"Parents took from small children."
PEZ Candy abruptly canceled its annual Easter egg hunt in Orange, Conn., on Saturday morning after parents disobeyed rules and turned the child-focused tradition "into a mess," the company said in a statement.
"We sincerely tried our best to create a fun, free activity for everyone to enjoy. Due to the actions of a few, the good intent quickly turned into a mess." PEZ wrote in response to a critical comment on its Facebook page. "We only wanted to do good for the local community."
One parent said her son got a bloody nose from another parent pushing him to the ground, while a third claimed her son's Easter basket was broken in the rush, the
Orange Police said they did not respond to the event.
PEZ said it had over 9,000 eggs on three separate fields, each of which was designated for a particular age group with start times 15 minutes apart, but parents rushed onto the fields before the posted start times.
"Somebody pushed me over and take my eggs and it's very rude of them and they broke my bucket," 4-year-old Vincent Welch told NBC Connecticut.
"Unfortunately people chose to enter the first field prior to anyone from PEZ staff starting the activity," PEZ explained.
"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."
PEZ says it scrambled to reach as many visitors as possible, to make sure each child got an egg or candy.
"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," PEZ wrote. "This was not something created to frustrate or make people angry."
Now people are flocking to the PEZ Candy USA Facebook page to criticize the adults and support the company.
"Grow up folks and teach your kids some responsibility by acting like mature adults not rabid dogs," Don Bistro wrote on the company's page.
"PEZ didn't do this," Nicole Arleen wrote on Facebook. "It was the 'looting' mentality of the parents who thought they could get as much as they wanted, no matter what the cost. If this event goes on for a fourth year, PEZ should not have to hire security personnel to keep the parents in check."
"PEZ I hope you don't stop doing these Easter events due to bad parents," Yasmin Kalish wrote. "It's not your company's fault but the fault of selfish, greedy adults whose kids have to be #1."
Others did blame PEZ.
"Thanks for the waste of time and non-existent organization of your egg hunt ... We drive 2 and a half hours to show up 30 min early only to receive a 'sorry, no one listened and they started early,'" Liz Soares wrote on PEZ's page. "I'm sorry your establishment was so poor with planning that they apologize for children not listening instead of being unprepared for such [an] event."
Contributing: Greg Toppo, USA TODAY