Clown reports are no laughing matter

The trend is moving closer to Portland

A Chile soccer fan wearing a scary clown mask, stands in a subway station, on his way to the Itaquerao Stadium, to see the World Cup group B match against the Netherlands in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, June 23, 2014. Both teams having already qualified for the round of 16, Monday's match will decide which of them wins Group B. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Reports have circulated across the country of people dressed as clowns trying to lure children or terrorize their communities.

And the trend is moving closer to Portland.

It’s really no laughing matter. Police are faced with the difficult challenge of determining if a clown sighting is really a crime or just a terribly scary prank.

In Portland, police haven’t yet been able to substantiate any calls they’ve received about sightings, but they remain on alert as more continue to pop up in cities across America.

From the Carolinas to Long Island and Houston, creepy clowns are no laughing matter.

“You never know what’s going to happen. Like I said, it could be a robbery, it could be a prank, but you don’t know. Somebody is going to get hurt really bad,” said retired officer Gary Rodgers.

Peggy Arne is a party supply store owner in Houston where multiple clown sightings have forced her to stop selling the masks before they come back to haunt someone.

“We are not carrying these this year. We will not be carrying these for Halloween,” she said.

Arnies is always going to be concerned with the safety and the community first and foremost. It’s a small price to pay to air on the side of caution.

Closer to home in Washington, clowns are reportedly terrifying residents.

And in Portland and Gresham, there have been some reports of clowns, but police say those claims may be more trick than treat. At least one person said they made the whole thing up.

But now, on social media #IfIseeaclown is trending nationwide.

And with Halloween right around the corner, more people are sure to be scared stiff.