Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Egg Hunt and Picnic in Central Park {New York City}

Our family hosted an Easter Egg Hunt and Picnic for our kids' friends and their families. I had a blast planning all the details, and it was a perfect day.    I feel so blessed that we had such a great turnout and incredible weather.

Favorite elements included:
  • The invitation {custom-designed by the incredible Erin of HallmarkInk}
  • Reading nook {tucked under the willow tree with a blanket,  floor cushions to sit on, and Easter/springtime books}
  • Bubble machine {battery operated, purchased here with this amazing bubble solution. The kids loved it.}
  • Favors {carrot bags filled with goldfish for each child, and large carrot-shaped bags filled with kettle corn for each family}
  • Handmade pinata and face painting {the pinata was handmade by my amazing friend Heidi, who also does face painting. I have such talented friends!}
  • The cake {our friend Peter designed a custom cake, and as usual, it was absolutely incredible, with gorgeous piping and a cameo of Pat the Bunny. I basically gave them a color scheme and shared my Pinterest inspiration board with them, and I really wanted it to be a surprise. I got to cover my eyes and everything :) I was a bit obsessed with taking pictures of it.  I just couldn't help myself. He also cut the cake and served it to our guests.  Which was amazing.  I could not have cut into that gorgeous work of art if you'd paid me}
Scroll to the bottom for more details about the hunt, and to see what I learned from this event. I always learn something new when I host, and I'm trying to be better about writing down what I learn so I remember for next time.











  • Hosting an event in Central Park:  
    • A permit is required for more than 20 people.  It was a $25 fee, and took just over a month to get it finalized and approved.  
    • There is no water access, no power, and no public toilet facilities nearby.
    • There is also no vehicle access to the site, so we had to haul all of our supplies in on a granny cart and carry the rest
    • We could only have one small folding table on site. Totally limits what you can do in terms of serving food, which is why we just provided dessert.
    • Our permit limited our attendance to 100 people, so we couldn't be as inclusive as we wanted to be and just kept it to our kids' friends in the 18 month -5 age range (and their siblings were invited to come too, some older, some younger)
    • This group consisted of our friends, and we knew that they would do their best to take care of their children, clean up after themselves, and do what they could to help. They did, and cleanup was an absolute breeze because everyone took responsibility for themselves.  Nice.
  • Egg hunt organization:  
    • I considered it to be a huge success, and I think a big part of that was that we tried to keep the hunt organized, and asked the parents to talk to their kids and help manage expectations.   
    •  We asked the guests to bring 10 eggs per child, with half filled with candy, half filled with a toy or a healthy snack.  I was blown away by the participation, and most everyone brought at least 15 eggs per child. It made it even more fun that we didn't have to limit the number of eggs each child picked up.
    • I organized the hunt by assigning a color to each age group.  Each child received a colored bracelet that they had to wear if they wanted to be part of the hunt (which identified the age groups, but also helped us to see if we had egg hunt-crashers. Always a concern in a public park).  
    • When the hunt began, I held up giant colored flashcards, and the kids knew exactly when to hunt.  It was the most civil egg hunt I've ever witnessed.  The kids were amazing, and SO patient while they waited. I could hardly believe it. 
    • I held the older kids back because I knew they'd have an unfair advantage, but the youngest kids got a TON of eggs, and the older kids didn't get as many.  If we host a hunt this big again, I'd still break up the age groups in this manner and have the littles go first, but I'd let the older kids go sooner and send them to a very specific area of the hunt (since 6+ year-olds are capable of listening to directions)
    • We did a separate hunt for the kids 2 and under. It was after the big hunt, while the older kids cracked open their eggs and began the sugar binge.  It was nice that they didn't get trampled by the older kids, but they didn't really "hunt." It was pretty hysterical to see them all just standing around.  My son picked up one egg, cracked it open, and saw Cadbury Mini Eggs.  He didn't pick up another egg, and was totally content with his little blue egg filled with the good stuff.
    • I searched for the perfect site for the hunt that had natural barriers and would give us the best chance to have a semi-private event in a public park.  I think it was perfect.  Some of the guests had to kindly ask random egg hunt-crashers to leave, but we didn't really have any problems associated with that. We were near the pond, which meant parents had to keep an eye on their kids, but I think it was actually a good thing because it wasn't just a free-for-all with crazy kids running everywhere and no parents in sight. 
  • Pinata:  
    • Heidi, my incredible friend and partner in crime, created the incredible pinata from scratch with paper mache over a balloon. Amazing, right? Yes, it was.
    • My mama sent light-weight toys/favors from Utah (harder to find stuff like that here), and Heidi filled the pinata with these toys, as well as a few bags of candy, and I also bagged up some cotton candy (light, but a nice filler!)
    • Heidi's husband John held the pinata on a stick, and then raised/lowered it to lower impact and ensure that EVERY child had a whack at it.  It was amazing! And John was very brave. 
    • Every child received one toy and one treat, and Heidi also put in some streamers to give it more of a visual effect when the pinata was smashed open- it was fantastic (and super easy to clean up!)
  • Regrets:  
    •  I left a bag of tabletop treats and snacks at home, and I totally forgot to refill the bowls we had.  Major whoops.
    • I didn't get enough pictures of the details, which were the things I put the most time into. Boo. I should have hired a photographer :) I'm hoping my friends got some great shots.
    • We should have considered hiring a babysitter to come and keep an eye on our kids.  Our son was having a rough day, and 0oor Kyle had to chase him around and keep him happy while attempting to be a gracious host.  I was not much help. Our older daughter ran around in a pack of girls, which was really fun to watch.
    • I should have specifically asked someone to come help with setup.  I didn't consider the fact that my son would have a total meltdown, so my husband was trying so hard to help me get set up and keep our kids occupied.  He ended up having to put ALL of his energy into keeping our son from having a meltdown, so I was mostly my own for getting things setup, so I wasn't nearly as put together as I would have liked, and was shooting the table and cake as they arrived. Oh well!
    • I was so busy making sure the hunt was going smoothly that I didn't really get to watch my daughter hunt.  Thankfully, my husband did, and I did manage to get a few pictures of her off hunting in the daffodils.