MANDEVILLE -- Over the past few weeks, creepy clown sightings, hoaxes and pranks have led to social media firestorms and real-life arrests.
The turmoil has been taken up a notch as Monday, major retailer Target announced it is removing much of its scary clown costume inventory from stores and online.
Many customers understand why.
"People emulate what they see on TV, as well as what they see on social media," said a Covington woman. "So as a child, I could definitely see that as something that would appeal to them, and that would concern me, as a parent."
As the holiday meant for shrouded shenanigans approaches, a big question is creeping up: Will the masks still be okay to wear for Halloween?
"I know because Halloween falls on a weekday, some people might say, well they're having parties on the weekends," said Mandeville Police Asst. Chief Ron Ruple. "Common sense does actually have to play a part in this. If a person is actually at a party, wearing a mask, even on the weekend, I don't think we're going to have an issue."
"This is to deal with people who think it's funny to go out and scare people for no apparent reason," said Ruple. "We've had issues with it, and we've dealt with it by arresting people. We will continue to that, but Halloween is good to go and people can wear the mask during that."
Some said it's best for everyone to just cut the clown costumes out of their options.
"The retaliation that is happening against this would be something I would have to deal with," said the Covington resident. "And, of course, no parent, or any person, I'm sure when they think about it after the fact, wants to deal with that."
Again, police are asking the public not to take part in any pranks with these clown masks, especially prior to Halloween. They said a misdemeanor charge, at a minimum, will await those who do not follow their warning.
So clown around for Halloween if you want, but at your own risk.