It was supposed to be a family treat at the PEZ Headquarters in Orange, Connecticut. Kids of all ages were invited by the company to hunt for Easter eggs on their grounds. The kids were all given Easter baskets in which to gather their eggs. The crowd was much larger than the company anticipated and the event started earlier than intended because unruly parents refused to listen to instructions and a madhouse scene ensued. Parents began trampling on the children and stealing their baskets full of eggs and knocking small children to the ground in the process. One four year old boy was left bloodied and a two year old girl was thrown to the ground into the mud.
Reactions by the parents were mixed, with some blaming the unruly parents (rightfully so) and some blaming PEZ for not having enough people making sure this didn’t happen. Perhaps PEZ did not have enough security, but why should they need it for a children’s event such as this?
Adults took over the event with no children able to hunt the eggs
Parent Val McCormick wrote to PEZ:
“It was worse than being at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.”
“My toddler that was standing with her brothers were shoved into the field and went with the flow. By that time it didn’t matter. I had to yell GO to my boys because it was like an angry mob of chaos.”
“In the toddler field it was more of a greedy parent field. Not one toddler hunting for eggs. It was nuts. Way too many people and more than their staff could handle.”
The field was divided into sections by age with ribbons and the search times were to be staggered, but once the first section was opened, parents stormed the field and all the sections soon filled up with out of control parents.
One parent, Nicole Welch said:
“When my son left he had a broken basket and he was hysterically crying.”
A grandmother remarked:
‘Where was PEZ personnel?? Where was the safety of our children in your thought process?? And to make matters worse, how about almost getting hit by a vehicle leaving your property, which had parked in your lot and was leaving, in very close proximity to the “egghunt” field”?’
One PEZ employee confirmed that pandemonium erupted at the event:
“We started talking to people and say “hey this is supposed to start at certain time. That lasted about a minute and everyone just rushed the field and took everything.”
PEZ released a statement also:
“Unfortunately people chose to enter the first field prior to anyone from Pez staff starting the activity.”
‘The crowd moved to the second 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.”