I thought I'd share a bit how the Easter Bunny visits my house to see if I can help others save a bit of money when they are doing them for their family (psst...make sure littles aren't around when you read this).
Above is the Easter basket my kids will be getting this year. And thus, we lead to my first tip...
1. Have a group Easter Basket.
Around here, the Easter Bunny doesn't deliver individual Easter baskets. He grabs whatever basket is handy (in this case a large basket that I mainly use for holding large fruits when we buy them, such as pineapple) and fills it with his goodies. And yes, he grabs ONE basket. I don't feel a need for my kids to each have their own basket as it just takes more to fill it and honestly, the thought is there whether you fill individual baskets or not.
I have two children, a boy and a girl and a special needs boy at that. So, it will be very obvious to my children which toys are theirs come Easter. My son will grab his whether my daughter likes it or not and that will be that and she'll know that the other toys are hers. If you have a few kids to worry about, you could just stick name tags on toys. It'll still be easy, look good in the basket and save you money.
2. Try to make some of your own treats.
I do put some store bought candy (Starburst as they are safe for my son's peanut allergy) in a few Easter eggs into my kid's basket, mainly because for some odd reason my daughter loves the things...they don't last long without getting broken, but she loves playing with them none the less. But, for the most part, I make my own Easter treats.
The chocolate rabbits in the basket above are from the same mold and actually didn't take many chocolate melts at all to make. I have to special order chocolate from a nut free store online, so these save me tons of money instead of buying the pre-made allergy friendly bunnies instead. The mold I picked up at a thrift store last year for .15, so it was definitely cost effective.
The wax paper wrapped treats (I ran out of cellophane bags a while ago, unless they are Christmas themed) are the above treats (with a shot of one of the Peter Rabbit themed napkins I'm embroidering for fun, each napkin has a different scene from the story...this one is Peter sneaking away to go to the garden instead of behaving himself :). The treats are three marshmallows put on a lollipop stick. I then dipped them in melted caramel, waited for that to set a bit and then dipped them in melted chocolate melts and covered them in sprinkles. My husband tried one and immediately started making his own with spare supplies, so I think they'll be a hit. I would love to take credit for the idea, but I stole the idea from a nut free candy catalog because I looked at what they were charging for the marshmallow treats and went, "Um, no." Total cost to make these: Nothing. I had all the supplies around here.
Other years I've made chocolate truffles, or mini chocolate cupcakes. Anything that you normally don't make that will make the holidays seem special, but with things you have around the house, will not only make your pocket book thank you, but will make your kids happy as well.
3. I buy things I know my kids will use.
So many people buy things that are Easter themed, but things that the kids will love for a few days and that'll be that (saying the person who spent .99 on Easter eggs because her daughter will enjoy them for a week before they break *laugh*). This year I got my son a wind up toy rabbit that jumps as he likes to watch things move (a dollar and some change on sale at the store), and a ball because he plays with balls constantly (.50 at a thrift store that I bought a while ago).
For my daughter I bought her a mini kite that she can drag around the yard to get to "fly" instead of her big one that she can't really get up in the air without help (1.49 at the store) and a stuffed bunny that I got at a thrift store, put through the washer for a bath and looks great (.50 at a used store because it had a minor stain on it, that I got out no problem just by washing it). I know she'll pretend very quickly that the bunny is Rabbit's wife and that they have kids (probably stealing my son's wind up rabbit for a baby in the process) and she'll have fun with it for quite a while. It works for me. And I topped the entire basket off with a couple of bubble wands (on sale for .99 a piece at the store).
The total cost for the basket tops out at about 5.00 total, but it looks like there is a LOT more money involved because it's all in one basket and I made home made treats to spruce up the interior.
The big thing is that the items will be used when it comes to the toys. Sure, with the exception of the bunny, the items aren't really "Easter" but the kids won't care.
Some other ideas for home made treats/Easter things:
1. Home made play dough.Use your imagination. You might as well have fun with the holiday too.
2. Home made "slime"
3. Sugar cookies shaped like Easter objects. Or if you don't have cookie cutters like that, cut out circular cookies and then decorate with some icing in a squeeze bottle to make them Easter themed.
4. Treat "coupons" (give them to your kids and let them be in charge of things you think they'll like. For instance, "Choose a movie", "Choose the movie treat", "Dessert first", etc. They are always a hit with kids).
5. Home made paper dolls (there are LOTS of free online sites where you can print paper dolls for free, including Easter themed ones).