Saturday’s Pez Easter egg hunt in Connecticut turned into chaos when parents stormed the field, trampled over small children, and left behind bloody noses and broken Easter baskets. In a video and on social media, witnesses are describing the messy event which left children broken hearted.
The Easter egg hunt organized by PEZ Candy USA at the Pez Visitor Center in Orange was being held for the third year in a row. Saturday’s event involved about 1,000 participants and was supposed to be organized with three fields having been divided according to children’s ages and beginning at different times.
However, as the Hartford Courant reports on March 27, apparently some parents allowed their children to pick up eggs even before the event started. Once it began, the parents took over and stormed the field in a quest to get as many of the 10,000 Easter eggs as possible.
Some witnesses described the Pez Easter egg hunt chaos:
“When it came time at like 10:30 a.m., the parents just bum-rushed that area,” said one mom of a 4-year-old son.
“This event was a joke to put it mildly. We have a 3-year-old. The parents first of all were letting their uncontrolled children pick up eggs prior to the start. Then when the event started all the parents rushed in and we’re picking up the eggs,” said another mom.
Another parent commented that her son was pushed to the ground by an adult and ended up with a bloody nose. One parent said that her son’s Easter basket was broken during the wild behavior of the adults.
In response to the chaotic Easter egg hunt, Pez Company released the following statement:
“This was our 3rd year of hosting an free egg hunt event . Based on the previous 2 years, we had an idea as to what we could expect based on previous activities. We boosted our numbers and planned for an even larger crowd this year. Unfortunately the number of families that came out to participate far exceeded anything we could have possibly planned for. We had over 9,000 eggs on 3 separate fields. Each field was to be organized by age group with a staggered start; 10:30 for ages up to 4 years old, 10:45 for ages 5-8 and 11:00am for ages 9-12.
Unfortunately people chose to enter the first field prior to anyone from PEZ staff starting the activity. The crowd moved to the 2nd field, waited for only a couple of minutes and proceeded to rush the field without being directed to do so and before the posted start time. The crowd then immediately moved to the 3rd field and took over and removed everything well before the activity was to even start.
The general manager and other staff Visitor Center staff members were on hand trying to talk with as many people as we possibly could, letting them know if someone didn’t get an egg or candy, we had plenty of candy at the front entry for them. We sincerely tried our best to create a fun, free activity for everyone to enjoy.
We made efforts to get everyone something before they left and passed out tons of candy and coupons and the front entry and tried to make the best of an unfortunate situation. Due to the actions of a few, the good intent quickly turned into a mess. I would like to sincerely apologize to each of our guests, this was not something created to frustrate or make people angry. We only wanted to do good for the local community.”
In response to Saturday’s chaos, many have taken to the Pez Company’s Facebook age to express their reaction to the Easter egg hunt:
“How can we expect our children to be great adults when the parents raising them can’t be adults! PEZ Candy USA way to go! At least you attempted to ensure children had fun. Not the same can be said for parents. Shame on them!”
“Thank you PEZ for trying to celebrate the holiday so generously! As a teacher I deal with this kind of behavior way too often–from both entitled parents and children.”
“Such a terrible reflection on the ‘me-first’ mentality in our society today, and today it was the kids that suffered. As a teacher, I unfortunately see this all the time. Aren’t we supposed to be role models for our kids? Scary and disheartening.”
“Once again proves the old adage, No good deed shall go unpunished. Since PEZ can’t count on the community to act like civilized human beings, they should just hold the event for employees and their families going forward.”
The more than 500 responses on the Pez Company’s Facebook page are mostly filled with gratitude to the company for having tried to make Easter special for children. Most comments agree with one parent who states that “Can’t believe how parents/adults have acted. Certainly not leading by example. PEZ is not to blame at all.”