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5 ways to get creative with Easter baskets

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NEW YORK — With Easter coming up it's time to start plotting how to best your kid baskets from last year.

Some ideas:

GET CREATIVE WITH POPCORN

Is there anything more versatile than popcorn?

You can chocofy it, caramelize it or dye it in your favorite Easter hues. Try adding jellybeans or other Easter candy for added color, and mini marshmallows for added texture.

There's no end to the mixes and flavor combinations . This is your chance to get beyond the usual and have some fun. An abundance of recipes already exist on the internet. The site Twosisterscrafting.com used salted sweet cream, primary color jellybeans and pastel sprinkles for an Easter feel.

MAKE SOME CARROTS

Or at least carrot shapes. Look for packs of carrot-shaped cello bags at craft and other stores and have at it. Fill them with Reese's pieces or fish-shaped crackers for a carrot orange look, or just fill them with anything you want because the carrot shape is still fun for little kids.

Cello-wrapped carrot cargo fits nicely with just about anything else you might want to include in kid Easter baskets. If you're going for the real-carrot feel, added a little green ribbon at the top.

DITCH THE BASKET

Forget the traditional basket and fill a dump truck, inflatable wading pool or toy shopping cart with gifts and treats. Kids often ditch a basic basket but would have loads of fun with these receptacles as something extra.

A pull wagon would work, or a cartoon- or character-themed bucket filled with matching items.

One creative soul on Pinterest made good use of a clear vinyl rain umbrella, laying down a bed of iridescent plastic Easter grass on the inside and nestling toys and treats on top. Others used baseball caps as the catchall. One twist for what goes inside: Put a chocolate kiss in a plastic egg with a slip of paper that details something you love about the basket recipient, suggests Sherry Richert Belul of the gift site SimplyCelebrate.net.

Lia Griffith, a DIY crafter and designer, made a cute, sturdy Easter basket out of upcycled brown paper grocery bags using a woven design. The project takes four to five bags.

REACH FOR STRING

You know those string eggs made by soaking yarn or embroidery thread in diluted glue, homemade paste or sugar water, then wrapping it around a water balloon before popping for a lattice look? Take that an extra step for Easter.

One idea: Open up a wide hole and create an Easter diorama, or keep it simple using Easter grass and a large chocolate bunny. Or take on a favorite theme, such as icy blue and white for “Frozen.” Use bright yellow string and your big gap as the wide open mouth of a candy-filled Minion. Head to Pinterest for inspiration. Add bits of ribbon trim or blingy faux jewels.

PEEPS ON STICKS

There are oh so many things to do with these Easter evergreens as the peeps at Peeps come up with new types and flavors every year. Try poking them with chocolate-dipped and embellished pretzels, or pairing them with other easily pokable treats using kebab skewers. One health-conscious pinner paired Peeps on a stick with strawberries and chunks of colorful fruit.

Wrap your Peeps on sticks in cello and add a colorful tie or ribbon.

If playing with melted chocolate and sprinkles isn't your thing, make a bouquet of Peeps on sticks and arrange them in a vase or basket with Easter grass and other treats.

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