Some community Easter egg hunts this year are borrowing a page from Halloween decorators and using the cover of darkness to have glow-in-the dark egg hunts — something families might want to consider in their own back yards.
Holding an Easter egg hunt at night could even be fun for the adults, organizers say, and there's less competition with the dozens of other egg hunts happening all over Tampa Bay. And you don't have to worry about chocolates inside eggs melting in the Florida heat.
"We do an egg hunt each year and even had carnivals, but we wanted to shake things up a little this year," said Andrew Tedder, children's pastor at Bethel Church in Seminole Heights.
Every church and community center seemed to be crowding the calendar with a daytime Easter egg hunt over the next few weeks, he said. Then they saw the light.
"Very few were doing them at night," Tedder noted.
With a hunt scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Friday, they then researched the best way to give their Easter eggs a glow.
Some crafty websites swear by glow stick bracelets stuffed into large plastic eggs, others use glow-in-the-dark paint and black light flashlights.
But when Bethel sends waves of kids out onto the church grounds next Friday night, their secret ingredient will be LED finger lights, those cute little fingertip flashlights sold cheaply as party favors at dollar stores.
"They fit perfectly inside an Easter egg, and they light up great," Tedder said.
Over at LifePoint Community Church in Tampa, the nighttime hunt was such a big hit last year, it's coming back on April 15.
But this one will be indoors, using a black light to illuminate the hidden orbs. They bought more than 3,000 glow-in-the-dark plastic eggs from online retailer Oriental Trading Co., and there will be hunts in several rooms, divided by age.
Like Bethel, the eggs won't be loaded with candy. Instead the kids have to turn in their booty to collect candy and prizes, so the church gets its eggs back for next year.
There will also be free food and inflatables, in addition to the egg hunt, assistant pastor Shatana Rivera said. They are expecting 500-600 kids, from babies to preteens.
"We just wanted to do something the community could get involved in," Rivera said. "We did it last year, and the kids loved it so we decided stick with it."
Plan your own nighttime egg hunt
Thanks to Pinterest and mommy blogs there's no shortage of information on putting on your own glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt. Here's some tips from the pros:
• You have many glow source options: Battery-operated LED tealight candles, bendable glow bracelets, LED finger beam lights, black-light paint. You can also find plastic glow-in-the-dark eggs that need to be charged under a bright light for at least 30 minutes, but they lose their glow pretty fast.
• Use the extra large plastic eggs. There's no room leftover for a treat and a glow source with smaller eggs. And you can't stuff a glowstick bracelet in the smaller eggs without breaking open the glowstick and creating a mess.
• Even better, skip putting treats in the eggs. Finding a glowing egg is thrilling enough, so save yourself the extra work and have the hunters turn the eggs in exchange for candy. Or hide special prizes in only a few eggs.
• Instead of buying eggs, you can paint your own with paint that glows under a black light. Hide them in a large room with a black light or send the hunters out with a flashlight that has a black light bulb. This paint is water-based and suitable if you are using real, hollowed-out eggshells or papier-mache eggs.
• If using glowstick bracelets, the color green shines brightest, especially in the paler yellow, green, white or pink eggs.
• For safety's sake mark the edges of the hunting ground with glow paint or chalk. Hang up a string of lights in the trees to have a little bit of illumination without ruining the effect on the eggs.
• For added fun, have light-up decorations, glowing face paint and glow bracelets, necklaces or sparklers.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.