Scary clowns are a publicity stunt, promoter says

LITTLETON, Colo. -- For months, stories of not-so-funny clowns have been making national headlines.  Clowns suddenly appearing in unlikely places unannounced, then disappearing just as quickly.

As a result, just about anything clown related is being restricted or banned.  Even Ronald McDonald is being scaled back because of the "creepy clown craze."

"They've been banned from schools.  They've been banned from homes.  They've been banned from churches. They've been banned from outdoor events," said Greg Reinke, co-owner of Reinke Bros., a Halloween costume shop and haunted house in Littleton.

He and brother Chris have owned the shop for more than 40 five years.

Clowning around is their business, and according to Reinke, the country's clown controversy  was created at the Transworld Halloween and Attraction Show in St. Louis in March 2015.

It was at that show, according to Reinke, that the idea of creepy clowns randomly appearing was an advertising gimmick and a great way to stir up business.

"The joke's on you guys.  And mostly the media because the media didn't want to listen to what really was because it wasn't a story then," Reinke said.

It is now, and Reinke can't keep clown costumes and accessories in stock.  They normally stock about thirty clown costumes to rent, right now there are none available.

Sales are up.  Everybody's talking about clowns.  If true, this publicity stunt could be right up there with H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds.