South Pasadena Is ‘Going On a Bear Hunt’

Photo courtesy Isabela Harrington
Local resident Isabela Harrington and daughter Julia pose with a stuffed bear in their front window, which has become one of many to see in a bear “scavenger hunt” in South Pasadena.

For a few weeks now, South Pasadena children have been entertained by a scavenger hunt of sorts for stuffed animals.
What started off as a post on a few Facebook groups has grown into a shared Google map of more than 120 addresses where the homeowners have placed a stuffed teddy bear — or some other stuffed creature — in a front window, for children taking a walk with their families to find.
With schools being closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, parents who are also out of work are now adjusting to a schedule of having their children at home all day.
“They are not very fond of just walking around the block,” said Isabela Harrington, who has lived with her husband and daughter in South Pasadena since 2015. “This idea was a way to motivate them and [the bear hunt] makes it more interesting for kids to do that.”
Harrington was not the first to post the idea to Facebook, but after having a difficult time finding bears with 7-year-old Julia, she decided to start asking fellow group members where where to find them. Harrington ended up making a map that she shares with others to use on their excursions. Now, there are dozens to find, including a purple hippopotamus at a home near Garfield Park that Julia especially likes.
“My daughter was excited at first but she got a little bit discouraged when we went out and there weren’t so many bears,” Harrington explained by phone. “We’ve got more than 100 homes on this now and every day we receive additional addresses. I spend 10 minutes of every day updating the addresses, so it’s definitely growing.”
Homeowners are sharing their addresses on the Facebook groups “South Pasadena, CA” and “Buy Nothing South Pasadena, CA” and also on the Nextdoor app. Other communities have engaged in similar scavenger hunts nationwide during the pandemic. The phenomenon originates from the 1989 picture book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury.
“I feel there has been a lot of appreciation,” Harrington said. “More than just kids are enjoying having those sights along their way. It’s definitely had a little bit of a viral effect on us.”