Hosting an egg hunt this Easter? Here are the basics to planning a successful holiday hunt without breaking a sweat.

By Real Simple Editors
Updated January 10, 2020
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Ask any kid who's been a part of one: Egg hunts are the best part of Easter celebrations. There's candy, outdoor activity, colorful eggs, a little light-hearted competition, and, best of all, prizes. While you're probably familiar with the modern Easter game of hiding hard-boiled eggs or plastic eggs filled with candy for kids to collect, versions of this particular Easter tradition appear to have been around for centuries. According to History.com, sources suggest the concept of the Easter bunny may initially derive from lore about an egg-laying hare, introduced in America by 18th century German settlers in Pennsylvania. Children would set out homemade nests, in which this ancestor of the Easter bunny could lay its pretty-colored eggs.

These days, it's the perfect excuse to get outside for some springtime air and watch kids young and old search for hidden treasure. Thinking it’s time you stepped up to host the annual Easter hunt extravaganza? Or maybe you're plotting a small-but-spirited at-home hunt for the little ones in your immediate family. Follow these easy steps for pulling off a classic Easter egg hunt like a pro.

1. Set the Date

Of course it's traditional to have an Easter egg hunt on Easter Day, but it's certainly not required. In fact, you may be attending a few in the neighborhood, in addition to hosting your own, so realistically not all egg hunts can happen on the same day. An ideal timeframe would be Easter weekend (Easter Sunday falls on April 12, 2020), or even the week/end before. If you’re planning on hosting outdoors, have a back-up location plan in case of rain or chilly weather.

2. Pick a Location

Whether the hunt is taking place in your front yard or the grounds of the community center, make sure the location works for your group. Pick an area that's large enough for your hunters, but not too large that it’s impossible to find the eggs. You’ll also want a spot where you can clearly define the boundaries, has plenty of grass, and is set far enough away from a road or pond. If you’re hosting inside, try and make sure the adventures take place on one floor so there are no stairs in the mix.

3. Stock Up on Eggs

Quite possibly the most important part of an Easter egg hunt. While some hosts prefer to hide real eggs, it’s often best to use plastic eggs, especially if there are a lot of little kids invited to your hunt (and bonus, you can fill each plastic egg with candy, knick-knacks, and even coins, if you're feeling generous!). You're also welcome to use a mix of both—the more eggs the merrier. If you’re not sure about how many to have on hand, we’d suggest about 10 eggs per child, depending on the age group.

4. Have Baskets, Buckets, and Pails at the Ready

You could host a BYOB (Bring Your Own Basket) Easter egg hunt—and it would be great if everyone showed up with baskets—but play it safe and assume you'll need to have egg-collecting gear for all your hunt attendees. Plan to have at least one vessel for goodies for every guest invited. Easter baskets are always traditional, but tote bags, beach pails, or even cute small boxes are fun Easter basket alternatives.

5. Hide the Eggs

Before you start hiding anything, count the eggs. (You’ll thank yourself later.) Choose hiding spots that make sense for the ages of the kids invited. You’ll want some eggs in more obvious locations (right on the open lawn), and others hidden in more challenging spots like tucked inside a mailbox, in a plant bed, or hidden behind the stump of a tree.

6. Ready, Set, Hunt

If you're hosting many kids of all different ages, think about letting kids start in rounds by age group or range. To be fair, let the the littlest hunters have first dibs on eggs. Once they go, start a countdown of a minute to 30 seconds (any longer and you'll probably make some enemies) before giving the older age groups the go-ahead to join in.

7. Count the Eggs

When you're certain that all the eggs have been found (this is where counting them before hiding them comes in handy), it's time to make the final tally. Sometimes even the egg hiders forget about those clever hiding spots. If you choose to reward the all-star gatherers—beyond the goodies inside their bounty of plastic eggs—now's the time to offer up festive Easter prizes.