Canadian Tire has yanked creepy clowns from its stores as reports of bad-hearted bozos escalate.
The decision to remove the clown decorations from their stores nationally was made last week, according to Stephanie Nadalin, a Canadian Tire spokeswoman, who added the company has “no further comment on the matter.”
The chain has also deleted mentions of the decorations from its website. Cached versions of the removed pages on Canadian Tire’s site show a 60-centimetre hanging clown decoration and a metre-high “animated rotating clown” for sale — products no longer listed on the site.
The latter plays circus-themed music, spins 360 degrees, and has eyes that light up. One review posted on Oct. 4, 2015 reads: “There is nothing more creepy than this clown. Great for the office.”
Meanwhile, clown-related incidents — typically involving pranksters dressing up as scary clowns and then attempting to frighten strangers —continue, perhaps fuelled by social media.
In Oshawa this week, Durham Regional Police charged three teens after reports they were driving recklessly wearing clown masks and attempting to scare bystanders.
The incident happened on Friday, October 14 at approximately 3:30 p.m., when police observed a grey Saturn with three occupants, all of whom were wearing clown mask.
All three — two 19-year-old males and one 18-year-old female, all from Oshawa — are charged with causing a nuisance; one of the men is also charged with careless driving.
Durham Regional police say they’ve responded to 31 calls this month regarding clowns.
The craze apparently began in August in Greenville County, S.C., with stories of clowns trying to lure children into the woods. The phenomenon has since crossed the continent and gone overseas — in Sydney, Australia, a 12-year-old and three 14-year-olds were charged this week with breaking into a hotel while dressed as clowns.
According to Germany’s Deutsche Welle news service, that country has also experienced an incident, in which men were approached at a train station by a man dressed as a clown — but also armed with a knife and a gun.
Earlier this month, Target pulled some menacing clown masks from its shelves and online catalogues.
“Given the current environment, we have made the decision to remove a variety of clown masks from our assortment, both in stores and online,” Joshua Thomas, a spokesperson for Target, wrote in an email to Torstar News Service.
Last month, Home Depot pulled the Scary Peeper Creeper decoration from its stores.
Stephen King, the master of horror stories, called upon everyone to chill about creepy clowns, tweeting: “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria– most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh.”
His bestselling novel, It, had a well-remembered sinister clown, Pennywise.