|One of many areas decorated for West Laurel Hill Cemetery's Easter egg hunt|
So here’s a short blog about an Easter egg hunt in a graveyard. Sounds kind of morbid, I will admit. However, cemeteries are doing anything they can these days to engage the community, to bring people through the gates (live people, that is), with the expectation that perhaps they will garner business at a later date.
West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Philadelphia) has been having Easter egg hunts for the past fourteen years, if I heard the announcement correctly at the March 19, 2016 egg hunt.
|Indoor activities for 350 kids at West Laurel Hill's Easter Egg Hunt, 2016|
Another benefit of public engagement is that you help people accept death, as inevitable as death is. Come to the cemetery with your kids, have a fun time, see the pretty spring blossoms on the trees and flowers. Subconsciously you think, hey, this is not so bad. Not scary at all. Kind of like all the techniques used by childrens’ dentists these days to allay kids’ anxiety and yes, fears.
|Children waiting to dash, just before the tower bell struck eleven o'clock.|
Why authority? Because West Laurel has obviously found ways to generate good will toward the community and to help “reimagine what burial grounds can be through the creation of innovative tours and programming.” The first Easter egg hunt I ever attended was here, with my wife and not-quite-two-year-old daughter, in 2011. It was fun, and I wrote about it in this blog (click link to take you there).
|Easter Egg Hunt at West Laurel Hill Cemetery|
After the hunt, there were prizes drawn for those who registered when they first arrived – golden eggs with a five-dollar-bill inside! There was music over the P.A. system outside and announcements were made to let everyone know what was happening next. But I’m getting ahead of myself here (that’s kind of how exciting it all was).
|Daughter Olivia with Easter Bunnies!|
|Registration for Egg Hunt|
If it was too chilly for some outside, a huge room was set up inside for kids to create all kinds of Easter-themed arts and crafts. There were people doing face-painting as well.
|Mausoleum walkway lined with candy!|
Leaving the cemetery was well-coordinated, with orange traffic cones lining the roads and helpful cemetery employees pointing the way. West Laurel Hill Cemetery is a rather confusing place, but thanks to the dedicated professionals running it, a very welcoming place.