So you’re heading to the mall this weekend and you want to get a great picture of your child with the Easter Bunny. Well, I just happen to have over a decade of experience working with the bunny himself, so I’m going to tell you how to make it happen. That’s right, you heard me, I worked with the Easter Bunny. Actually, I was the boss of the bunny!
I managed the photo set in my local mall for nearly 12 years. I’ve seen every situation, from screaming toddlers to annoyed teens. I’ve even seen dogs tear off the bunny’s head. My dogs, to be precise. It wasn’t as traumatic as it sounds. It happened on pet night, at the end when no kids were in sight, and it was an accident, not a vicious mauling. I digress. If you want to get great pictures with the Easter Bunny, follow these tips!
How to Get a Great Picture of Your Child with the Easter Bunny
It’s all about timing.
If there is ANY way you can avoid going on the weekend, find it and do it. Saturday and Sunday are the WORST days to go to the mall for pictures with the Easter Bunny. They’re the worst days to go anywhere, really. Of course, they’re so busy because for many parents, they’re the ONLY days available. While some malls are just always busy, ours tended to be slowest on Mondays-Wednesdays.
If you must go on the weekend, try to get there early. The sweet spot time when I worked? About 20 minutes after opening. By that point I knew if I was going to have any equipment issues for the morning, had the lightning just right, and reached the point where I was starting to feel a little lonely.
The worst times of day: right before break (yes, the bunny DOES need to eat, get a drink and use the bathroom), right after break (lines build up) and right before closing.
Do a trial run
If you live close to the mall and you think your child may be scared, do a trial run. Take her up to see how she reacts to the bunny. If she freaks out, you know you’ll need to either let it go or come up with a few different plans to get her up there. While you’re there, check out the colors of the bunny’s fur and the chair. Some bunnies are a lighter beige while others are a deep brown. Why is this important? You want to plan your outfits around the colors in the bunny costume so you don’t end up melding into one big gooey rabbit. For the Easter season, bright colors tend to work well with the rabbit’s fur, but may clash with the chair.
Dealing with a Scared Child
Honestly, I think if your child is terrified, the best thing to do is leave and come back next year. A picture of your child with the Easter Bunny now really isn’t worth the therapy bills later in life, is it? If you’re intent on getting that picture though, there are a few tricks you can use.
First, let me say, bribery DOES NOT WORK on TERRIFIED TODDLERS. No matter how many things you promise little Susie, she is NOT going to get on the giant mutant rabbit’s lap. You can offer her the keys to Dora’s Magical Kingdom and she’ll still flat-out refuse.
What does work? Short bursts of exposure over a period of time. Start early and bring her back every day. Stand a little closer until she’s not scared. Who has time for that, though? Not many parents (although I have seen it done). Other tricks to get a picture (any picture) include:
- Family pictures: everyone gets in the photo, you hold your terrified child as far as humanly possible from the bunny
- The crying picture: many parents buy the crying picture because they can use it during the teen years as blackmail material. Also, sometimes it’s cute. I do not like this idea if the child is truly terrified though. It’s one thing if your child is a little teary because she JUST realized she doesn’t like the big fuzzy guy after all. It’s another thing entirely to abandon her to a Donnie Darko hallucination.
- The “phantom hand” picture: if you can settle her down, you may be able to get a great picture by just holding her hand and letting her stand next to the bunny. Yes, your hand will likely be in the picture, but the rest of you can be cropped out.
Getting great customer service from the staff
If you have an apprehensive child or a large, complicated family, you want the staff to love you. Trust me, if they like you, you’ll get your awesome picture of your child with the Easter Bunny! Now, of course all staff members are supposed to be professional and polite. They will be! We always were. Still, when we felt appreciated, we went above and beyond, even if it meant spending an hour (on a slow day, please) with a family to get that picture. So how do you get them to love you? It’s really simple: respect them.
Respect the fact that the bunny is a real person in a super hot costume with very little ventilation. Don’t get mad if you come during break time and they’re just leaving- they will be back. Help them out with your child. Tell them what she likes, what makes her laugh. Listen to suggestions. If you don’t like the ideas, tell them, but at least listen. Those ideas often come from years of trial and error.
I could probably write a book on getting great pictures of your child with the Easter bunny, but this covers the basics. FYI, these tips also work for Santa, for the most part. Getting a great picture is easy when you have a kid that’s excited about the bunny. The challenge comes when you have scared kids. Unfortunately, that happens to be pretty much 75% of the kids between ages 18 months and 4. That’s not a real statistic, just based on observation.
Wow, this was a lot longer than I thought it would be! I hope it helps you get that awesome picture!
Do you have any other tips on how to get great pictures of your child with the Easter bunny? Share them in the comments!