The Weirdest Things Guests Have Stolen From Events

At the Los Angeles finale party for American Idol in May, many guests took home pillows.

Photo: Sean Twomey/2me Studios

It's no secret that guests steal items from events, with unintended souvenirs such as placemats, pillows, and other decorative items walking out the door before the end of the night. We asked readers in our LinkedIn group, Event Planners Gather, to share the most bizarre items attendees have swiped (or tried to swipe) from events. Here's what they said:

“Two Harlequin-designed Chiavari chair covers and a very large disco ball. [A couple] actually hid the disco ball under their table after I had already told them once that they couldn't have it. Did I mention that both of these happened at very high-end charity galas?”
Shelly Tolo, president, Tolo Events L.L.C., Seattle

“Centerpieces always walk, but at most of my events, if I have chair ties they end up being wrapped around the guests' heads to absorb sweat on the dance floor, [and] then they just walk. End client always pays for them as the parties are such a success.”
Michelle Bougere, director of events, Production Services International, Denver

“Full topiary. It was like a classic spy-movie move ... exiting the premises while trying to hide behind the bush. Hilarious.”
Jessica Kausen, event producer, Ray Bloch Productions, New York

“Juggling balls. I was hired to perform magic and juggle in a trade show booth, so I brought five juggling balls. Throughout the day the juggling segment became more unusual as I had to substitute other things for the balls that people would take!”
Paul Draper, trainer, educator, and facilitator,, Las Vegas

“I had a beach-themed reception and attendees tried to take a surf board that was being used as the photo op. We also had hula hoops, which people walked out of the reception with and I wondered, 'How on earth would they get those home on the airplane?'”
Michelle Allgauer, meetings industry professional, Washington

“At a wedding reception one of the 'cousins' of the bride made her way into the kitchen prep area and made off with an entire roast and a leg of lamb. She told the caterer that the mother of the bride said she could have all leftovers. That worked until the bride's mother saw the bone sticking out of the top of her purse. Talk about family drama at a wedding.”
Denise Kelly, event specialist, All RelEvent Inc., Washington

“When I was in college I walked out of a great party with a large 'olde tyme' three-foot brass table lamp under my coat. The next weekend I threw a party, used the lamp as decoration, and when [it] was over the lamp was gone. How does it go? What goes around...”
Larry Lavine, C.E.O., Lavine Casting and PR, Beverly Hills

“I say embrace that attendees want to take home a piece of your event or brand and give them items that have staying power, either in their office or home. This extends your event past its lifespan and provides a talking piece for your attendees to gush about [their] experience!”
Heather Vaughan, vice president of marketing, Pac-12 Conference, Walnut Creek, California

What about you? What's the craziest thing you've seen guests take off with? Tell us:

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