Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Clown costumes pulled from Tauranga costume shop shelves

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There have been no clown incidents reported to police but Tauranga has not been immune to the effects of the sinister phenomenon. PHOTO/GETTY
There have been no clown incidents reported to police but Tauranga has not been immune to the effects of the sinister phenomenon. PHOTO/GETTY

Several costume shops in Tauranga have pulled clown costumes from their shelves, following the exampleof stores nationwide.

The dark fad involving creepy clowns scaring or attacking people in New Zealand and worldwide has led some costume shop owners to stop hiring out the costumes.

Wear it Out store owner Stacy Scott said they had several clown costumes and creepy masks but she would not hire them out.

"We've hidden them from view in the store," she said.

Owner of Ka-Pow costume hire in Papamoa, Katrine Bates, said the store had one clown costume and no clown masks.

She said no one had asked to hire it recently but she would not hire it out anyway. "Not with what's going on."

"It's kind of a catch-22 with Halloween coming up, do I hire or do I not," Ms Bates said.

Bay Costume Hire owner, who did not want to be named, said she had clown costumes and was hiring them out.

"They are just colourful suits and wigs. They aren't creepy at all," she said.

Though no clown incidents had been reported to police in Tauranga the effects of the sinister phenomenon were still being felt here, giving local clowns a bad name.

Circus in a Flash founder and director Rowan Ford Dawson said so far his business had not been affected, with clown bookings still coming in.

"I think it's a bit silly people are dressing up in someone's work clothes and then going out and beating people up," Mr Dawson said, whose entertainment business was based in Tauranga and Auckland.

He compared it to putting on a police officer or bus driver's uniform and beating people up for the sake of it.

Mr Dawson had a diploma in circus art and had been a clown doctor at Starship Hospital for many years.

"Our clowns aren't full on in your face and we don't do full face paint. It's more European with a red nose, quirky clothes and a funny hairdo."

The age-old profession gave people laughter and brought happiness to their lives, he said.

B Looney da Clown or Jason Butler, of Tauranga, said the industry was being damaged.

"I recently spent a week in a mall [Bayfair] and people were giving me grief the whole time."

He said teenagers were asking him if he was a killer clown or a scary clown, which did not bother him all that much but "when they come up and there's a small child who is quite happily getting a balloon animal and they hear, it twists their image of clowns".

With Halloween approaching Mr Butler's advice was to not dress up as a scary clown.

"People are going to turn around and not know the difference and if someone goes 'oh there's a scary clown let's get them' it's not going to be safe.

He did not feel in particular danger himself, though he would be using private dressing rooms and getting dressed at venues for the next few months.

Tauranga incidents

- No clown incidents that police are aware of

- A police spokeswoman said Tauranga police were aware of social media commentary and reports of people dressed as clowns confronting members of the public.

- Police encouraged those who choose to celebrate Halloween to do so safely, and with due respect and care for those who do not wish to be "spooked" or approached by people in costume.

- Anyone with concerns about suspicious or threatening behaviour, whether by someone in costume or otherwise, was asked to call 111 as soon as possible.

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