Creative theme baskets make excellent raffle prizes and silent auction items. Creating a basket is as simple as choosing a theme, finding some interesting items that fit the theme, and placing them in a basket or, better yet, a themed container to sell or raffle as a single unit.

Silent Auction Basket Ideas

You might assign a theme to each classroom and ask a coordinator (typically the room parent) to solicit donations from families. Local businesses often are willing to donate gift cards, services, or even specific products. And sometimes teachers will collaborate on a basket.

The options for creative themes, items, and presentations are endless. Think of our list as a guide—use these ideas as is, or just as a way to get your own ideas flowing. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination—the sky’s the limit! When you’re ready to get started, follow our step-by-step instructions for how to make a gift basket.

Need more auction help? 

Read our Auction FAQs, which have all the answers you need for planning and running an auction.

Check out our tips for finding auction donations and get the auction lowdown from leaders on what sells—and what typically tanks—at school auctions.

Pamper Mom

Suggested items: Bubble bath, bath salts, towels, candles, a CD of meditative music, gift card to a local salon and/or for a massage.
Creative twist: Make the container part of the pampering—use a foot bath or a pretty basket suitable for keeping personal items.

For the Golfers

Suggested items: Tees, golf balls, visor, gloves, book about golf, a gift card to a golf store or to a local course.
Creative twist: Present the items in a sports bag.

148 silent auction ideas for items to sell (plus 7 to skip)

Grillers’ Delight

Suggested items: Utensils, marinades, mitts, charcoal, cookbooks about grilling.
Creative twist: Use a small grill as the basket.

Baby Love

Suggested items: Diapers, diaper bag, onesies, burp cloths, infant toys, board books, teething rings, baby socks, bibs.
Creative twist: Present the items in a baby bathtub.

For a Book Club

Suggested items: A few bestselling books, wine glasses, wine, gourmet snacks, gift card to local bookstore or Amazon.com.
Creative twist: Assemble the items in a pretty book bag.

Get Ready for Kindergarten

Suggested items: Educational games and toys, school spiritwear, school water bottle. Pack in a backpack.
Creative twist: If possible, arrange it so the principal or a kindergarten teacher presents the items to the winner.

Outdoor Adventures

Suggested items: Sleeping bag, fishing pole, mini lanterns, fixings for s’mores (graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate), head lamps, bug spray, citronella candles, gift cards to outdoor stores.
Creative twist: Pack the contents into a cooler or a tent.

Movie Night at Home

Suggested items: Boxes of candy and microwave popcorn, DVDs, movie passes, blankets, store gift cards (for DVDs and snacks).
Creative twist: Include restaurant gift cards so families can order takeout dinners as part of their night.

Italian Dinner Night

Suggested items: High-end pastas, a variety of sauces, Italian bread/bread sticks, Parmesan cheese, a bottle of red wine, and gift cards to an Italian deli and local Italian restaurant.
Creative twist: Present the items in a large pasta bowl.

For Gardeners

Suggested items: Garden store gift card, planters, watering cans, gloves, seeds, sunscreen, hand lotion, bags of soil, garden rack.
Creative twist: Pack the contents into a small garden cart (available at gardening stores or large stores like Walmart).

Aquarium

Suggested items: Fish-theme games and books, gift card to pet store, instructional books on fish care.
Creative twist: Present the items in an aquarium.

Family Fitness

Suggested items: Water bottles, fitness DVDs, books on healthy family activities (hikes, outdoor vacations, etc.), dumbbells, passes to local gyms and other fitness facilities (like roller-skating rinks).
Creative twist: Try to get local fitness businesses to donate services as part of the basket.

For the Dogs (or Cats)

Suggested items: Gift card to a pet store, dog (or cat) toys, dog (or cat) food bowls, pet jersey or sweater, shampoo and other grooming supplies, a leash.
Creative twist: Assemble the contents into a dog or cat bed.

Arts and Crafts

Suggested items: Markers, pens, colored pencils, crayons, craft paint, construction paper, paint brushes, stamping kit, jewelry kits, small wooden model kits, loom bracelet kit, poster board, gift card to craft store.
Creative twist: Present the items in a portable three-drawer storage cart.

Summer Fun

Suggested items: Beach towels, beach toys, balls, sunblock, sunglasses, gift cards to mini golf or other summer activities, yard toys (Frisbee, plastic bowling pins), bubbles, sidewalk chalk.
Creative twist: Present the items in a small outdoor sandbox.

Fun With Science

Suggested items: Tickets to science museum (if you have one nearby), science games, experiment kits, science puzzles, glow-in-the-dark ceiling stickers, goggles, a child-sized lab coat.
Creative twist: Consider setting up a simple experiment or two and demonstrate it during the event.

Baking With Kids

Suggested contents: Baking mixes (muffins, cakes, cookies), frosting, baking with kids cookbook, aprons, kids’ mixing utensils, measuring cups, cookie cutters, decorating supplies.
Creative twist: Display the items in a large mixing bowl.

All Sports

Suggested items: Balls (baseball, basketball, football, soccer), tickets to local sporting events, gift card to a sporting goods store, Frisbee, sports-team-theme apparel (shirts, hats, etc.) and blanket, water bottle, sports-theme books and board games
Creative twist: Arrange the items in a large duffel bag.

Local Errands

Suggested contents: Gift cards for conveniences or attractions in your community like dry cleaning, grocery store, coffee shop, movie theater, restaurants, hair salon/barber shop, etc.
Creative twist: Make the idea of errands seem more fun by arranging a “chauffeur”—a volunteer driver for a few hours on a weekend—as part of the prize.

Local Vendors

Suggested contents: Products from local vendors like baked goods, soap, jewelry, candles, and scarves (or other knitted creations).
Creative twist: Ask a local vendor to give a private tour to the winner. Kids would probably like going behind the scenes at the bakery or candle factory and seeing how they work.


Quick Hits

Team spirit: a few theme items for a popular baseball or football team, if you have one in your area, and tickets to a game

Coffee: different varieties of coffee, and gift cards to local coffee shops

Chocolate: boxes of chocolate and samplings of loose chocolates, gift cards to a candy/chocolate shop

Favorite kids’ books: ask your school’s teachers to contribute to this one by choosing their favorite classic

Legos: different sets of Legos, gift card to Lego store

Superheroes: action figures, DVDs, games

Cookies: different varieties of cookies, a cookbook of cookie recipes

Ice cream social: ice cream dishes, sauces, sprinkles and other assorted toppings, gift card to local grocery store, gift card to ice cream shop

Themed toys/games/books: for example, all princess, all pirate, etc.

Knitting fun: yarn, needles, mini tape measure, stitch markers, gift card to yarn shop

Originally posted in 2014 and updated regularly.