My five year old would love this treasure chest party favor for his next birthday party. Each child gets a treasure chest to paint. While the paint is drying, they are off to search for the treasure! This little favor just keeps on giving- giving the kids something to do, giving you something for the kids to do and finally, giving your wallet a break. These are available on Oriental Trading for $19.99 per dozen. The beads, fake gold coins and plastic jewels can't be that expensive! I am sure discount stores like Big Lots, Five Below and the Dollar Store have a big selection.
I have walked out of I-Party horrified having spent well over $50, and for what? - a bunch of junky stuff that all the kids' moms hope is left behind at my house! If the treasure chest and pirate themed party isn't what you had in mind, and you are in the market for some creative kid's party favors, you need to check out Real Simple's 8 Creative Children's Party Favors Article.
Note: One reviewer on Oriental Trader had the kids decorate with wood markers, jewel adhesives and pirate stickers, all from OT. She also suggests using the treasure chests to hold the candy/loot from the pinata.