This weekend, I joined the ranks of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and was let in on the secret, ancient art of delivering candy eggs to children.
I work for a children’s birthday party venue, which has provided me with endless unique experiences and hilariously strange encounters. This most recently included dressing up as the Easter Bunny and parading around town in a van filled with pastel-colored baskets of eggs.
I’ll let you in on the secret. The Easter Bunny’s first and most important rule is to never let a kid catch them without their head on. We don’t want a traumatic headless bunny or mutant human-bunny situation on our hands.
The costume is half onesie-pajama-style, half mascot-style. I wear a giant fuzzy white outfit and a colorful polka-dotted vest, a giant mascot bunny head with huge ears and tiny eye screens that block all peripheral vision. Top all of that off with a general ominous overtone. With the addition of some fake blood or a couple of purposeful gory incisions, I think the costume could easily be sold to a local haunted house.
Back to business: While my boss drives me from home to home, I am allowed to briefly remove my bunny head, inciting temporary dizziness as my eyes regain full sight. The second we approach the house, however, I must be fully hidden, or risk the neighborhood kids asking questions about the headless bunny driving around in the white van.
Once I arrive at the house, I do lots of waving and quirky little movements as my boss guides me up the porch stairs or around outdoor fire pits. We once came dangerously close to a full stop-drop-and-roll situation thanks to some minimally contained flames, my sheltered eyesight and my polyester bunny outfit. It would have been a bit of a party quencher for a bunch of kids to watch the Easter Bunny catch fire right before their eyes.
Most of the children are excited to see me in a kind of terrified-like way. They scream with joy, then back away in fear as a 6-foot bunny wearing a creepy polka-dotted vest hops toward them. Many children enjoy high-fives, others thank me for the chocolate eggs and some will occasionally hug me and tell me they love me. They are brave, approaching this terrifying, fuzzy monster.
At one point, a baby was thrust into my arms as a mob of parental paparazzi took our photo. The baby was half-successful in knocking off my head, which I had to quickly pull back down to avoid a huddle of nearby toddlers noticing. Another time, a girl took a selfie with me for her “Snapchat followers.” Spoken like a true wannabe-teenager.
At a different house, a baby cried as his parents instructed him to wave at me, which he did through bouts of tears. His dad said, “he’s going to have nightmares tonight,” and I agree. Me too, buddy. Me too.
The baby’s mother had just gotten home from her job as a nurse at a local hospital. She was still wearing scrubs and chatted with my boss about her responsibilities during the pandemic and her experience working with breast cancer patients. I stood there listening and trying to nod my head in understanding, overly conscious of my ridiculous appearance. “Yes, our jobs are both important,” I thought to myself, nodding my huge bunny head and flapping my foot-long ears in support.
That night, after a series of outdoor visits to unsuspecting children, I ditched my bunny costume and we prepared to hide eggs in various yards all night. Even without the scary costume, it feels strange to gallop around random people’s yards in the dark of night, hoping we didn’t accidentally drive to the wrong house. I don’t think most people would respond kindly to a group of individuals hiding plastic eggs in their backyard, no matter how delicious the chocolate contents might be.