Clown craze set to continue - Sociologist

A reported clown sighting in Porirua (Facebook)
A reported clown sighting in Porirua (Facebook)

Sightings in the US have sent social media into a tail-spin and now they are being reported in New Zealand too.

A woman was allegedly assaulted by two clowns in Hamilton this weekend.

Copy-cats are being warned to keep the make-up off but videos posted online are only fuelling the trend.

One of the reported sightings was in Porirua where the the Tapatu boys encountered a creepy clown lurking around a building at a Porirua school while they playing basketball.

"He was looking at the building, I just noticed him from the corner [of my eye] so I told my brothers to stop bouncing the basketball and run home, we all ran home," says one brother.

Their father Eugene Tapatu went to the school to look for the clown, but he found nothing.

"You think clown so? And you see all this stuff on social media, then you start to put things together. It was mainly the kids' reaction that got us concerned."

The creepy clown craze started in the US where there has been a series of reported sightings. 

Sociologist Robert Bartholomew says it's a kind of 'social panic'

"The clown scare is not over, it's going to continue now for about three more weeks. It's going to peak around Halloween time and then it's going to suddenly decline and go the way of Pokemon Go and Flappy Bird and it's just going to plummet."

But as for where peoples' irrational fear of clowns start, Mr Bartholomew says blame the entertainment industry.

"I've counted at least 186 television programs and films from 1980 to date based on creepy clowns, killing clowns, abducting clowns, bank robbing clowns and this provides a context for what we are seeing today."

Clown performer Ken Samson hopes the trend is over sooner rather than later.

"It's just sad that they chose to dress as clowns to attack somebody."

Police say they're aware of apparent sightings being posted onlin but they're discouraging people from copy-cat behaviour.