It started as a humorous prank. These days, however, a lawn ornament that’s popping up in front of homes is a local phenomenon and social media star, bringing laughs and smiles to adults and kids alike.
Beginning in the late spring, a porcelain unicorn has been moved around Beverly/Morgan Park, with the recipient unaware of where it came from. The recipient is instructed to decorate the unicorn a bit, photograph it, post it on Facebook and then secretly pass it to another neighbor.
Amy Mikuzis, of Beverly, was the first person to receive the shiny unicorn. She has since learned who gave it to her, and how the prank started, but she laughed while detailing how the statue has become a local celebrity.
“Someone bought a book for it that says ‘How to Catch a Unicorn,’” Mikuzis said. “It went bigger than we thought it would, to be honest, but the kids are obsessed with it.”
Mikuzis was surprised to find the white unicorn, about 2 feet long and 1 foot tall, in her garden bed on May 22. She figured her husband, Jason, had made another peculiar purchase at a local retail store.
However, he adamantly denied that he had anything to do with it. Shortly after, Mikuzis discovered who gifted her the unicorn—and that person encouraged her to give it to someone else.
So, after enjoying the unicorn with her young children, Mitch and Modie, Mikuzis did just that—and added a small note telling the recipient to “pass it on” and post to Facebook.
Mikuzis found her “victim” a few blocks east in Beverly, and she stealthily placed it on the recipient’s lawn while the person was standing outside her home but a few doors down.
Mikuzis revealed her identity to that person about two months later. But, she’s still proud of how she pulled it off.
“I was like Mission Impossible,” Mikuzis said. “I should have had a dark mask on. I was super incognito … at 4:30 in the afternoon.”
Mikuzis estimated that about 20 people have now received the unicorn, but it’s difficult to track, although it keeps popping up on Facebook.
In July, a Nora MacKinnon posted a photo of the unicorn with her two daughters Gwennie and Erin, and a caption, “Who knows where it will end up tonight?”
In early September, a woman posted that she came home on Labor Day weekend to find a “special visitor.” The unicorn was covered in paint and wearing a purple hat, and the woman humorously said, “I don’t think she’s leaving.”
Jessica McCarihan’s family, of Beverly, was among the first recipients.
She had no idea where it came from, only posting that based on the writing on the animal, she believed the prankster was left-handed.
She has since learned its origins, but she has two young sons, Quinn and Charlie, who were fascinated by it.
“The mystery unicorn literally has brought so much excitement to my children,” McCarihan said, “and the idea of them trying to figure out who dropped it off and where the unicorn was going next is just hilarious.”
Terese O’Keefe’s family, of Morgan Park, received the unicorn on July 28. She knew it had been seen around the parish of St. Cajetan Roman Catholic Church, but her three children, Clare, Marty and Sean, had no idea of the story behind the unicorn, which at that point was covered in various colors and wearing beads.
The family read the book and signed and dated it—just like other families have been doing. After two days, they packed it in the car and secretly delivered it to a friend.
“As a family, it was fun to think of who should get it next,” O’Keefe said. “It’s like a great big family decision. It just really made us feel like we were part of St. Cajetan and the neighborhood.”
O’Keefe last knew the unicorn’s whereabouts in early September, when it was still local.
Residents are still turning to Facebook to see it where it will pop up next.
No one knows for sure—but Mikuzis thinks it may have expanded its horizons, perhaps out in the suburbs.
“It could be in Oak Lawn for all I know.”