An Easter egg hunt descended into chaos on Saturday after parents in Orange, Connecticut, stormed the field.
Children as young as four were trampled by adults in a rampage to steal buckets and grab as many of the 9,000 hidden eggs as possible from the third annual free event at the PEZ headquarters.
One four-year-old son was left ‘bloody’ on the sports field and a two-year-old girl was shoved into the mud, witnesses claimed.
A horrified parent described the scene as ‘an angry mob of chaos’ with ‘not one toddler hunting for eggs’ among the crowds of adults.
‘It was worse than being at Wal-Mart on Black Friday,’ parent Val McCormick wrote on the PEZ Facebook page on Saturday.
She added: ‘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 event, which started at 10.30am on Saturday, consisted of three fields for different age groups, which were to have staggered start times.
More than 1,000 turned up for the event. Ribbons were laid out on the floor to divide each section.
But according to a parent who spoke to WSFB at the scene, as soon as one field opened it descended into chaos, and the ribbons became submerged in the mud.
‘When it came time at like 10.30am, the parents just bum-rushed that area,’ West Haven resident Nicole Welch, at the event with her four-year-old son, told WFSB.
‘When my son left he had a broken basket and he was hysterically crying,’ Welch said.
A grandparent wrote on Facebook: ‘My grandson ended up with a bloody from an ADULT in the 9-12 year old section knocking into him!!!!
‘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”?’
A PEZ official confirmed the meltdown.
‘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,’ said Pez General Manager Shawn Peterson.
The firm also released a statement lamenting the controversy.
‘Unfortunately people chose to enter the first field prior to anyone from Pez staff starting the activity,’ it read.
‘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.’
On Sunday, parents threw their weight behind Pez, writing their support on Facebook.
‘Shame on the ADULTS that ruined this for everyone !! Does no one act responsible anymore ? For this reason I stopped my kids from doing all sorts of fun things because it’s the Adults that ruin it (like Baseball and hockey…),’ wrote on parent Linda Bowermaster.
Kym Vance wrote: ‘Thank you to PEZ for trying to do something nice for the children of the community. Shame on the parents who ruined it because they have no manners.’
Some, however, slammed the firm for failing to organize the event to avoid chaos.
‘Hey thanks for the waste of time and non existent organization of your egg hunt. Specific direction 9-12 egg hunt 11am sharp. We drive 2 and a half hours to show up 30 early only to receive a “sorry, no one listened and they started early”,’ wrote Liz Soares, one disgruntled parent.
Mia De Graf for Dailymail.com