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2 weeks before Halloween, Target sends out the clowns

Wells Fargo exec's well-timed stock trades

A slew of clown attacks, whether real or made up, has scared so many Americans in recent weeks that it’s now prompting one of the nation’s largest retailers to pull clown masks from its shelves and online offerings.

“Given the current environment, we have made the decision to remove a variety of clown masks from our assortment, both in stores and online,” emailed Target (TGT) spokesperson Joshua Thomas.

Creepy clown "sightings" spreading nationwide fuels panic

The Minneapolis-based retailer didn’t say if its decision would affect all of its 1,799 stores across the country.

Target isn’t the only retailer to react to the scary clown reports.

Michigan’s Crypt Keepers Halloween Emporium stored its less expensive clown costumes due to concerns customers might get hurt or injure someone else while wearing them, according to the Detroit News.

“It’s not worth the sale,” owner Dave Douglas told the newspaper. “These people are causing an epidemic.”

The reports of creepy clown sightings is also prompting fast-food chain mascot Ronald McDonald to keep a lower profile, McDonald’s (MCD) announced earlier this month.

A rash of pranks around the country have involved eerie clown sightings and alleged hoaxes called in to police in the weeks since Aug. 21, when children in South Carolina said clowns offered them money and flashed lasers while trying to lure them into nearby woods.

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