Get Accurate Head Count of Kids
Because older kids will move quicker and be more motivated to get lots of eggs, they need a lot more eggs per old kid than say 2-year olds. Be sure to get RSVP’s so that you have enough eggs for your crowd. Calculate out how many eggs you’ll need by using the guide of at least 20-25 per child over 3 and 12-15 each for kids younger than 3. See the pic below which is a medium-sized basket—it’s got 8 large eggs and it’s barely filled.
NQM Tip #1: I’d recommend a separate course for little ones where eggs are very easy to find.
Fill the Plastic Eggs Well Ahead of the Event
I tend to get my eggs well ahead of the egg hunt and spend my evenings filling them while doing a bit of Netflix binge watching. This works perfect for small trinket-type filler items and wrapped treats. I’ve also hosted Mom’s Night Outs and had friends join in the fun and add to the mix of goodies to fill eggs with.
As you fill the eggs up, place them into easy to carry buckets and bins for you and a few friends to hide while folks are mingling before the hunt starts. I often keep food items and toys separate so that when we go to hide them we spread things around such that a given area won’t just have food or just have toys.
But, if you’re going to use food items that aren’t wrapped, you’ll need to wait until the last minute to stuff the eggs or use large storage containers or zip lock bags to keep things fresh.
NQM Tip #2: Don’t mix things like cheddar bunnies in the same baggie as loose jelly beans or other candy—the moisture and scent transfers a bit.
NQM Tip #3: Do not hide the eggs before the party starts because any food items will attract bugs—even if they are wrapped because the sugar smell comes through paper wrappers.
NQM Tip #4: Check out the NQM List of Non-Candy Easter Treats
Don’t Forget a Golden Egg (or Two)
It adds quite a bit of excitement and fun if kids are on the hunt for a well-hidden golden egg. The joy and pride the lucky kid feels is an awesome addition to the party. If you have an age range that necessitates a separate course, be sure to have a separate golden egg for the little guys.
Let Guests Know in a Day Before Reminder What to Expect
It’s important to send out a note about things like whether you’re rain or shine, if there’s anything challenging about finding your house and remind them to bring a basket for each child. Our house is tucked away from our road so I always place a welcome sign so that folks who haven’t been here can find us easily. We usually don’t start the egg hunt until around 45 minutes after the party starts so that any late comers don’t miss out.
Don’t Mow Your Lawn and Choose a Clear Boundary for the Egg Hunt Course
Having your grass be a bit longer is much better for hiding eggs so curtail your instinct to have your yard look pristine for company.
We use our gravel pathway to mark on side of the course and the trees that line our yard as the other side boundary. If you don’t have obvious boundary areas, use one of the many marker kits sold at Target, Amazon or other variety stores.
Opt for a Pot Luck to Keep Things Simple for Yourself
Let your friends add to the party by bringing most of the food! I used to dislike hosting pot lucks because you never quite knew whether or not you’d end up with a well-rounded assortment of foods. But these days, Evite lets you list what and how much is needed and folks will sign up online.
As a hostess, I love doing a Mimosa Bar because it’s so darn easy, you know you’ll have a beverage to offer the first guests and people love it. Etsy has hundreds of pretty and super inexpensive tags to choose from to make your bar a little more special while you let your guests know their options.
Menu wise, I recommend to provide at least 1 larger egg casserole or 2 quiches. Main dishes are often the item people avoid signing up for because they’re hard to keep warm and harder to make.
Greet Guests as they Arrive and Offer a Beverage First Thing
Our guest list includes families from Reina’s pre-school—some that we know well and others that we don’t. Often times egg hunt gatherings include folks you may not know super well from church or community organizations, so be sure to put them at ease right as they arrive. Being greeted, knowing where to set coats and potluck dishes, and having something to drink (whether champagne or water) lets people feel welcome and relaxed right away.
Consider Separating Food and Drink Areas
I find it better to keep buffet lines moving to keep food and drink areas near by each other but separate. I like having a coffee bar area along with Mimosa Bar (or Bloody Mary’s) and a variety of non-alcoholic options like water, juices, and lemonade.
Remember to offer things like decaf and regular coffee in thermoses to keep them hot, a few sweetener options like sugar, honey and Stevia along with cream or whole milk as well as plentiful cups and spoons plus a holder or cup to put dirty spoons in.
Set Buffet Up Strategically
Utensils belong either at the beginning of the buffet offerings (i.e. far left side of the table or counter) or at the end of the offering line up. It’s best to roll forks, knives and spoons inside a napkin to make them easier to carry. Larger plates also belong at the far left.
My preference for food placement is: main dishes, hearty side dishes, salads, fruit, pastries and desserts. Smaller plates and cocktail-size napkins are good to add near the sweets. I’ve also seen folks order in this way: pastries and breads, fruit, salads, side dishes, main dishes with desserts rounding the line up out at the end. If you feel like you’re short on main dishes I’d recommend the later set up order so that people fill up their plates before they hit the main course area.
Relax Your Healthy Food Standards a Bit—Don’t Stress Over Candy Being Present
As much as I prefer to limit sweets for kids, especially the super processed ones like Peeps, there’s something so fun and festive about having some old school sweet treats out. Adults love them too so go ahead and give them a guilty pleasure…just put them a little out of reach and keep on eye on your kids 😉
Have Serving Utensils, Trays and Bowls at the Ready
Because people often stop at the bakery and store on the way for their contribution, be sure to have an assortment of pretty serving items out and ready to put into service.
Recruit a Friend (or 2 or 3) to Help Hide the Eggs
Given that it’s best to have around 20 eggs per child, you end up with a lot of eggs to hide so ask at least a couple friends to help you. If you’re having a large group, I’d suggest around 1 adult per every 40-50 eggs needing to be hidden.
Have a Special Golden Egg Prize
This year we chose a lollipop bouquet from Dylan’s Candy Bar (available at Target) as well as a couple of Dylan’s solid chocolate rabbits. For the Smaller Kid Course winner, we gave a cute stuffed duckling. Other years we put a $5 and a special smaller candy in the egg itself but the lollipops and stuffed duck seemed to be better received.
I hope these tips help you host a fantastic Egg Hunt and Potluck! I’d love to hear from you if you have other great ideas for Easter—comment below!