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Monday, April 9, 2012

The Passover [Easter] Egg Hunt Disaster

E and I just so happened to be visiting my parents over the Passover/Easter holiday. The university for which my mother works (which just so happens to be the university for which I used to work) hosted a big Egg Hunt and festival. We thought it would be great fun to take the little lady, allow her to have some fun, and maybe pick up an egg of two.

They asked that anyone wanting to participate arrive at least half an hour before the hunt began so they knew how many eggs to put out for each age group. We arrived a little more than half an hour early, which turned out to be great. E got to run around (she particularly liked falling and rolling around in some mulch) and pet some bunnies before it got too crowded. She even tried to take home the smaller of the two rabbits (the bunny's owner picked her up for E to pet, and E tried to just take her away... she would have one it, too, if we hadn't stopped her). For the older kids, they had a cake walk, the Passover [Easter] Bunny was there and ready for pictures, and there was a bubble station--so no one was left with nothing to do for that half hour. We met up with some of our friends--one couple who has an 11-month-old and a 2.5-year-old and the other who have a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old.

So, the time comes and they "break-up" the kids by age: 1-3, 4-6, 7-10... or something there-abouts. Except, they didn't wait long enough for the youngest to get situated before they called the others, so here was a lot of confusion. We finally got to the 1-3 year old area... behind another 85 1-3 year olds, their multiple parents and grandparents.

And there were 30 eggs.

My mom got separated from us and ended up in the area before we managed to get there. She said she counted the eggs (which were just laid out on the grass) and then started counting the children; she stopped counting when she got to almost 70, and there were still children coming.

So, of course, they said "go," the eggs were gone 20 seconds later (about enough time for E to lose her balance and fall over) and that was that. Ewas perfectly happy running around the green space--she didn't care if she had eggs or not. But I was a little disappointed. A) Because we wouldn't have gotten up that early and wasted our whole morning there (although, the picture I took of her attempting to rabbit-nap the bunny was probably worth it) and B) because I really wanted her to have the chance to at least touch an egg. I didn't expect her to come away with many, but one or two would have been nice for her first Egg Hunt.

But that wasn't the worst of it; like I said, E didn't give a flying flip. But most of the children who were there left with nothing and they were VERY upset. Parents were having to console their 4 and 5 year olds because they left with nothing; they didn't understand why they had come to an Egg Hunt and there were no eggs for them--not even one. None of the 5 children we knew that were there (E included) even touched an egg.

My mother and I thought this was a travesty. There should have been enough eggs for each child to leave with at least one--not for most children to leave with nothing. My dad disagreed. He thinks that it's just part of life, and if a child leaves with nothing and they're upset, it's a good teaching moment. I can agree with that assessment... when applied to a child being upset that he only found 3 eggs when his sister found 20.

Anyway....

I asked some of the other officers' wives what they thought of the situation--because, let's face it, if I am ever in a position to run an egg hunt, it will be on post with the FRG. There were a lot of stories about: kids were only allowed to find a certain number of eggs. Or they had to give up eggs so that everyone left with same number. I find that just as obnoxious as not having enough eggs--and I think it's that kind of behavior from which my father was trying to distance himself.

BUT! Have no fear: we stopped by Target on our way home, bought a good 50+ eggs, and hid them around my parents' front yard. E had a great time hunting eggs with my brother. She found about 10, sat down on the grass, and ate all of the jelly beans out of them. We've been hunting for days now, and she's been having a great time. So, or us, at least, it was a happy ending.

So, lesson's learned:
  • If I ever "run" an egg hunt, I will be sure to have an over-abundance of eggs. If we expect 30 kids to show up, I will have enough eggs for 130--I would rather everyone go home with a billion eggs than no eggs.
  • Don't go to big egg hunts unless organized by someone who doesn't suck.
  • Have egg hunts at home with only a few others will probably be the most fun and the least sucky.

4 comments:

  1. Dude. Worst egg hunt EVER.
    I like the kind that give a limit of some kind. It keeps things fair - otherwise you get bullies. Another thing that works well is how they do it in our community center event here. They have this "trail" type thing you follow through the building, starting with a bunny and a "guess the number of jelly beans" game. Then face painting and a beanbag toss. Then a craft (making a bag to hold eggs). Then, in a room, they have the whole floor covered with easter grass and little plants and etc, and eggs hidden throughout the room. Each child gets to find 5.
    Then you move on again to the "enter the raffle table" where you can fill out your entry form while waiting to get a picture with the Bunny.

    The first year we were here they did their events sortof melee-style. The various events were set up and it was just a free for all. AKA Madhouse. It was awful. People complained and they changed it and it is a zillion times better. Now people complain because they're bored waiting in line. But I want to punch them every time I hear it because seriously, madhouses are hell.

    Anyway, all that to say, if you do lead an egg hunt, those are both ways that are satisfying to the public. ;)
    And for the love of god don't be stingy with the eggs. Kids love those things. 5-7 is probably a good number to estimate for each kid.

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  2. Oh I want to mention - the "waiting in line" part only happens at the beginning to get in the building, before the face painting, and before the Bunny. They can complain all they want, I still think it's the best thing ever.

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    1. That is an interesting way to go about it. I think it could work well for a lot of things--not just Easter. I'm thinking Christmas crafts and Santa Clause!

      Yeah, I would have said at least 6 per child. And since I got NICE Target Easter eggs for $2 (I think I ended up with about 60 per bag), that's pretty damn cheap. I'd even go so far as to say that if you want to participate, it's $1 a kid OR 6 plastic eggs filled with insert-age-appropriate-item-here.

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    2. Yeah it does work really well. :)

      6 is a good number. :) As a parent, I totally wouldn't mind having to bring eggs to chip in, either.

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