NEW YORK - Send in the frowns.
This year's nationwide creepy clown craze has become a nightmare before Halloween for actual, working clowns. They say their bookings at parties and other events have dropped sharply, even after many of the social media-fueled scary clown sightings have turned out to be hoaxes.
Some professional clowns fear going out with their greasepaint makeup and red noses will make them a target of police, or even marauding mobs who take to the streets on so-called "clown hunts."
The World Clown Association - comprised of more than 2,000 members in 30 countries - has been flooded with calls from scared performers. It's been sending out tips suggesting clowns change into their costumes when they arrive at a party or consider performances in which they appear without clown makeup.