I love holidays. That’s probably no surprise to you if you’ve visited my blog a few times. They have the ability to bring friends, family, neighbors and even strangers together in a unique way. I’ve wanted to host a neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt for quite some time. When we lived in Montana our church would host an egg hunt for the whole city. When we moved they were doing about 40,000 eggs, this year I saw that it was 60,000. We have seen the pros at work and helped a few years there so I figured we could do it on a small scale here. Only 600 eggs seemed very doable (and slightly laughable compared to 60,000) so this year we decided to go for it and I’m so glad we did. Our amazing church, Mosaic, gives grants to small groups for activities that will serve their neighborhoods and we were fortunate enough to receive one of those.
Our family celebrates Jesus on Easter. It’s one of the greatest things we celebrate all year, and every day for that matter. The fact that Jesus gave his life for me, for you, paid it all in the greatest act of love and sacrifice that has ever happened is reason to celebrate. More than just giving His life though He rose again. Death did not defeat Him and we now have hope every day for our redemption.
My kids don’t believe in the Easter bunny but that doesn’t mean we are anti egg hunts and filling a basket with a few chocolates and fun items to play with. We are still passing on the things that we value and our faith in Jesus. But we are also trying to pass on the value of loving our neighbors and making the place we live better. Communities that know one another and see each other more than just driving through once in a while are happier and safer places to be. We also want people to know that we love them and want to spend time with them even if we’re different from one another.
If you’re ever interested in hosting a neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt here are the things we did. I’m sure there are many other ways to do it and make it great but this is where we started. We also had a photo “booth” and face painting (thanks to our amazing friend Tristan because I’m no artist) to add to the festivities.
- Applied for a grant from our church. Those eggs and candy add up quickly.
- Order your eggs and candy. We used Oriental Trading. We ordered almost 600 eggs and what we thought was enough candy but were somehow short. Order more than you think you’ll need. Some pieces were too big to fit in the eggs. We were planning for each child to be able to collect about 20 eggs each.
- Pick a place to have it. We chose the park but you could do 3 houses that are right next to each other also.
- Plan your photo booth props. I had baskets with eggs, baskets with flowers I cut in the neighborhood, bunny ears, chairs, frames, blanket, fabric banner, and a few signs. Most of these things came from the dollar store or my own house.)
- Buy good quality face paint and get someone to do the face painting. This is a huge hit with the kids and gives people a reason to hang out for more than the 5 minutes the egg hunt takes.
- I had 13 eggs that had a slip of paper in them and if the kids found those they got to come pick a special prize which were small things I bought at the party supply store (stamps, straws, magnifying glasses, etc.)
- Make signs to separate ages. We did 0-2, 3-4, 5-10. (When we did the hunt we also let the small kids start first, then released the middle group, and a minute later the bigger kids.)
- Invite other neighbors to help you pull it off.
- Invite your neighbors! We used our neighborhood Facebook group, Nextdoor.com (if your neighborhood isn’t on here I HIGHLY recommend starting it for your hood), printed a few invitations to hand out, sent text messages, emails and fb messages to those we personally knew.
- Have a pizza party with some neighbors and your kids and then stuff all those Easter eggs with candy. This was so fun!
- Arrive at the park an hour before the hunt to set out the eggs, divide your age groups, set up photo spot, etc.
- Have fun!!
- Have all the kids empty their eggs of candy and toss their eggs back into a big box to reuse next year. They have to empty them all out to look for the ticket for the special prize anyway.
- Clean up well. You don’t want to leave garbage behind.
We had so much fun with this event even though I think that it rained the hardest during that hour that we were there than it did the any other hour the whole weekend. Despite the weather we had about 60 people show up and prove that they are hard core Portlanders. Rain doesn’t scare us away. The kids raced and slid through the grass to all those eggs waiting to be collected, braved the cold to wait in line to have their face painted and gave adorable smiles for their adoring fans behind the camera at the photo booth. I seriously loved every minute of it. So many people seemed shocked that we volunteered to plan this and that our church gave us the money to do it. I really do love shocking people with kindness and service. We had lots of helpers to make this happen so it wasn’t just us and that added to the fun of the day; we didn’t do it alone. The rain definitely didn’t dampen the spirit of the day and the joy that serving my neighbors brings. I’m so thankful we were able to do this.
If you have more fun ideas for us for next year let me know. Have you ever hosted a neighborhood event? I’d love to hear about it!