It's also a time for the real thing.
With Peter Cottontail beginning his trek down the old bunny trail, Lumberton pet stores are stocking up on rabbits for parents to place alongside the artificial ones amid the plastic grass and colored eggs.
Steve Cole, owner of Fins, Furs and Feathers, said he sold at least 25 rabbits during the week leading up to Easter.
"I just can't get them in fast enough," Cole said. "Rabbits are popular pets all year, but sales really increase around Easter."
Cole says he gets his rabbits from local breeders and the most popular breeds are Dwarfs and Mini Lops - short for Lop-eared. He sells rabbits for about $25 each, but says he doesn't sell those other traditional Easter pets - ducklings and chicks - because he says they are not appropriate pets.
Lea Davis, co-owner of Paradise Pets and Grooming Center, says her rabbit sales multiply - well, like rabbits - near Easter.
"I sold three to one woman just this morning," Davis said. "We sell them as fast as we get them."
The cost for Davis' bunnies ranges from $20 to $40. And, like Cole, Davis said she sells mostly Dwarfs and Mini Lops, along with a breed called Mini Rex.
She also doesn't sell chicks or ducklings.
Not a good idea
There's at least one organization that wishes pet stores would stop selling rabbits during the holiday.
The Humane Society of the United States says every Easter, rabbits are purchased as pets and then abandoned in shelters or the wild after the novelty wears off.
"People often don't realize the level of financial commitment and time these animals require," said Stephanie Shain, director of companion animal outreach for the society. "Animals associated with Easter like ducks and rabbits can be especially challenging. They require specific kinds of care, and leaving them caged continuously is not acceptable and won't give you a pet you can hold and play with."
The typical pet rabbit will live up to 12 years, Shain said.
Instead of purchasing a live animal, the society suggests giving plush toys as gifts for Easter.
But Cole doesn't buy the criticism being aimed at bunny buyers.
"Like I said, they're not just for Easter," Cole said. "They make great pets all year 'round."