EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has gained popularity on social media this week. Please note, this story is from 2016.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – A threat was posted on social media earlier this month claiming clowns were going to purge cities across the country on Halloween Eve, and Greenville made the list.
“It’s scary that something like that could be that close to home,” said Easley resident, Holly Morgan.
The rumors have gone viral, but not everyone is buying in to the fear.
“I think everything is going to be fine,” Fountain Inn resident, Sade Hemphill said. “It’s mainly talk. I don’t believe anything is going to happen.”
Greenville police say it’s not a credible threat but warn people to still be vigilant and trick-or-treat in familiar areas.
Still the clown threats have made people weary. Last week, Target pulled clown masks from its stores because of the frenzy, and McDonalds decreased the number of appearances Ronald McDonald will be making.
In the Upstate, Halloween store employees say clown wigs aren’t selling as well as they usually do, but the clown masks are selling quickly.
Halloween is one of the only days wearing a mask is legal in the state.
Greenville county sheriff’s office deputies say a lot of people will be wearing masks this weekend and next Monday, so be prepared. However, they warn people against taking justice into their own hands if they see a clown.
“If you want to go after them and attack them, that is against the law,” Master Deputy Ryan Flood said.
They also caution against flooding the police lines with calls about sightings.
“If they’re being aggressive, acting like they’re going to attack someone, then sure call us, but if they’re just trick-or-treating, then just let them go” Flood said.
Many parents say they’re opting out of taking their children trick-or-treating door-to-door. They say they want to be cautious although they admit the “creepy clown climate” has changed Halloween for kids.
“It does take a little bit of joy out of it for them as well,” Morgan said.
The Greenville Police Department released the following statement:
There is no credible threat. As we do each year there will be adding extra patrolling to ensure the safety of the public during Halloween. We ask that everyone be vigilant and if you notice unusual behavior contact 911 so that officers may respond to investigate. While the officers respond be a good witness and obtain as much information about the individual or vehicle.