All the fun without the big sugar rush!

By Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree Publisher Mar 24, 2018 March 25, 2024

We rarely buy candy yet between trick-or-treating, school parties, birthday parties, and treats brought in by Grammy and Nana, my kids always have more than their fair share. Easter seems to be yet another candy-centric holiday, so we scoured the Internet, walked the aisles at local stores, and reached out to our fans on Facebook for alternatives.

The basket pictured above is one our Easter Bunny will be delivering this year. The only piece of candy in it is the chocolate bunny. Filling a basket is more expensive when you use mostly non-candy items. The trick for us is to fill it with items we were planning to buy anyway ... movies we want to own, toys for summer, more rainbow loom bands. I usually pick up one or two items on each shopping trip beginning right after Valentine's Day.

For the Plastic Eggs:
Mini bubbles (the Dollar Tree store near us had packs of two in carrot or chick shapes)
Rainbow loom bands
Perler® beads
Erasers in fun shapes
Flavored lip balm
LEGO® pieces (buy a small set and separate them into individual eggs)

Edible Treats:
Sugar-free gum
Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks
Annie's Cheddar Bunny Cracker Snacks
Market Pantry Cheddar Chickadees (similar to Goldfish crackers but in the shape of chicks, available at Target)
Single-serving bags of nuts (we love Planters NUTrition and Wonderful® Pistachios)
Keebler™ sandwich crackers

Summer Items:
Sidewalk Chalk
Flip flops or Crocs
Squirt guns
Jump rope
Bug catcher kits

Trading cards: Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, football, baseball, basketball, etc.
Action figures: TMNT, superheroes, GI Joe, Star Wars, etc.
BEYBLADE toys and accessories
Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars

Nail polish, art pens, stickers, jewels, or other nail accessories
Hair bows, ribbons, barrettes, headbands, and other accessories
Makeup (play or real, depending on the age)
Jewelry (play or real, depending on the age)

Crafty Kid:
Duck® Brand Duct Tape
Mini play dough tubs
Googly eyes
Glitter glue
Chenille Stems
Foam stickers
Stamper Set
Paint-by-numbers set (Michaels had Color Pencil-by-Numbers for $1)

Any Kid:
Custom coupons (like these from 24/7 Moms)
iTunes gift card
Stuffed animals
Plant growing starter kits (we saw different egg-shaped kits at Walgreens, Michaels, and Target)
Mini puzzles (we found ours at the Dollar Tree store)
Silly string
Card games like Uno, Phase 10, Skip-Bo, Old Maid, Spoons (Walgreens had a wide variety)
Fun socks
Noise putty (makes sounds like bodily functions ... my kids love them!)
Silly, twisty straws
Grow capsules or creatures
Hidden pics and word find books
Glow Bracelets
Mini flashlights
Bath accessories like body sponges, bombs, bubbles, body paint
Books (Michaels had classic books in paperback for just $1)
Movies or video games (a total splurge item but if you're planning to buy them anyway, the Easter Basket is the perfect way to make it a special treat)

Need more ideas? Head to the Party Favor section or dollar bins at Target, or simply stroll the aisles at your favorite craft store, drugstore, or dollar store.