By Chris Lewis
One Conception Bay South woman made sure the kids could enjoy Easter this year.
The spread of COVID-19 has seen major changes in the way society operates of late. For several weeks now, every province across the country has been in some form of lockdown, meaning that many businesses have closed shop while residents have isolated themselves at home. That’s also meant big changes to the way people celebrate major holidays as they comply with physical distancing guidelines set out by the federal government.
As a result, family gatherings for Easter Sunday were restricted to those living in each particular household – much different from the large extended family suppers that many Newfoundlanders traditionally enjoy.
Because this may all come as a bit of a shock to young children, Conception Bay South’s Mary Weir devised a solution.
Throughout Easter weekend, Weir adorned an Easter Bunny costume and made her way down various streets in the community, waving hello to isolated children who watched from behind closed windows.
The process leading up to this endeavour stemmed from Weir’s concerns about her own children’s Easter celebrations. She explained that every year she takes her kids out to get pictures taken with the Easter Bunny. Those plans were put to the wayside, however, once Coronavirus-related restrictions were put in place.
“I realized that it was the first year that they were not going to have their Easter Bunny picture,” she said,. “I grabbed my phone, hoping to get my hands on a reasonably priced costume. I thought if I could do that, even if I don’t get the costume until months after Easter, we can still get the picture here in the living room. That would be fine with me.”
As she suspected, when she found a costume she liked, she was told it would likely not be delivered until the end of May at the earliest. Weir ordered the costume anyway, and to her surprise, it showed up on the Tuesday before Easter – much sooner than she had expected.
Once she had the costume, Weir said she saw an opportunity to not only bring some cheer to her own children, but to some family members who lived nearby as well.
As she was getting ready to make the short trip to those family members, it dawned on her that there were some children living along her street who would no doubt be overjoyed to see the elusive Easter Bunny making his way down their street.
So, that’s what she did.
“I walked up our street and down the next side road before I went out to the cousins’ houses, and when I got there I ended up walking up and down their streets as well,” said Weir. “People would stop and ask me if I could go to this part of town, or that part of town. It kind of took on a life of its own, and I was happy to help make Easter a little more exciting for the kids. Seeing the kids all excited, and even the parents, was well worth it. Some kids even managed to get their Easter Bunny photo done because of it – just a little bit different as we kept our distance. I’d stand at the end of the driveway and the kids would stand on their doorstep. It was a good bit of fun.”
Weir even managed to maintain the illusion of the Easter Bunny by parking her vehicle a ways down the street, hidden from the general public where she could don the suit and parade past houses that she had driven by only moments before.
Weir’s perambulations even managed to put smiles on some faces outside the province.
“I was sitting in my car, just after taking the head off, and was texting the next cousins that I was planning to surprise with the Easter Bunny, when a car pulled up beside me and asked if they could take my picture to send to their grandkids up in Alberta … of course I did,” she said. “We actually had a lot of people do that. One woman worked at a daycare, and she wanted a picture she could send along to the families of the kids in the daycare.”
This was actually not the first time Weir has taken to the streets in a costume. She explained that just recently, one of her son’s friends was celebrating a birthday. In order to help celebrate from a distance, Weir’s son got dressed up in his Halloween costume, and Weir outfitted herself in an inflatable Tyrannosaurus Rex costume. The two made their way to the friend’s home, dancing and singing Happy Birthday at the end of his driveway.
“I danced, my six-year-old just kind of looked at me,” Weir said, laughing.
Weir spent several days dressed as the Easter Bunny throughout Easter Weekend, even taking some time out of her usual Sunday festivities to make some rounds up and down more streets near her own home.
Although she is hopeful the pandemic and lockdown will be done and over with by the time Easter rolls around again in 2021, Weir said her Easter excursion may become an annual adventure, and hopes that she may even be able to collaborate with local organizations to make it into something of a fundraising event.
“My own kids are six and three, and they were all looking forward to going up to nanny and poppy’s for Easter, like they always do,” said Weir. “They have a little egg hunt there every year, and I know they look forward to it. I kept trying to explain to them why they can’t do it this year, but it can be hard for young kids to understand … They’re missing their friends, their families, and they’re just out of their day-to-day routines. So, their little worlds are turned upside down. I know lots of kids are struggling with this, and I just wanted to help put a little bit more magic into the holidays for them.”