How to Create the Ultimate Easter Basket

This year, skip the same old jelly beans and chocolate bunnies to create the ultimate Easter surprise. These fun and unique ideas, straight from the pros, will help you think outside the basket.

easter-eggs-and-chocolate-in-a-pot
Photo by James and James / Getty Images

The Base

1. Replace the typical Easter basket with a small canvas storage container, so “the basket is actually functional and useful after the hunt,” says Joy Cho, founder of Oh Joy. Create a special handle by connecting colored ribbons to the container.

2. Pile all the goodies in a Kanken mini backpack, says Camille Styles, founder of Camille Styles Blog and author of Camille Styles Entertaining. It may seem a bit pricey, but “I love the idea of giving kids their Easter goodies in something they can use all year long,” she says.

3. Stuff a clear paint can full of craft supplies like pom-poms, paint, and pipe cleaners. It’s a fun, unique idea that’s perfect for a little artist, says Sherry Petersik, Richmond-based blogger and author of Young House Love.

4. Create an atypical Easter basket for a young gourmand: Fill a kid-sized chef hat with an apron, wooden play food, and age-appropriate kitchen items like cookie cutters, says Petersik.

The Fillers

1. Instead of plastic grass, fill your Easter basket with cotton balls. “This Easter basket filler is about as inexpensive as it gets,” says Styles. “Pull each ball apart until it gets wispy for a fun Peter Cottontail-inspired Easter basket.”

2. “Use seeded handmade paper cut into strips,” says Cho. “That way, afterwards, the kids can help you plant the seeds in your backyard or in a window pot and see a part of their Easter basket come to life!” Here’s how to make your own seed paper with recycled scrap paper you have lying around the house (or, save time by purchasing pre-made seed paper)!

Egg Alternatives

1. A fun alternative to the traditional way of coloring Easter eggs is to write messages and designs with a white crayon on the egg, and wait until after the kids find their Easter baskets to color them, says Ceci Johnson, founder and creative director of Ceci New York. Set up a table with prepared egg dye, so kids can dunk their eggs in to reveal hidden messages from the Easter Bunny.

2. “If you're doing an egg hunt, larger seeds (like bean seeds—which grow quickly and easily) are fun to hide inside plastic eggs,” says Sarah Copeland, Real Simple Food Director and creator of the Edible Living blog. Her family calls them “magic beans,” like in Jack and the Beanstalk, to help get the kids excited. Plant the seeds as a family, and keep track of the plant’s progress throughout the spring.

3. For an edible alternative to eggs, use oval egg-shaped donut holes (make your own with a special baking pan, like this one) glazed in natural egg colors like robin’s egg blue, white glaze, or light milk chocolate glaze, says Peter Callahan, creative director of Peter Callahan Catering. You can nestle the donuts in a basket, wooden crate, or even on top of some wheat grass.

The Goodies

1. A favorite inedible idea of Joanna Goddard's, creator of A Cup of Jo, is a Tattly temporary tattoo. The kids will love applying and showing off their “ink” and parents will love the fact that they wash off with just a little soap and water.

2. A fun, interactive book like Pat the Bunny or a unique wooden toy make the perfect basket fillers for a little one, says Tara Mandy, publisher of Stroller Traffic.

3. “Fill your baskets with miniature animals, bouncy balls, stickers, cars, and hair accessories,” says Johnson. “These treats will surely up the fun and is much healthier than filling [the kids] up with sugar-coated treats all day!”

4. Fill your kids’ basket with rolls of colored washi tape. “Kids love tape. And parents love tape that kids can use that doesn’t permanently stick to anything,” says Cho.