It is difficult enough for busy parents to find time for a night out without having to organize it all, too, so a basket containing the "ingredients" for an enjoyable evening away from the kids should be a welcome gift. Restaurant and cinema gift certificates will suit most people, but if the basket is for parents you know (rather than for fund-raising prizes) personalize it as much as possible.
No parents will be able to enjoy a night out if they're worried about what's happening back home. For close friends and family, consider creating a homemade gift certificate offering to look after their children at your home, so they don't have to be back early for a child minder. If you cannot volunteer to babysit, find out who their usual child minder is and arrange a gift certificate with them.
Many restaurants offer gift certificates which can be ordered in advance. If you are unsure what type of food the parents enjoy, some restaurant chains offer gift certificates which can be used in different establishments. Large hotels often contain several restaurants of different types, as well. Think about travel arrangements. If the couple will have to travel far, organize vouchers or advanced payment with a cab firm and include their details in the basket.
Theaters, cinemas and concert halls usually offer gift certificates. Include brochures with show listings, which will be useful and make the basket's contents more interesting. If you are providing tickets for a particular show, try to include a program. Some theaters offer signed programs, which make nice keepsakes. For more active couples, consider a gift certificate for a dance lesson. If the couple lives near a river, consider a gift certificate for a romantic evening cruise.
Include a bottle of bubbly and a suitable CD for a romantic start or end to the evening. A gift certificate for a beauty salon or hairdresser, or small gifts such as cosmetics or bubble bath, will give Mom a chance to pamper herself in preparation for her night out. If the entertainment arranged is active, such as dancing, include a disposable camera to capture fun moments. If the couple enjoys a drink, include a fun "hang-over cure" set.