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Confessions of an Easter Bunny: Stories from inside the suit

courtesy of Dave Blackmer

Dave Blackmer: PR by day, Easter Bunny once a year.

Most of the time, Dave Blackmer does PR for a medical billing company in Taylorsville, Utah. But  once a year he takes on a very special side job: dressing up as the Easter Bunny.

He first stepped inside the suit a few years ago, when his mother told him the neighborhood was organizing an Easter egg hunt. While the homeowner's association had the money to put on the hunt and procure a bunny suit, "they hadn't found anyone willing to don the costume for an hour or so,” Blackmer told TODAY.com.

courtesy of Dave Blackmer

The worst part of being in the bunny suit? The sweat, says Blackmer.

So he stepped up and accepted the challenge, agreeing to wear the costume. Before he tried it on, he tried to come up with a voice that would help him get into character. “I eventually settled on something that sounded like a cross between Kermit the Frog and Stitch [from Lilo & Stitch],” he said.

When he first got into the costume, Blackmer couldn’t believe how physically challenging it would be. The bunny suit — fur lined with latex — was quite warm, and he couldn’t stop sweating underneath it.

“After anybody hugged the Easter Bunny, there was an audible SCHLORP as the latex pulled away from my sweat-soaked face,” he said. “I felt dehydrated and thirstier than I'd ever been before. I still danced and hopped, but a little less. My goofy Easter Bunny voice was getting slightly hoarse.”

courtesy of Dave Blackmer

Blackmer says being the Easter Bunny is tiring, but he enjoys the experience.

Though he got tired from hopping around, jumping, posing for photos, and interacting with the kids, he kept it going when he saw how much fun people were having. Luckily, there were other Easter-themed activities to keep the kids occupied, and he got to take some breaks and relax while the kids dyed eggs and played games.

Just when Blackmer was about to change out of his costume for the day, one last family arrived, disappointed that they were too late to take part in the fun. He agreed to say hello to the kids and take pictures with him, and someone let him know that one of the children was deaf.

Courtesy of Dave Blackmer

Blackmer loves dressing up as the Easter Bunny to put a smile on kids' faces.

“I only know the basics in sign language, and it's next to impossible to sign while wearing fluffy white bunny mittens, but I knelt down and managed to sign 'I love you,'" he recalled. “Her eyes lit up and she threw her arms around my neck in the most endearing, genuine hug.”

The experience opened his eyes to the power of being the Easter Bunny, and Blackmer soon found himself committing to future wearings of the suit, despite the sweat. “I immediately informed my mom that I wanted to do this again the next year,” he said.

While being an Easter Bunny may be a demanding — and hot — job, Blackmer admits he’s hooked. “It's always more effort and more physically demanding than I anticipate,” he admits.

So why keep doing it, year after year? “The rewards are equally astounding, every time. Seeing a child's face light up with joy is one of the greatest things in the world.”