Redefining the Easter Egg Hunt

Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

The Easter season wouldn’t be complete without bunnies, baskets and Easter egg hunts. The traditional Easter egg hunt is a staple for many families, but not always for those living in the city. Streets and concrete simply don't provide a ready-made environment for families wanting to hunt for edible delights outdoors.

So some people must be a little more creative with egg hunts. With new takes on the old tradition, an Easter egg hunt can turn into a neighborhood party for urbanites and suburbanites alike.

Choosing a decorating theme ... allows the opportunity to change things up each year and create new traditions based on old ones.

Barton Weiss, event designer

Setting the Stage

Every Easter egg hunt begins with a little decorating. Traditionally, families have dipped eggs in dyes of many colors and adorned them with ribbons and stickers. That practice can be applied no matter how or where the eggs are hidden.

Dawn Bryan, founder of the New York-based Qualipedia, a consumer information and lifestyle website, suggests using organic dyes made from spices, teas and flowers to produce muted pigments and colors. All it takes is to combine one or more of those items with two cups of water and a teaspoon of vinegar. Boil the ingredients for five minutes until the desired color is achieved.

A pre-hunt decorating party is one way to keep the children entertained and the adults engaged. Bryan says the party can combine egg decorating with bonnet trimming. While children work on the eggs, she says parents can embellish colorful straw hats with ribbons, feathers, artificial leaves, flowers, tulle, bows and buttons.

While pastel colors are a prime component of Easter eggs, a family can always make up their own themes and colors. Barton Weiss, an event designer based in Miami, Florida, suggests dressing up eggs as classic cartoons or representations of an adventure. If your family is a fan of Dr. Seuss, attach a hat to the egg with edible glue or draw eyes and a nose on it with melted chocolate or piping gel, says Weiss.

“Choosing a decorating theme adds another level of bonding to the annual hunt," Weiss said. "[It] allows the opportunity to change things up each year and create new traditions based on old ones.”

There's also no reason you have to use real eggs. You can prevent waste and work around any egg allergies with wooden, ceramic, Styrofoam or plastic eggs. Lauren Wuscher of Lauren David Style in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a resource for an allergy-free life, suggests stuffing plastic eggs with unique tokens.

“Some could have prizes, jokes and notes from the Easter Bunny inside,” Wuscher said. “I’ve also been to several Easter egg hunts where each child has a special colored egg to find.”

Bryan also suggests a little competition. A small prize might go to the child with the best dressed egg or the most creative hat.

The Hunt Is On

Suburbanites can hide Easter eggs in bushes or within lush green lawns. For urbanites who don't have that option, Wuscher suggests they go instead with full Easter baskets instead. Just hide the baskets inside the home, and when the party starts, give the kids clues to help them find their treats.

Florida-based food expert Jorj Morgan suggests teasing the hunters with chocolate eggs.

“Start with a green plastic egg filled with a clue that leads to the next colored egg,” Morgan said. “The clues lead you from room to room and from counter to chair leg.”

Consider creating a treasure map that provides clues to the hidden treasures. Or let the little ones reverse the rules by hiding the eggs for the adults to find.

If space is a concern, do an indoor egg hunt at a community center, skating rink or laser tag facility. As long as the space is spacious and clean, you can decorate for a holiday hunt with spring colors, straw and artificial grass.

Not everything has to be indoors. One elaborate option would be a scavenger hunt. If you use eggs of any kind, hide them the morning of the hunt so other forces, natural and otherwise, don't have time to steal them. Morgan says the eggs should be placed within walking distance from the home. As an alternative, she says families could take a cab or public transportation system to travel to various locations around the city to find egg-shaped objects like signs.

Incorporating the meal into the hunt is also another way to bring family, friends and neighbors together on Easter. Morgan says the event can start with a meal served on outdoor tables with individual picnic baskets at each place.

“Fill each basket with everything needed for a sit-down picnic meal, including plates, napkins, silverware and individually packed dishes," she said. "When the meal is complete, the empty baskets can be used to collect eggs on the hunt.”

Recycling Eggs

After the egg hunt is over, those colorful targets should become scrumptious leftovers to spruce up your holiday dinner. While deviled eggs and egg salad may be the most common use for Easter eggs, Dawn Bryan of suggests turning your hard-boiled eggs into the main dish.

“Goldenrod eggs, Scotch eggs, curried eggs, eggs Florentine, eggs Benedict or pickled eggs are just the beginning," Bryan said. "All can be incorporated into many different dishes, such as sliced and creamed with mushrooms or chipped beef over toast.“

Bryan said they can also be combined with Cobb, lentil, nicoise or spinach luncheon salads and added to Indian curries and potato salads.

If you just have a few eggs to work with, Bryan suggests mincing and freezing them to use as a spring garnish.