How is it that grown-ups so often invent such horrible distortions of what children will find appealing? Is it that we really can’t remember what it was like to be three years old? Is it our need to impose on them traditional ideas of what makes something cute? Or is it just a problem of scale: what seems like a good idea in miniature just doesn’t work when blown up to life size?
Case in point: there could never be a more mind-boggling creation than Hello Kitty. Those clever Japanese took the basic formula for adorability (the big-head-little-body proportions of kittens, infants and stuffed animals) and pushed it to the extreme. Hello Kitty’s enormous head and beady, wide-spaced eyes would seem to be illustrations of some of the more serious birth defects that can befall mammals. Yet, the character has been wildly popular with children — principally pre-teen girls in Asia — for three decades. And the formula works just fine in miniature: coin purses, barrettes, pencil cases.
But, visit a San Rio store where some underpaid employee has been forced to don a Hello Kitty costume and watch the reactions from toddlers. If they don’t run for cover from the encephalitic monster stalking them, kids will certainly burst into tears of terror and confusion.
So, for most adults of a certain age, it’s understood that people in big character suits are a bad idea. We tend to see them as misguided and creepy. And that’s what makes it so much fun to look at pictures of kids posed along side these oversized characters: it’s easy to read into them some horrible menace, to see the John Wayne Gacy behind the Easter Bunny mask.
My dear friend, Dennis, lives in rural Pennsylvania and knows that a clipping from his local newspaper which features some adult in a character suit will always leave me in stitches; and he shares them generously. Add to that image a child and some fortunate choice of camera angle or framing, and you’ve got the picture of a crime scene.
So, I’m sharing my delight with you today. And, even though Easter is a few weeks behind us, here’s a link to Holy Taco and a really rich collection of Easter Bunnies and the children they torment. [Unfortunately, a few have been manipulated, killing the real joy in a found image. But most are choice.]
Enjoy “25 Terrifying Easter Bunnies.”