Creepy clowns have dominated news headlines over the last few months, with reports from people feeling threatened or just plain creeped out in at least 32 states.
Claims have ranged from kids saying clowns were trying to lure them into the woods, to people seeing them lurking on running trails. Some reports have been confirmed as hoaxes, but others come with photo proof.
These news headlines are creating profit for many Halloween retailers across the country. Halloween sales already add up to an estimated $7 billion in the U.S. each year; and it now appears a big part of that number will come from clown costumes.
“Clown mask sales are up more than [300%] from a year ago the same period online,” Brad Butler of national Halloween costume chain Halloween Express told Eye Opener TV Tuesday.
“In the top 10, eight of them are ‘evil’ clown masks this season whereas last year, five of the top 10 were ‘evil,’” Butler added.
Eye Opener TV also reached out to national Halloween pop-up store chain Spirit Halloween. They declined to comment on their sales, strangely citing a policy not to comment on ongoing police investigations.
Wal-Mart and Party City didn’t immediately respond to requests for preliminary sales data.
With all these sightings and reports of children feeling threatened, we asked former prosecutor, licensed peace officer, and defense attorney Pete Schulte if law enforcement or stores should keep track of sales of clown costumes.
Schulte said, “No.”
“[The costumes] aren’t illegal. Even what they’re doing with the costumes is not against the law,” Schulte said.
“Creepy, yes. Illegal, no.”
So if you’re thinking of jumping on the creepy clown bandwagon this Halloween, you’ll have a lot of company. And, judging by the costume sales data released to Eye Opener TV, it doesn’t look like reports of sightings will stop any time soon.