For starters, think about a fun basket that would be popular with families, parents, or kids. Stick to ideas that will have broad appeal. A coffee lovers basket, for example, likely will be more successful than a carrot juice lovers basket. (Not that there’s anything wrong with carrot juice.) Don’t worry that your idea isn’t unique. You can make your basket an original by selecting a creative container and skillfully arranging the items.

Once you decide on a basket theme, come up with a list of items for your basket. You can either publish the list and ask for contributions, or ask parents to donate cash so you can do the item purchasing. This depends on how much time you have and what you think parents will be most comfortable doing.

Another tip: Give your basket a clever name to help it stand out at the auction. You can get a list of clever basket names from our friends at PTO Today.

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Here are some basket ideas:

Frozen Explosion
Container: Cooler or large blue bucket
Items: A DVD of the movie Frozen, ice-theme candies, other Frozen-theme merchandise.

Family Movie Night
Container: Giant-sized popcorn bucket
Items: A variety of popcorns, a selection of classic kid movies (Disney classics are always a good choice), sodas, and other snacks. Creative twist: Add a few blankets (for snuggling), which you can attach to the popcorn bucket with ribbon.

Summer in the Backyard
Container: Small plastic sandbox
Items: Plastic buckets, shovels, measuring cups, small plastic trucks, sandbox molds, plastic animals and people, and juice boxes for when the kids get thirsty.

We Love Cupcakes
Container: Large mixing bowl
Items: Cupcake pans, large wooden spoon, cupcake liners, cake mix, frostings, cake decorating tools, cupcake plate, and cupcake cookbook.

Pampered Mom

Container: Foot bath or pretty storage box
Items: Bubble bath, bath salts, towels, candles, a CD of meditative music, gift card to a local salon for a massage.

Grillers’ Delight
Container: Small grill
Items: Utensils, marinades, mitts, charcoal, and cookbooks about grilling.

Slow Cooking
Container: Slow cooker (Crock-Pot)
Items: Slow cooker cookbook (or two), large mixing and serving spoons, pot holder, and an array of cooking spices.

Local Errands
Container: Decorative bulletin board or storage box
Items: Gift cards for conveniences or attractions in your community like dry cleaning, grocery store, coffee shop, movie theater, restaurants, hair salon/barber shop, etc.

Pizza Night:
Container: Pizza pan or pizza
Items: Pizza sauce, ladle, ingredients for pizza dough, pizza cutter, and pizza cookbook. Add gluten-free recipes as well.

Tee Up
Container: Sports bag
Items: Tees, golf balls, visor, gloves, book about golf, a gift card to a golf store or to a local course. (If you are able to raise a good chunk of money, you could purchase a golf bag and use it as the container.)

Make Way for Baby
Container: Baby tub
Items: Baby wash cloths, soaps, shampoos, towels, diapers, diaper bag, onesies, burp cloths, infant toys, board books, teething rings, baby socks, bibs.

Green Thumb
Container: Large terra-cotta pot or wheelbarrow
Items: Gardening gloves, small shovel and other gardening tools, seeds, watering can, pruning sheers, small bag of soil, and bug spray. Creative twist: Have a local landscaper donate an hour of his time to provide expertise.

Outdoor Adventures
Container: Large cooler or small pop tent
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.

Get Ready for Kindergarten

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

Family Fitness
Container: Sports bag
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.

Book Club
Container: Decorative book bag
Items: Current best-selling books, wine glasses, wine, gourmet snacks, gift cards to local bookstores.