New Brunswick — Much like the Easter Bunny, who comes to hide candy eggs for good little boys and girls around the world, the infamous Post-Easter Rats are known to make their own, slightly less anticipated appearance just five days later to consume the remaining unfound eggs.
“My kids love the Post-Easter Rats,” says Katie Drysdale, mother to Alison and Benjamin Drysdale, six and 10 years old, respectively. “For the whole week after the Easter Bunny comes, it’s all they can talk about.”
While the legend behind the Post-Easter Rats varies from home to home, some details remain consistent. In its most basic form, the story states that a small litany of rats, hailing from the mythical city of Brooklyn, New York, invade homes across the continent on the night of April 5, leaving a trail of feces and chewed wires in their wake.
“After they go, they leave a whole team of worker ants that stay and watch you all summer to make sure you’re being good,” explained Benjamin, illustrating this scenario in a crayon drawing.
And if you’re not?
“Then next year, when the Post-Easter Rats come, they will crawl into your mouth at night and bite off your vulva.”
“Your uvula, honey,” his mother corrected.
“Yeah, your yew-voola.”
In anticipation of their arrival, families often partake in the tradition of decorating traps, using a combination of paints, glitter and stickers.
“Put googly eyes on mine so it looks like a monster is eating the rat,” said Alison, opening and closing the spring-loaded metal bar to demonstrate. “See? Nom Nom No–”
A beloved symbol of the holiday season, the Post-Easter Rats have been a staple of family celebrations for several generations now, and their popularity has led to toys, advertisements and multiple animated television specials, such as The Post-Easter Rats are Coming to Town! and Bitey, the Frothy-Mouthed Sewer Rat.
“I think it’s helpful,” said Katie. “Without a fun myth to soften the idea, kids might be scared by the notion of rats crawling all over them while they sleep.
“I mean, it happens,” she said, shrugging. “So you might as well try and make it cute.”