The creepy clown phenomenon that has swept the United States in recent months is now taking its toll on mega-retailer Target, even causing the chain to pull creepy clown masks from its shelves only weeks before Halloween. However, while Target is the second-largest discount retail chain in the United States, is it really possible that the company’s decision to pull the creepy clown masks off its shelves can have a positive impact on America’s creepy clown problem?
Especially in the midst of reports that the sales of creepy clown costumes are up a whopping 300 percent over this time last year?
As ABC News reports, Target began to pull the creepy clown masks off of brick-and-mortar store shelves just last week. However, the retail giant is still selling creepy clown masks online, albeit with a smaller selection than in years past.
“We had a few masks in stores, which we began to pull last week. We also have edited down our assortment online. You’ll still find clown masks there, but we made the decision to pull back on the number.”
Target hasn’t spoken publicly regarding whether or not they have been selling more clown masks (creepy or otherwise) this year as opposed to last year or since the influx of creepy clowns took dozens of U.S. states hostage. However, the big box retailer has stated that its decision to remove the creepy clown masks from their stores’ inventory was made out of “sensitivity to the issue at hand.”
America’s creepy clown epidemic began at a single apartment complex in South Carolina. At first, residents at the Fleetwood Manor apartments in Greenville thought their children’s reports of creepy clowns in the woods surrounding the complex were little more than the result of overactive imaginations. Fairly quickly, however, the reports of sightings became more persistent — and more threatening.
Children were claiming that the creepy clowns were trying to lure them into the woods with promises of candy and money. Soon, their parents were seeing the clowns, too, and before long, the apartment complex sent out letters to residents warning them to keep an extra-close eye on their children.
Police began to get reports of the creepy clown sightings and responded multiple times. However, they found no evidence of clowns at the apartment complex, and despite adults claiming to have seen and heard clowns, even clowns with guns, no arrests were immediately made. Then, the clown sightings seemed to stop, but not for long.
Soon, the creepy clown problem spread to neighboring states, with more and more children claiming that clowns had tried to lure them with treats. Investigators never determined the source of the creepy clowns, but many believe that the problem could have been a simple prank that got a lot of press and resulted in a bunch of copycats.
With Halloween fast approaching and reports of creepy clowns having spread to over 32 states, the public has become increasingly frantic. Many have taken to social media to threaten to shoot any creepy clowns they may find lurking in their neighborhoods on sight. Some of the clowns have gotten violent, too. On Saturday, an unidentified Oklahoma woman was reportedly attacked by a plain-clothed female and two men wearing clown masks.
In that incident, the victim was reportedly flagged down while driving by the female attacker. When she pulled over, she was allegedly pulled out of her car by the trio of attackers, written on, burned with a cigarette, and choked.
With the violence of creepy clown attacks seemingly increasing as Halloween looms, Target may be doing more than showing “sensitivity to the issue at hand.” It’s possible that the retailer may be taking steps to mitigate potential damages should the creepy clown issue, which has now gone international, spawn real violence before the month of October comes to an end.
What do you think? Are you worried about the creepy clown epidemic that has taken the United States by storm? Did Target make the right move by pulling creepy clown masks off its store’s shelves?
[Featured Image by David Kay/Shutterstock]