Easter egg hunt gone wild

A group of zealous parents ruins a Colorado holiday tradition. How did this happen?

Topics: Parenting,

Easter egg hunt gone wild (Credit: Wendy Perry via Shutterstock/Salon)

It’s a competitive world out there for our children. We need to get them into good schools, good camps, and make sure they aren’t noshing on broken glass and dirty syringes at the playground. But moms and dads, do we really need to remind you that a springtime frolic is not the Harvard admissions interview?

The Associated Press reported Monday that a Colorado Springs Easter egg hunt has been canceled due to “aggressive parents” who managed to bring the hunt to an end in mere minutes last year. Organizers said that this time last year, “many parents had jumped a rope set up to allow only children into Bancroft Park” in the hopes of gobbling up brightly colored trophies on their offspring’s behalf. As parent Lenny Watkins, who participated in the hunt two years ago, told the AP, “You better believe I’m going to help my kid get one of those eggs. I promised my kid an Easter egg hunt and I’d want to give him an even edge.” Yes, we have apparently reached the point in certain parenting circles where a community event is on par with Mandarin lessons.

Having survived a few Easter egg hunts in my time — in the gladiator-like breeder arena of Brooklyn — I can attest to their often brutal, “Hunger Games”-like frenzy. It is no picnic — even on a picnic lawn — to be the family with the sobbing child who hasn’t scored a single plastic oval. But life is full of tantrums and disappointments. It’s full of grabsies for the same magical cape in the preschool dress-up box, and a coveted spot at the top of the monkey bars. But if we’re lucky, our kids can remind us that not every interaction has to be a fight to the death.



I remember my firstborn’s tears the year we were too late off the mark to snag a single egg at our local park’s hunt. There, a few yards away on the same lawn, was a friend from her preschool who’d gathered a small handful. This girl, at the sight of her sad playground buddy, came over with her mom and unhesitatingly gave my daughter one. It was an empty piece of plastic, one my daughter hadn’t “earned.” It was something I’d never have been able to score for her myself, either. It was a gesture of kindness on one child’s part and acceptance on another’s, one that defined a friendship. And the only way kids can get a moment like that is by getting into the hunt by themselves.

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>