Performing the role of a costumed character is challenging. You have to remember to use the character's voice all the time, even when you're just telling Pete the checker that you've gotta hit the bathroom. If you're a silent creature, that means you keep those lips shut even when little Billy soaks the left leg of your costume. Exaggerated gestures are best, always keep candy on hand and never, never take off the head of the costume where a youngster can see you--the shrieks are deafening.
It's a hard world earning the rent in a furry suit consisting of no natural fibers. Take it from Six Flags workers in 100-degree heat or those characters that come to private birthday parties. Hell, it's even harder when you're not making any money--just ask a high school mascot. (Approaching a mini-trampoline for a toe-touch takes a lot out of you when wearing a 40-pound owl head.) The point is, these costumed friendlies deserve an enormous pat on the back. True, most find the experience of bringing smiles to hundreds of small faces rewarding, but there will always be screamers, pee-ers, ear-tuggers and asshole parents.
Take Easter Bunnies, for example. From the consumer's point of view, the lines are too long, the prices are too high and most photogenic bunnies hang out in the mall, which accounts for overall irritation. But just like the person beneath the giant head is thinking, it's all for the little ones' smiles, right? We still have all of our bunny photos from the past (with bunny and also as bunny) and, honestly, there's no cuter setting for a kid's holiday pic. The eerie part of it all is that after these kids profess their love for the big-eared hopper, they usually go home and chow down on one. Seriously, there's nothing like having a child hug you and then bite off an ear from your chocolate effigy.
Visit the Easter Bunnies of North Texas: Stonebriar Centre (www.shopstonebriar .com) presents the Easter Bunny through March 26. Take photos with live bunnies at NorthPark Center (www.northparkcent er.com) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through March 26. Collin Creek Mall (www.collincreekmall .com), Town East Mall (www.towneastmall.co m), Valley View Shopping Center (www.shopvall eyviewcenter.com) and The Shops at Willow Bend (www.shopwillowbe nd.com) host their own bunny variations through March 26.
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