The creepy clown craze has spread across the world and is yet to reach its peak.

Sociologist Robert Bartholemew, a world renowned expert in mass hysteria, told NZ Herald Focus that while the craze is nothing new, it is yet to peak here in New Zealand.

"There have been, in a waxing waning fashion, these flaps of clown sightings but they've never found the clown... But this year they've found the clowns..."

"This is nothing new, what is new is the scale and breadth of the phenomenon, it's really remarkable."


When asked if there were real risks about the clowns, Bartholemew responded that people were so scared of clowns it was ruining the profession.

"If I were in America, I certainly wouldn't be walking around in a clown outfit."

"It's a bad time to be a professional clown. If I were a clown I would be in tears because it's ruining the profession"

Bartholemew blamed Hollywood for sparking the idea that clowns are terrifying.

"The Hollywood entertainment industry is to blame to a certain extent for changing this motif, when you think of clowns now, you don't think of fun and balloons and parties you think of this evil character."

Bartholemew has high hopes the craze will eventually die down.

"I think it will pass... It's going to peak around Halloween, it's going to peak here in New Zealand, in the United States of America and around the world because it has taken off on social media and in the mass media as well."

"Because it's turned into a fad on college campuses, that is going to portend its decline because fads don't stay around for a long time. It's going to get it out of people's systems and then it's going to plummet."

The craze began with reports of clowns trying to lure children into woods in the US state of South Carolina, which led to clown groups sprouting across America and mass clown hunts in other areas.

The spooky fad spread to New Zealand recently, as a report of a clown scaring children at a Porirua school emerged last week. Hamilton police are currently hunt two clowns believed responsible for an attack on a woman as she walked home from the pub over the weekend.