You Won't Believe These Insane Easter Bonnets That People Actually Wear

two men in downtown nyc with gorgeous Easter bonnets

Yana Paskova / Getty Images

When you think of an Easter bonnet, what comes to mind? Perhaps a woven white or tan hat with a soft dome shape on top, a not-too-stiff brim and maybe ribbons or small flowers in pastel colors for decoration.

It's probably safe to say you don't imagine a heavy, four-foot-tall headdress packed with brightly colored wrapped Easter presents, Peeps or plastic butterflies.

But if you've ever been to Fifth Avenue in New York City on Easter, that's exactly what you'd see. In an annual tradition that dates back to the 1870s, "celebrants don festive finery and show off their very best bonnets" for the Easter Bonnet Parade on NYC's most fashionable thoroughfare.

The headgear that makes an appearance on this day can be elegant, wild, Easter-related or not at all connected to the holiday. Yet the level of outlandishness rivals even that of other "huge hat holidays," such as the Royal Ascot or Kentucky Derby.

Black and white vintage photo of a woman smiling, wearing an Easter hat with a bunny on it
Everett Collection / Shutterstock

Check out some of the eye-popping creations from previous Easter bonnet parades that make this stuffed-rabbit-in-a-basket-with-ducks monstrosity (above) seem tame in comparison.

Black woman wearing an extravagant yellow Easter hat
Glynnis Jones / Shutterstock

Believe it or not, we're starting off on the more subdued end of the spectrum. This woman looks lovely in a soft yellow paper-and-butterfly-topped hat with a dramatic dip in the back.

Man holding a small dog wearing colorful decorated top hats for Easter
TD Dolci / Shutterstock

Lest you assume Easter hats are just for women and girls, think again. Gentlemen of all ages and their furry companions get in on the fun with costumes to match what's on their heads.

Woman wearing an enormous, colorful Easter hat
lev radin / Shutterstock

Seriously, her hat is as big as she is. How is she not falling over?

Woman wearing an Easter hat made out of Peeps marshmallows
TD Dolci / Shutterstock

Peeps are to Easter what candy canes are to Christmas. The difference is that Peeps are disgusting, so why not glue them to a hat? They're practically inedible anyway.

Two men wearing suits and colorful, decorated hats at an Easter parade

No Easter-themed decoration is off-limits. So if you want to raid your local Target for baskets, eggs and tacky cardboard bunny decorations and assemble them on top of your head, go for it.

Bearded man wearing a colorful hat made out of plastic pig toys
torbakhopper / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

This bearded, tattooed man proudly sports plastic neon flying pigs in a San Francisco park for an Easter hat competition.

Black woman holding a Yorkie, wearing a hat made out of an Easter basket and fake florals
Michael Fleshman / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Upside-down Easter baskets are a common choice for the base of these bonnets. However, this one looks more suited to be a table centerpiece than a headpiece.

Woman wearing a huge, yellow hat with fake florals
Michael Fleshman / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

A forsythia-and-cornucopia-inspired yellow Easter bonnet channeled the spring sunshine even when the temperature wasn't bringing the warmth.

Little girl wearing a colorful Easter bonnet
Michael Fleshman / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Not sure what's in the hat, but it's colorful and just adorable framing her smiling face. Happy Easter!