Beware of "creepy clowns."
That’s the message disseminated by Pennsylvania State Police ahead of the upcoming release of the feature film It.
In a Community Awareness Bulletin released Wednesday, state police warn of a potential resurgence of "creepy clown" sightings like those reported in Pennsylvania and around the country last fall.
The slew of 2016 sightings resulted in arrests of at least a dozen people nationwide, either for "taking part in the menacing stunt" or making false reports of clown sightings to law enforcement. A Berks County teen was arrested for posting a threatening clown message on social media in an attempt to get out of school, according to police.
And the creepy clown trend was no joke for professional clowns, for police chasing hoaxes or for the people scared along the way.
It, the Stephen King novel adapted into a 1990 television miniseries, features a sinister clown called Pennywise who terrorizes and kills children in a small New England town. The new film adaptation of the 1986 horror novel is set to hit U.S. theaters Sept. 8.
Police say that reports of "creepy clown" sightings are nothing new: Children have been reporting similar encounters since the early 1980s.