Proper Names

Q. Would you capitalize both terms in “Easter Bunny”? One of my coworkers argues that we should not capitalize the “bunny.” While she grants that, for example, we would capitalize “Santa Claus,” she argues that that is the character’s proper name. The same does not apply here. We’re talking about an unnamed bunny who happens to be active on Easter; hence, “the Easter bunny.” My feeling is that we should capitalize it, as we’re not talking about just any bunny, but a specific mythological figure. I think it falls under the penumbra of CMOS 8.34 and 8.35; whether or not “Easter Bunny” is the character’s proper name, it’s certainly used as such. What say you?

A. Both arguments have merit. Both styles are perfectly understandable as naming the bunny who is active on Easter. You could flip a coin. However, “Santa Claus” appears in the two dictionaries I checked; “Easter Bunny/bunny” does not. Given that Chicago leans toward lowercasing when possible, we would opt for “Easter bunny.” [Update: Apparently the Bunny won the coin toss. Merriam-Webster now includes an entry for Easter Bunny (capital B), listing “Easter bunny” as an equal variant.]