish crackers (pet treat), and a plastic lizard (toy).

Our puppies came with Cocoa Puffs cereal (pet food), Scooby Snacks graham crackers (pet treat), and a bouncy ball (toy).

Our bunnies came with Trix cereal (pet food), Annie’s bunny graham crackers (pet treat), and a plastic flute (toy).

The “Certificate of Adoption” was an awesome find at, and we just added the image of the bunny to the picture. Check them out!

Once you have all your accessories sorted, first put your pets in the carriers with their head sticking out through the holes. You can then fit their accessories around them and close the carrier. Here you can see the pets lined up and ready for packing:

Step 3: Displaying Your Pets

It’s almost party time and your pets are ready! We lined ours up – some flat and some sitting up – next to a sign that told guests what to do and the stack of certificates. We alternated the colors of the pets for interest, but still kept the types of animals together for preference.

It was a hit! The kids were already talking about the pets before we let them pick, and there was a lot of excitement when adoption time came. Even afterward they were discussing pet names and asking the adults for ideas or help filling out the certificates.

If you’ve done a similar party favor, how did it turn out for you? We want to hear, so please drop us a comment on Facebook. And if you haven’t done it yet, give it a try and let us know how it goes!

Happy eventing!