New Contest: Backpack Horror Stories


I somehow managed to schedule both my dentist appointment and my gynecologist appointment for this week.  And the moron award goes to….  I’m thinking about paying someone to stuff bamboo shoots up my fingernails today just to round out the pain.

After the week I’ve had, I could use a laugh.  And I think I know just what to do.  Earlier this week I tweeted the following:

@UnexpectedMel: Does anyone else experience backpack panic on Sunday nights when you realize you never went through them on Friday?! #smooshedbanana

Many friends mentioned their own backpack horror stories, and I thought, “Ooohhh, this is so on.”

For Mother’s Day last year, I hosted the Prizes for Poo contest, and some of your stories made me gag.  And also die laughing.

I think it’s time for another contest.  This time, I want your craziest backpack finds.  Since it’s a three-day weekend, you may discover something horrific on Tuesday, so I’m extending the contest for a full week to give everyone time.  If you have more than one story, feel free to comment two or even three times.  I want us to assemble a comprehensive list.

Share your grossest, weirdest, or funniest backpack discovery in the comment section below, and together we’ll vote next Friday starting at noon.  The winner will receive a big box of some of my favorite things!



Previous ArticleNext Article
  • Awesomemom

    I have 4 kids so I am really really horrible at going through backpacks. I think the worst thing ever I found was a busted container of oatmeal that my middle son tried to save for later. Naturally there was oatmeal everywhere and all over everything. I was tempted to just throw the backpack out.

    He has also been known to attempt to make what like to call backpack hooch. You take the fruit from several days of breakfasts, lunches and morning snacks, put them in the backpack and let ferment for a good long while. If you are lucky your mom will not notice the smell until everything is nice and rotten. The paper from homework and paper bags makes the flavor extra nice.

    • Melanie Dale

      Bahahahaha! “Backpack hooch!” I love it! Yikes, and oatmeal is nearly impossible to get off, especially once it’s dried. Thanks, Awesomemom, for sharing these decidedly horrific backpack horrors!

    • MelissaandBuddy Rose Norckauer

      Haha! Backpack Hooch! Love it! I think my kids may be Backpack Hooch Bootleggers :)

  • Christina Bruffy Baad

    I have 7 kids, 5 with backpacks but we hardly ever pack lunches so we’ve had the occasional wine-smelling old applesauce or ready-to-burst yogurt container from a week ago but last year was the worst! It was somewhere around mid-June (the kids had been out of school a couple weeks and the backpacks had all gotten tossed downstairs awaiting storage for summer). One beautifully warm summer day I walked in the house after running errands and smelled something God-awful. Thinking something went rotten in the fridge I searched… Nothing. We checked the toilets and the drains, the washers and the sinks. Again, nothing. Then my nose (or what was left of it) found the source. My 9 year old second-grader’s beautiful new LL Bean embroidered with her initials backpack! O.M.G.!!! I frantically dumped out the contents on the floor stopping to gag several times. Pencils, papers, little trinkets little girls love, all now destined for the bio-hazard landfill. There was no food! Nothing! I had to wait til the next day to ask her what on earth was the reason for the smell since she was at her dad’s so in the meantime I soaked the backpack in a bucket with lots of detergent and enzyme cleaner and some baking soda. When I asked, at first she had no idea. Then slowly it dawned on her… Oh yeah! A boy was sitting by me drinking milk and he spilled it all over my backpack and IN IT!!! Ok now the rancid smell made sense but it wasn’t giving up easily. 3 cycles through the washer later I finally broke down and called my ex (king know-it-all of all topics). He suggested carpet cleaner and even offered to try it himself. A week later and (from my understanding) lots of soaking and washing, he finally got the smell out. By far worst EVER experience with backpacks. At least after living several days in a very smelly house, I’m pretty sure the kids learned to let me know if anything else happens to get spilled on a backpack!

    • Melanie Dale

      Oh ARGH! Milk is The Worst!!! One time in HS I spilled milk on the floor of my car and it froze all winter. Come spring and the thaw, I thought I would pass out from the smell. Yikes, Christina, GREAT story! I mean, I’m so sorry it happened, but GREAT story!!! :)

    • Kim@onerebelheart

      One of my kids once spilled chocolate milk in the floor of the van and didn’t tell me. It soaked through the carpet and formed a rancid puddle UNDER the carpet in an indention in the metal body of the van. It stunk to high heaven and I had no idea where the smell was coming from. I cleaned the van carpet by hand, drove with the windows down, went through who knows how many air fresheners and it was still there. I was nearly ready to call an exorcist and then I accidentally pulled the carpet back to look for something and saw the dried but still odorous leftovers from that chocolate milk. Nasty! Nearly threw up trying to clean it all out with Lysol.

      • Melanie Dale

        Ewww!!! Flashbacks…sympathetic dry heaving…

  • Jennifer B-P

    My oldest daughter (who is a whopping 8 years old) loves to eat tuna at lunch at school. I know, right?! The kids must love her. Anyway, there have been times when she eats tuna on Friday and we don’t open her backpack and lunch bag (that’s in her backpack) until Sunday. The fish aroma invades all crevices…our cats love that backpack.

    • Melanie Dale

      I just can’t even…yikes. That’s an impressive stench right there. Whoa. I like tuna, but I can’t handle the smelly can. Thanks, Jennifer! Excellent entry into this odorous contest. :)

  • Lisa N

    I failed to check my son’s backpack for leftover lunch food over Christmas break. What was supposed to be a two week break turned into nearly three weeks because of the arctic blast that hit us in Northeast Ohio. I pulled out his lunch bag on the blessed morning that my children all returned to school after three looooong weeks and felt something squishy inside. To my delight, I found a baggy full of uneaten sweet peppers that turned into rotten pepper soup. It was so foul that I dry heaved. I threw the lunch bag into the garage and haven’t found the strength to attempt cleaning it yet. That was two weeks ago. I think it’s time to say farewell to that lunch bag.

    • Melanie Dale

      Wow. Yeah. I think I’d throw it away. Ewwwww…and also comforting to know that your kids fail to eat their veggies, too. ;)

  • Off The Cuff Cooking

    This is the story all about how… (And cue the Fresh Prince theme song.) No, one time, probably 20 years ago, my family flew to Scandinavia for a month to visit our relatives. On the way back home, the Seattle customs agents pulled us aside, because the agriculture-dogs just went insane about my sister’s canvas shoulder-bag. (They have a lot of orchards here, and won’t allow any produce to be brought in through customs from other countries in case of maggots or other infestation, which begs the question– do they incinerate contraband apples and oranges that they confiscate? I mean, if they just toss ’em in the trash at the airport, then what’s to stop those maggots from spreading to nearby orchards anyway??)

    So anyway, the customs agents searched my sister’s bag thoroughly, and found nothing, but the dog was relentlessly pawing her bag, and none of us could figure out why. Then I finally had an “a-ha!” moment where I remembered that on the flight TO Scandinavia 4 weeks earlier, my sister’s orange juice container had flipped over and spilled all over her bag. Since it just dried into the fabric, we hadn’t thought anything more about it at the time, but apparently it sent the agri-dogs into a fury like she was smuggling cocaine into the state. :)

    Thankfully they let us go.

    • Melanie Dale

      Ahhh!!! Great story! I love the ag-sniffing dog component. How scary!!!

  • Melanie Dale

    I’ve tallied up the votes and between likes, comments, and random people telling me their votes, there is an overwhelming tie between Christina and Awesomemom. So I’m sending fun stuff to both of you. Send me your name and address here

    • Christina Bruffy Baad

      Yay! Can’t wait for a little box of goodies :)
      Thank you for being so generous!





Oh hey! Wanna be friends?

  • Get exclusive emails each month.