There was a big Easter Egg Hunt at the Park on Saturday.  Calling it a “hunt” is a stretch, because the colorful candies and eggs were simple to spot in the grass. But since this event is for children ten and under, the organizers want the candy to be easy to find.  I wish finding my Easter basket as a kid had been this painless.

I don’t know how many Forest Park parents hide Easter baskets for their children, I only know that hiding Easter candy approached a mania on my mother’s part.  I think she was determined that we would never find the sweets to save on our dental bill.

My mom had plenty of practice hiding things. At one time or another, she would conserve supplies by hiding shampoo, bath towels and cookies ” we could never find the cookies.

But all of this deception was but a warm-up for Easter morning.  She used her fertile imagination to put bowls of candy in unimaginable places.  She would wrap them in plastic and place them in out of the way spots, such as inside the vacuum cleaner bag, at the bottom of a sink of soapy water, or underneath the turntable of the stereo.

 The only mistake she ever made was putting the bowl of candy inside a lamp.  After we switched on the light, the chocolate melted and began smoking. 

I’m not sure which kid got fried chocolate that year but at least they got something.  Some of us wouldn’t find our bowl until after Easter.  We’d stumble on it, while we were looking for the bath towels. Hiding Easter baskets was such a fun and maddening tradition that I continued it with my own kids. 

I was just as devious as my mother but offered the children a few considerations: I didn’t want the whole house torn apart, so I told them which rooms they should confine their search to.  I also provided them with written clues.  And I would gear the difficulty to the age of the searcher.  Toddlers could find their bowl under the
couch, or beneath a pile of magazines, without too much

The older kids would find the younger kids baskets by accident but wouldn’t let on about their discoveries. 

The hiding places for the older kids were so difficult they were defeated on occasion.  Who would look to see if a bowl was taped to the underside of a table?  Who would notice that a plant was sitting up a little higher in its pot?  What kid would search through a cereal box, to find a bowl buried in the corn flakes? 

You would think this Easter tradition would have died by now, with the three oldest being in their 20’s.  But, every year, I increase the difficulty of the hiding places and make the clues more obscure. 

Our tradition is endangered this year, though, because we’re staying at a hotel for Easter.  I’m still considering finding hiding spots in the hotel room, or wrapping a bowl in plastic and placing it at the bottom of the pool.  As long as I avoid putting candy inside a lamp, I should be O.K.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/novelist who has seen his family thrive in Forest Park. He has published two books set in the village: The Ghost of Cleopatra and The Doll with the Sad Face.