Parents, Kids Hop to Egg Hunt at Winchester Mystery House

The "world's most bizarre Easter egg hunt" Saturday at Winchester Mystery House in San Jose drew such massive crowds that organizers quickly ran out of 5,000 eggs.

Saturday was the first time the iconic Victorian home on S. Winchester Boulevard hosted the "Hoppening" − a free event that featured the egg hunt, a bouncy house, glitter tattoos, photo booth and other activities for kids in the local community − and organizers didn't expect the crowd to come from all over the region.

"It was much more popular than we expected," said Winchester Mystery House marketing director Natalie Alvanez. "These grounds have propably not seen this many visitors in a really long time."

A long line of parents and kids wrapped around the six-acre property across the street from Santana Row Shopping Center. Alvanez said the large grounds allowed organizers to spread out the activity and hold a lot of visitors.

One parent, Liz Richmond, said she waited in line for about 40 minutes before she gave up and paid for the tour of the hundred-year-old mansion, which has over 150 rooms and is famously claimed to be haunted by 19th-century ghosts.

"As we waited in the courtyard everyone walking around was complaining about how poorly planned it was not enough eggs for all the kids (virtually every basket we saw walking around was empty), adults pushing past kids to get to the eggs, etc," Richmond said.

But when the eggs ran out, staff were handing out eggs to children who didn't have any in their baskets, according to another attendee, Billie Lynn Kidson of San Jose. "They did their best with what they had to try and get as many kids a happy experience as possible," Kidson said.

Another San Jose resident, Kevin Carter, said he lives a mile away from the Winchester home but it was his first time there. Carter said he was disappointed that the egg hunt was overpopulated.

Organizers said they are planning to hold the event again next year and there will be more eggs. This year, a bonus 13 "golden surprise eggs" were hidden around the home's Victorian Garden.

"My original thought was to have 13,000 eggs because 13 was Sarah Winchester's favorite numbers. So next year, there will potentially be much more eggs," Alvanez said.

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