The so-called "creepy clown" phenomenon has got to Target too — the store has decided to stop selling clown masks across the U.S., according to reports Monday. The retailer took the call just two weeks before Halloween, after reports of "killer clown" sightings terrorized citizens across the country.
“Given the current environment we have made the decision to remove a variety of clown masks from our assortment, both in stores and online,” Target spokesman Joshua Thomas said.
The bizarre occurrence began in the U.S. in August when reports from South Carolina said people dressed as clowns lured children into the woods. Following this, clown sightings were reported in Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Last Tuesday, fast food chain McDonald’s said that its clown mascot Ronald McDonald will appear less in community events given the creepy clown craze in the country.
“McDonald’s and franchisees in local markets are mindful of the current climate around clown sightings in communities and as such are being thoughtful with respect to Ronald McDonald's participation in community events for the time being,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Terri Hickey reportedly said.
“This does not mean that there will be no appearances by Ronald McDonald, but that we are being thoughtful as to Ronald McDonald's participation in various community events at this time,” Hickey added.
The clown trend has also spilled into countries such as Canada, Australia and the U.K., where people have been scared by the costumed figures. In one such incident in Whitwick village of Leicestershire, England, a 17-year-old dressed as a clown jumped out in front of a woman, who was eight months pregnant. The scare put the woman in premature labor.
The Metropolitan Police Service in London also warned people to refrain from dressing as clowns during Halloween. The agency said it is investigating reports of “killer clown” incidents in the city.