In my junior year of highschool, a neighbor lady recruited my sister and I to play Easter Bunny to her three kids.
The set-up was simple. She left the key under the mat, bags of candies in the cupboard, and took the kids in to town for Easter service at church and brunch with Grandma. We let ourselves into her house, and scattered foil-wrapped chocolates and two-tone plastic eggs full of stickers, wash-off tattoos, and jelly beans all throughout the house.
Some years earlier, I’d babysat these kids, when they were littler and less biddable, so I knew the house and all of its nooks and crannies well. I knew where the middle boy used to like to sneak off and surreptitiously eat full packets of luncheon meat. I knew where the oldest boy liked to hide and spring out, wearing a werewolf mask and making “fearsome” snorts and growls. The parents had an eclectic selection of antiques and quirky furnishings rife with shelves, brackets, curlicues, and divots in which foil-wrapped chocolate eggs could be secreted.
We worked fast, not knowing exactly how long church or brunch would take. We wanted to be gone before noon. We tore ass around the house balancing eggs on curtain rods, on top of books on the shelves, behind figurines on the fireplace mantle, between the bannisters on the stairs, on the ladder rails of the boys’ bunk bed, in the slats of the Venetian blinds…basically everywhere that you could possibly wedge a Krisp egg, a marshmallow bunny, or a plastic egg full of treats, we hit.
Like reverse burglars, we worked with a thrilling sense that we could be caught in the act. In two hours, we exhausted the supply of sweets and left the house sprinkled with pastel-colored goodies twinkling in every crick and cranny.
By the time we’d been recruited for Bunny Duty, all three kids were in school. Kindergarten, first, and second graders, I think. For the boys, they were just about at that age that the magic dissipates, when you learn that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and all that are not real, and after that, the pretense is never quite so satisfying as the pre-enlightenment excitement.
So knowing that we were helping give these kids a real good magical hoorah was an excellent feeling. Give ‘em one to remember, you know. They were big enough to appreciate it, yet still little enough to appreciate it, too.
We left a note on the door, at child’s-eye-level, written on purple note paper adorned with sparkly “egg” stickers telling the kids to have a look around.
Their mom reported later that our mission had been a wild success, and that our egg-hiding skills were so good that they were still turning up the occasional chocolate a good two weeks afterward.