The Year I Was the Easter Bunny + an Easter-themed Salad Recipe

When I think back to my most memorable Easter it was long after the stages of neon grass filled baskets and endless jelly beans.  It occurred my first year out of college.  I had recently ended things at one of those “internships” that looks suspiciously like a 60-hour work week, and I’d started looking for something that I could finagle with last minute auditions.  While leafing through BackStage West I came upon an ad for a local company that hired actors to perform at kids’ birthday parties.   I sent off my headshot and resume, and within a few days I was hired.

During the training we were taught to do a few simple magic tricks involving a magic wand, including one vital one that gave us the power to remove our fluffy costumed paws.  (Yes, the tricks were really high tech.)  That way we could use face paint on the kids and make balloon animals. I learned how to twist balloons into the shapes of giraffes, bunnies, swords, and flowers.

Each Friday I’d drive to Culver City to find out who I was going to be for the weekend.  Sometimes I was a Power Ranger.  Sometimes I was Barbie or Cinderella.  Other times I was Scooby Doo, Hello Kitty, or even just a generic dinosaur.  (Of course, they never advertised their characters as those specific names for copyright reasons.  I was a fashion doll or a mystery-sleuthing hound.  You know the drill.)  The costumes varied from being quite realistic and well made to a little flimsy around the edges.

At first I really enjoyed it.  I was greeted like a princess rock star.

“Oh, my god.  Barbie is here.  Barbie!  At my birthday!”

I regaled the girls with stories about Ken and our dream house.  I painted hearts and flowers on their cheeks, made some balloon daisies, and gave my best queen-like wave goodbye.

Then after a few weeks, it somehow took an unfortunate turn.  The problems began when I started going to parties for children over seven.  I don’t know what it is about seven, but at that point suspicion came to life.  It’s not the full-blown affirmation that happens around ten.  It’s this nagging and overpowering sense that they might be getting duped.  If seven year olds had their own kiddy version of Cheaters, it would mostly involve finding out the real truth behind the Tooth Fairy.

“Betsy, we have this video footage of your mom grasping underneath your pillow while you slept.  Do you want to see it?”

It was at that age that I spent a good chunk of my time deflecting the question, “Are you real?”

Was I really Barbie?  My North Hollywood dream apartment and dream Chevy Cavalier would have pointed largely to no.  But what do you do?  The parents have shelled out money for their little one’s party all bent on the idea that this celebrity sighting would be a highlight of the day.

But I should get back to the subject at hand, and that is Easter.  On this Easter in question all of those years ago, I was to attend a small gathering dressed, of course, as the Easter Bunny.  When I picked up the costume, I was impressed.  It had a real lifelike look to it, much better than your average mall-variety bunny.  It eased my worries a little, as just a week before I’d had a particularly bad run-in with a ten year old who wouldn’t let it go that I couldn’t possibly be an actual dinosaur at his party.

“You’re extinct!” he screamed at me. I only wish I was kidding.

So this bunny gig boded well.  It seemed like it would bring on better days.  I drove to East Los Angeles and popped on my bunny head.  (We were told to do all of this from outside of viewing distance from the home in case the kids were watching out the windows.)  I knocked on the door and was greeted by a mom who was surrounded by a group of seven to ten year olds and one baby.  The mother put the baby into my furry arms, left me with the children, and went outside presumably to mingle over fruit salad and mimosas. I started into my shtick, but the kids weren’t having any of it.  (Although the baby seemed positively delighted.)

I should mention that playing Barbie or a princess was the easy part.  The hard part was when parents would leave you to play games and watch after their sugar-loaded kids while dressed as a fluffy bunny.  You know who doesn’t garner respect?  A grown adult dressed as a fluffy bunny.  I felt as if all of the tools I’d gained in adulthood in keeping order with children were now stripped from me.

(If parents really want their 18-year-olds to consider higher education outside of theatre school, they should show them a variation of those 16 and Pregnant-style precautionary shows.  It would pretty much be me wearing a headband to catch all of the sweat that pours into your eyes while wearing an enormous costumed head but that you don’t have access to with your hands.  I’d be sneaking up on a house, slipping on my rabbit head and saying,  “I didn’t plan on my twenties looking like this…”)

I showed the kids my magic wand.  I offered to make balloon animals.  But all they wanted to do was have that epic, existential conversation…  Was I real?  At this point it all seemed to be very surreal being dressed as the Easter Bunny, pondering the questions of our times.  Who was I to break the truth to these kids, once and for all?

After a considerable amount of debate, the kids gave up on me and ran outside.  I worried what that might do to my tip that I couldn’t keep the kids entertained.  I decided the only thing left to do was continue on with it for the amusement of the baby.  I removed my paws and started working on a few tricks for her, and then the kids had a change of heart and came back just in time to see me handless (or would that be hand-ful?).

“See!  You aren’t real!”

“No,” I sputtered.  “It’s all part of the magic.  See, but you missed it…”  Happy Easter, kids.

It was completely fruitless.  I’d sealed my bunny fate as a fraud.

I did a few more parties after that, but I started looking for other things.  If I’d wanted to spend that much time pondering my own existence, I would have gone into philosophy.

Easter Basket Salad

  • Pineapple, sliced & also shaped into a bunny
  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Kale, shredded with the shred blade in a food processor
  • For bunny features: thyme leaves for eyes, red bell pepper for nose and mouth, strawberry top for hat, strawberry slice for necklace, and a chickpea tail

Assemble in a bowl and top with your favorite dressing.  I topped it with creamy cashew dressing, but a raspberry vinaigrette would also be lovely.

12 thoughts on “The Year I Was the Easter Bunny + an Easter-themed Salad Recipe

  1. We really are twins! For about a year, during college, I was a Princess/Fairy/Cinderella for children’s parties! There is nothing like trying to wrangle 20 four year olds while wearing gigantic fairy wings and having the parents sip cocktails and laugh. I never had to wear an Easter Bunny suit, or anything requiring me to wear a head, though. I do not envy you for a bit! I love your little salad “rabbit” and I especially love that she (or he) is wearing a necklace and hat. Awesome!

    • Why am I not surprised that we BOTH worked as entertainers at kids’ birthday parties? Yes, I don’t think parents realize how futile it is to have the person in the ridiculous costume also be the one in charge of keeping everything in order. Perhaps many parents were just happy to have a babysitter for an hour or two!

  2. In explanation, I worked for a children’s theater company that hired Cadry to do Christmas shows for many years (and she was one of my dearest company members!!) Cadry, I am so glad I got to offer you a job as something other than the Easter Bunny!!! Although I have to say that we have had our share of scary crowd control moments trying to get through “The Nutcracker” for an unruly audience of teenagers who would rather be home
    watching “Jersey Shore.”

    • Yes, I was more than happy to leave children’s parties behind in exchange for school tours! For all of the years we worked together, we’d certainly have lots of stories to tell! :)

  3. Loved your story and am so glad I can’t say I shared a similar occupation, though I have had my share of child-crowd-control gigs.

    The other night my 4-year-old granddaughter handed me a bunch of dandelions, and I put them behind my ear. “You look so pretty,” she said. “Now you need a princess dress.” You don’t happen to have one I can borrow, do you?

    • Thanks, Andrea! I’m glad you don’t suffer from any bunny-related flashbacks! ;)

      What your granddaughter said was so sweet! I just love how kids don’t edit themselves and freely say what’s going on in their minds. (At least most of the time I love that…) What would the world look like if we always told each other the nice things we think about them? I’ll put some feelers out on a princess dress for you… I’m sure I can wrangle something. :D

  4. Bahaha. Great post. I was an elf who wrote on cheap Christmas ornaments. I also worked at this crazy party place called Motion Potion. it was run by a crazy Russian woman who hated kids. I wrote and adapted kids scripts and had to act out every character from the Little effing Mermaid…oh sorry kids.And who would have thunk that all of us fictional characters would have graduated to doing blogs :)

    • I’d love to be a fly on the wall at your job interviews… “Well, I have extensive experience as an Elf and as a Mermaid.” I have to say, I’m much happier spending my Saturdays writing blog posts, even if less tiaras are involved.

  5. That bunny fruit salad is killing me!!! And you as the Easter Bunny??? hehehe. You are adorable. That story is hilarious, by the way. You can’t fool kids much these days. What ever happened to just believing? Good grief…

    • Now it all makes sense why Mickey Mouse and the other costumed characters at Disneyland don’t talk. Today’s kids have become little detectives! :D

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