On Sunday morning, Katie Pudhorodsky and her kids, Darcy, 9, and Grady, 6, will plant handmade Easter eggs—made from cardboard and posted on paint stirrers—around the Clifford-Sanchez neighborhood, which is nestled between East 12th Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.
"We'll post them up in trees and on telephone poles, tape them to the side of the trash cans, much like you find a hidden Easter egg, so that if anyone is walking down the street, they can have a pleasant surprise in their day," Pudhorodsky said. "And the kids can be delighted as they walk the street and point out, 'I found one! I found one!'"
Public parks will be closed for the holiday, and most Easter events—including church services—are canceled or have been moved online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. But Austin families that celebrate have found an unconventional solution.
One resident in the South Lamar neighborhood posted about "at-a-distance" egg hunts on her local Nextdoor forum. To host, the post said, families should hide eggs that are visible from the street in their front yard, and then post the number of hidden eggs on their mailbox. To hunt, families should walk or bike around the neighborhood—maintaining a safe six-foot distance—and see how many eggs they can find.
This follows an international trend.
Earlier this week, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern reassured her youngest constituents that the Easter bunny—and also the tooth fairy—are considered to be "essential workers."
However, Ardern admitted it might be difficult for the bunny to reach everyone this year and recommended children draw an Easter egg and post the picture in their front window, to be discovered by neighbors out on walks.
Since Austin schools closed March 16, many children—here and around the country—have participated in a different hunt: for bears.
Seemingly inspired by the 1989 children's book "We're Going on a Bear Hunt," written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, families have placed stuffed animals in their windows for others to spot.
Pudhorodsky said her family has strapped a stuffed monkey to the post by their front door. Darcy and Grady have hunted for others in their neighborhood, though they haven't found many yet.
But much of the fun is in the preparation, Pudhorodsky said.
"Darcy really likes to spread joy and make somebody happy," she said. "So I think she's really going to enjoy that. I think that's going to be the highlight of her time."
The activity provides a welcome reprieve—especially for Darcy, who is sad to be home from school. The third-grader was looking forward to taking the statewide STAAR test and celebrating with a classroom party.
When Easter is over, the family will be on the hunt for another animal.
"She was really excited to dissect a fish this year," Pudhorodsky said. "So, we're going to have to figure out how to dissect the fish at our house."
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