There’s a lot of posts out there about how to make the best egg hunt for Easter, but no one really addresses how much a disaster public scavenger hunts are. My expectations were set by scrolls of perfect Instagram photos with kids smiling as they gracefully kneel down to pick up a precious egg they found, dressed in their Easter best. That is not what we found last Saturday. I was totally unprepared for the mess at our local Easter egg hunt, and I’m never making that mistake again.
This was the first year when I felt my son might be interested in participating in our local Easter egg hunt. Leigh is only two. But he’s also sharp as a tack. He loves when we practice finding eggs I’ve hidden around the house. He gets excited and squeals every time he discovers one. I thought this whole egg hunt thing was in the bag. WRONG.
On a freezing cold Saturday, hundreds of parents crowded around an outdoor pavilion, grasping at the hands of their children dressed in winter coats, begging them to keep their hats and gloves on. The “egg hunt” was set up in a quarantined area, established by yellow caution tape. Bales of hay were spread out and hundreds of plastic eggs were tossed in the pile.
Divided into age groups, one parent was allowed to enter the egg hunt area with their child. Everyone else had to wait outside. Grandmas and grandpas crowded around in hopes of capturing the excitement on their phones. That’s how I found myself crouched down in a big pile of hay, digging for plastic eggs full of God knows what. While I was busy searching for something I didn’t really want to find, Leigh could have cared less. He was much more interested in watching the other kids. At one point, I look up to see this young child standing in front of my face, screaming. His mother was busy throwing around handfuls of hay in search of the brightly colored plastic eggs.
My husband and I joked the event might turn into a baby fight club, but the real laughingstock was the parents gobbling up as many of the eggs as they could get their hands on. In this egg hunt, everyone was supposed to collect ten eggs in exchange for their $3 wristband. After finding the eggs and trying to get Leigh to pick them up when placed directly in front of him, I only stuck it out in the hay pit until nine eggs appeared in our basket. The whole thing was over in minutes. I stood up and waited in line to scare the living daylights out of my son by introducing him to the Easter bunny (he actually didn’t cry, but he didn’t take his eyes off the man in the bunny suit the entire time).
We drove back home and let Leigh open his eggs to find little trinkets and a couple of chocolates. While he enjoyed the excitement of opening the eggs, he didn’t care if we found them at a public egg hunt or in our backyard. While I totally understand how much fun communal Easter egg hunts may be, I would have much rather kept my $3 and hid our own eggs in the backyard where I know my son won’t be pushed, confused or tricked by another adult looking to steal his prize.
I leave you with one last tip: don’t stuff all your kids’ eggs with chocolate. Initially, I filled a dozen eggs with M&Ms and Hershey Kisses. The night before Easter, I had a premonition of Leigh opening up each egg and chugging its insides one-by-one so I quickly switched out many of the chocolate candies for Goldfish crackers before hiding them. Leigh was rather disappointed to find that some eggs had chocolate and others just had cheesy crackers. Guess the Easter bunny will have to fill the eggs with something else next year. His basket was full of more fun than sweets. Target’s dollar section is the best for Easter basket stuffers! Garden rocks, birdhouses, bugs and birds are all great options for the big bunny to present on Sunday morning.
If you’re really looking for a good egg hunt, ask the grandparents. We did an Easter egg hunt at my dad’s farm on Sunday. They hid 50+ eggs outside for five kids and turned them loose before brunch. It was the perfect way to get them engaged and exhausted before they had the chance to whine or get antsy.