Schools and neighborhoods are on high alert across the country as threats and sightings from scary clowns happen almost daily.
The latest hoax in Arizona happened Monday with a threat made against the University of Arizona. Last week, several Phoenix high schools reported an unusual amount of absences in the wake of Facebook threats from someone wearing a “creepy” clown mask.
Schools are sending notes home to parents urging them to be on high alert.
"My kids were showing me YouTube videos of clowns running around after people,” Iris Tirado said from the clown aisle at Easley’s Fun Shop in Phoenix.
It’s Tirado’s job to make people look as creepy as possible for Halloween and other occasions. As a mother of two, she’s heard about the threats but doesn’t see any change at the store.
"Depending on what you add to it, you can either make it scary or not," Tirado said. "But every Halloween, the people are always wanting the bloody and gory, and it's kind of hard to say no to that."
Despite three juvenile arrests over the threats in Phoenix, two robbers were also caught on surveillance video this past week wearing clown masks.
Even Stephen King is urging people to quit clowning around on Twitter.
“Hey guys, time to cool the clown hysteria,” he wrote on his account.
All of this negative hoopla is giving the good clowns a bad name, just weeks before Halloween. Tirado knows several in the Phoenix area who make a living as clowns for birthday parties and other events.
“It’s sad because there are good clowns out there who are trying to make a living by making people smile,” she said.
There isn’t much smiling going on across the world right now in regards to clowns. Police, parents, and especially children are on high alert.