Those creepy scary clowns are making some small business owners smile.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

As reported in the New York Daily News a couple of years ago, there’s a national clown shortage going on. Membership at the World Clown Association, the country’s largest trade group for clowns, has dropped from about 3,500 to 2,500 since 2004. And unfortunately the new clowns that have been popping up aren’t exactly solving the problem.

By now you’ve heard about those creepy clowns who are allegedly lurking in wooded areas and making threats on social media. No one knows how this phenomena started to happen, what these creepy clowns are after or if these clowns are even real or just a hoax. But one thing’s for sure: professional clowns –-business owners are who earn a livelihood entertaining both kids and adults — are starting to feel the effects of the creepy clown craze.

For example, Randy Montgomery, a Memphis-area clown who has been in the business for 20-odd years is now worried about putting on his makeup or if the police will come after him just because he’s dressed up for work. More concerning, Montgomery says that his business has been quieter of late, most likely due to the scare. As reported by a news station in New Orleans, one professional clown is worried that his business will also be affected and that he’s already been warned to “stay out of the woods.”  In Phoenix, where a dozen schools received threats and four juveniles were arrested, a local professional clown complained that the threats have gone too far and are hurting his business and reputation as well.  Two clowns who work in a Houston-area haunted house that raises money for charity are scared of being shot by “local clown hunters.”

No one’s laughing.  Yet, while there’s misfortune for some, other entrepreneurs are profiting.

According to the New Orleans news station report, clown makeup and full clown costumes are popular this year and have boosted overall sales. Cappel’s Costume Shop in Cincinnati has also seen higher clown-related sales and has even sold out on theatrical clown makeup. The owner is planning on a further surge in clown costume sales between now and Halloween and has upped his supply to prepare.

“Clown mask sales are up more than 300 percent from a year ago the same period online,” Brad Butler of national Halloween costume chain Halloween Express told Eye Opener TV this week. “In the top 10, eight of them are “evil” clown masks this season whereas last year, five of the top 10 were “evil,”” he added.

For many professional clowns, the recent scare is no funny business.  Yet for some– it’s been good business.


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