You Still Have Time to Plan That Easter Egg Hunt

It’s time to get ready for the annual Easter egg hunt. Well, actually it’s past time to stock up on candy a little at a time and to order the different eggs they have these days from the speciality catalogs—eggs filled with miniature dinosaurs, unicorns, bottles of bubbles and silly putty. But it’s never too late. Most grocery stores, drugstores and variety stores have Easter supplies.

And the great thing about an Easter egg hunt is that it can be what you want it to be. You can have it in your yard or even in your house if you don’t have a yard. And you don’t have to find a venue way ahead of time to book the magician, the bouncy house, zoo, aquarium or art museum for your theme birthday party.

First let me tell you what NOT to do, which we learned the hard way when we held an Easter egg party in a large local park for our children, their friends and families. We had to arrive an hour ahead of time to hide the eggs so that no one would know where they were. It was a hot day. By the time the kids were unleashed for the hunt, the sun had melted the chocolate eggs and the birds and squirrels had pecked through the shiny aluminum foil. Most kids aren’t going to exclaim, “Oh ,look mom, I got the mushy chocolate egg.”

Now some guidelines for what to do.

* Let everyone know ahead of time what time the Easter egg hunt will begin and that it will start on time. Since it will be over in 15 minutes, any latecomers will be out of luck. Might keep a few eggs in reserve just in case.

* You may not hunt until the bell rings. Some enterprising kids will want to scout the yard ahead of time so they can head straight for the eggs.

* Set out ground rules for where the kids can go. Hint—not in the flower garden. Line the kids up in a row so that no one gets a head start. There will be a frenzy once the bell goes off to begin the hunt. 

* Have plenty of eggs since some kids are better and faster than others and may find most of the eggs in a hurry. Prepare for about a dozen eggs for each child. So no one goes away disappointed, have a basket of extra eggs at the end in case a child has only found a couple of eggs.

* Since you’ll want to have your Easter egg hunt open to all ages up to say a reasonable 11 years old, recognize there will be varying skills with a wide age group. You can have the 2-6 year olds hunt in the backyard and the older kids in the front yard or you can give the younger kids a five-minute head start.

* It has become popular to hide a golden egg in a place that is a little more difficult to find. Make sure you have a golden egg for both the older and younger kids. Tell them to put that egg in their basket and keep hunting. When the hunt is over, the kid with the golden egg will be entitled to a prize such as a stuffed animal, large bouncy ball, movie tickets.

* Ask each child to bring an Easter basket but you should have a few extra bags, buckets or baskets for those who forget.

* It used to be when I grew up that eggs were filled with jelly beans. Now there are gummy bears, malted milk balls, skittles or M&Ms. It is best not to put in hard candy which can be a choking hazard. You may want to seal each egg with an adhesive dot to indicate it has been filled and to keep the egg from popping open. 

(9) Hide the eggs in places with varied levels of difficulty, and put them on different levels but NOT that include climbing. You don’t want the eggs to be so visible that they are immediately snapped up but you don’t want the kids to get discouraged when they can’t find your clever hiding places.

* There is no correct way to fill an egg. Some people like to put one kind of candy in an egg and others like to mix up a variety for the egg. These days pre-packaged eggs are available with miniature toys of all sorts but half the fun is getting a group together ahead of time to stuff the eggs. Mix it up with some of each.

* After the kids empty their eggs, collect them to use for next year.

* You may want to conclude the event with a brunch (bring your own dish to contribute) or a BBQ.

It’s time to get going. It always takes longer to stuff the eggs than you think.