After writing about the Great Cadbury Creme Egg Caper of 1982, I started thinking about all the other fond memories I have of Easter in the 1980s. Since I spend so much time reminiscing about Halloween (with a little Thanksgiving and Christmas sprinkled in for good measure), I often deprive myself of the pastel parade that is Easter. Boasting baskets of candy brimming with plastic grass, dyed eggs hiding in shoes, and all things coconut and chocolate, it’s a wonder Easter hasn’t become every child's favorite holiday. I suspect it has something to do with the lack of presents, but who knows.
I’ve gathered together five memorable things from Easter in the 1980s. I labored under no other restrictions, which has resulted in a gleefully eccentric list. Counting down from number five, in no particular order…
#5: Critters 2
If you guessed the first thing on my list was anything other than Critters 2, you probably don’t know me very well. From a young age, I loved all things horror, but specifically, I was (and still am) a huge fan of horror comedies. Though Critters 2 isn’t billed as a horror comedy, I nevertheless remember laughing my little butt off when the brigade of Crites pop into the open fly of that poor guy’s bunny suit. The stunt is definitely played for laughs (just listen to the music) yet has a sharp edge with the bunny’s bloody end. Setting the movie during Easter was a great choice, considering the Crite eggs, and it serves a solid juxtaposition to the horror elements of the creature feature. If you’re not interested in watching Ben-Hur this year, perhaps Critters 2 is a better seasonal alternative.
#4: Easter Bunny Motionettes
One of my favorite types of Halloween decorations to collect are things called “Motionettes” (AKA Telco Motion-ettes). They range in size from six inches to two feet, and generally have a limited range of motion with a repeated song or sound. You might be familiar with the Christmas ones of Santa and Mrs. Claus, which seem to be more pervasive than their Halloween brethren. Even more rare are the Easter versions, of which I was lucky enough to score at a yard sale for a couple bucks a few years ago. I almost left these beauties behind for the simple reason that they weren’t Halloween-related...and kinda dirty.
I even started to walk away when the seller yelled out, “How ‘bout two bucks?”
I shrugged and took another look at them. Yeah, not in the best shape, but for $2, I figured I could clean them up. When I got back home, I was surprised to find they actually worked (he claimed they did, but he also seemed so desperate to get rid of them that I doubted his word). In the end, I’m incredibly happy to have these. I could only find a single pair on eBay currently, and they are listed for $220, plus $70 shipping.
#3: Giant Chocolate Bunny Rabbits
Listen, I’m allowed one “cop out” pick per list, and this is it. Yes, giant chocolate bunnies are still around, and no, they probably weren’t particularly linked to the 1980s in any way. But that doesn’t change the fact that some of my favorite memories of Easter as a kid revolve around the somewhat sadistic ritual of bashing in the bunny’s cute face and devouring his delicious chocolate bits. Sick, right?
#2: Bendable Bunnies
These little toys go back to my fascination with drug stores and corner stores of the 80s. They were bastions of eccentricity. Places where you could purchase Flintstones Vitamins right next to Silly Putty. Places that would stock all manner of cheap holiday toys for kids to beg their moms for in the checkout aisle. A place that would stock these deceptively fun bendy toys. They had ones for Halloween, Christmas, and yes, even Easter. My favorite thing to do with them was bend their legs around my other action figures so Leonardo or Lion-O (or a figure that doesn't start with the letter "L") could carry the bunny around like a living backpack.
#1: The Smurfs Springtime Special and A Family Circus Easter NBC Double Header
On the VHS tape that holds all of our Easter home movies, there was also a “taped from TV” copy of this particular Easter double header. This meant, of course, that every time Easter rolled around, we would pop the tape in to watch the television specials. I vaguely remember the Family Circus episode being my favorite (maybe because of the big musical number with the Easter Bunny), but I suspect the Smurfs episode holds up a little better.
What are your favorite Easter memories from the ‘80s?
Full episodes of the aforementioned Easter Specials: