A week until Easter, and you know what that means, Easter Egg “Hunts” are fully operational. While I have no desire to have children myself, I admittedly still like childhood activities. When I say I like various activities meant for children, what I mean to say is that I’m sort of jealous. I honestly haven’t fully grown out of my adolescence in some ways. I live for those tiny moments that comprised my childhood. Sometimes I say “I got to teach the kids how to play” as an excuse to join the play. Yeah, I’m guilty of living vicariously through my nieces. I love holiday traditions such as egg hunts during Easter when finding a tiny piece of chocolate in the perfect blue egg completed my most special of Sunday mornings.
Easter Egg Hunts were actual hunts when I was a child. I had this one neighbor down the street who held an Easter egg hunt. Not Mrs. Deaderly she was next door. You know the other old lady across from the Winstanley’s. Mrs. S—something? The one with the beautiful backyard garden. She hosted every kid on the block for a hunt in her garden after the Easter Sunday Guitar Mass. I think she started doing it for her grandchildren, you know, a good Irish Catholic family of 20+ grandchildren. When you have a couple dozen grandchildren, it doesn’t matter if a few more neighborhood kids swing by. A perfect little garden blooming with spring bulbs, tulips and daffodils all around. Plastic eggs tucked into the crevices of foliage. Big kids helping little kids so everyone got something. A legitimate hunt for all who searched.
Another hunt around Easter was at the local township park, Alverthorpe. Your average municipal park that has large fields with surrounding tree groves and picnic areas. Here again, the plastic eggs were tucked into folds of nature and the occasional picnic table or barbecue pit. A rewarding feeling, finding one in a hard spot and grabbing it out of the knot of a tree trunk. It didn’t really matter what was in them more of the challenge of finding them. I thought maybe I just grew up in a special town that actually took the time to hide the eggs. But when I asked some of my peers what they remember from their childhood Easter Egg Hunts, they also recall searching for eggs in woods.
This is not the Egg Hunt experience I’ve recently witnessed with my nieces. Eggs are not hidden anymore. What I have seen recently can only be described as an Easter Egg “Pick-up”. No hunting is involved. It’s a field of grass with thousands of plastic eggs strewn about by helpful volunteers. Yeah occasionally there’s like a golden ticket that you can find among all the other normal plastic candy filled eggs. Maybe it’s even something really good like 20% off to the local restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for the people who volunteer their time to create events like these that are the essence of childhood memories. And yeah, I know the Easter Bunny legitimately still hides eggs in people’s houses and yards for a real hunt on Easter Sunday.
But why do we still call the massive public ones an Easter Egg Hunt? Nobody’s hunting. It’s an adolescent vacuum cleaner of a grassy field. Thousands of plastic eggs swept up in less than three minutes. A tornado of children picking up shit because their parents told them that it’s fun. Yeah, yeah, the free chocolate is fucking awesome. Practically a year supply of chocolate for some kids. But there is something about the hunt for chocolate that is way better than whatever was in the egg. Even my youngest niece had a look on her face this weekend that said “Damn, this really feels a lot like cleaning, and I don’t like picking up toys, but I was promised chocolate so I’ll power through.” Maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a town that still actually hides Easter Eggs in woods. If you know of one that is still a good hunt, please tell me so I can covet the life you live. But I for one am disappointed in the activity we continue to call Easter Egg “Hunts” when all they are, are Easter Egg Pick-ups. Bring back the hunt… for the children.