The Easter Bunny costumes have been a memorable part of the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, but this year, the White House is sending those bunnies into retirement and hoping a new bunny will energize the crowds.

Since the 1870s, the White House has been hosting Easter events, and the last few administrations used costumes on loan for the party.

“After years of using loaned Easter Bunny costumes, we are ‘egg-cited’ to have our own Official White House Easter Bunny Family, thanks to the generous support of the White House Historical Association,” Vanessa Valdivia, spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden, told CNN exclusively.

Former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who once wore one of the iconic bunny suits during the George W. Bush administration, said the importance of the Easter Bunny and the Egg Roll all goes back to tradition.

“There are certain things that are part of the American fabric. Tradition is what makes a country unique. Every country has things that are woven into its fabric, and this is one of ours.” 

Will the new costume have the same reactions as the old ones, with their meme-able facial expressions? We will have to see on Monday.

How did the White House Easter Bunny tradition begin?

In 1981, John Schenz owned a costume design shop in Cincinnati, Ohio. Schenz received a call from Washington with a request to make a bunny costume for a 6-foot-3 Secret Service agent to wear during a White House Easter event alongside former President Ronald Reagan, Schenz told WCPO 9 News.

After the event, he donated the costume to the parks department. The next year, he attended the White House Easter Egg Roll and was appalled at the state of the costume. He called into the office to complain about the costume and in turn, received another call with a request that he provide two Easter Bunny costumes the next year for the presidential event.

And the tradition continued each year.

Which U.S. presidents have hosted the Easter bunnies?

The White House Easter Egg Roll event is held annually and has been sponsored by former Presidents Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and now President Joe Biden.

There are now multiple bunnies — Papa, Mama and Junior — who provide photo opportunities and guest interactions at the event each year.

Who is in the Easter Bunny costumes at the White House?

Some presidents prefer to have Secret Service agents in the costume, while others feel comfortable with staffers and interns.

There are two notable figures who have donned the bunny ears. The first was Ursula Meese, wife of Attorney General Edward Meese during the Reagan administration.

The second was Spicer, Trump’s press secretary, who wore the costume in 2008 during the George W. Bush Easter event, The Wrap reported.

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“Presidents come and presidents go, but the bunnies stay,” Schenz would often say, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Why do the Easter Bunny costumes matter?

It’s a silly tradition, but one that presidential families and guests for the event look forward to each year that provides some lightheartedness to a place with such gravity.

Friends of Schenz have continued providing the costumes for the event after Schenz died in 2020 from lung disease.

“One of the things he wanted to see was the Easter Bunnies continue to go to the White House, and we promised we would as long as the White House would let us,” a friend of Schenz told BuzzFeed News.

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